New Hampshire Parks Stay Afloat Despite Irene Downpour

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August 30, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Standing water in the Jellystone Park in Ashland, N.H., leftover from Tropical Storm Irene.

Tropical Storm Irene dumped several inches of rain over New Hampshire's campgrounds and left some damage in her wake before entering Ontario early Monday.

Members of the New Hampshire Campground Owners' Association reported varying amounts of damage in a survey conducted by Gregg Pitman, association executive director, and shared with Woodall's Campground Management. Washouts appear to be the most common result.

Excerpts follow.

Campgrounds in the Conway area have had severe flooding along the Saco River, Pitman reported. Campgrounds affected include Saco River campground, Eastern Slopes Campground, The Beach Camping area, Glen Ellis Family Campground and Crawford Notch General Store & Campground.

Josee Robinson at Israel River Campground, reported, "We had a flash flood come through our campground on Sunday thanks to Hurricane Irene. Yesterday and today, we are busy rebuilding roads and sites as they were completely washed out. It's taken about 20 truckloads of gravel.

"We've been picking up debris. We've had a lot of help from our seasonal campers cleaning up and finding lost items that didn't get washed down the river. We're still closed for travelers but will hopefully be up and running tomorrow for people driving into the campground. The store may reopen tomorrow of Thursday depending upon how things go. Several seasonal had lots of damage to their property and screen rooms and sheds and such. Some had water in their campers but thankfully that was only a handfull. At the worst, there was about 3'-4' of water in the campground. We were able to trench the water around the building so it didn't come in the main building. We're hanging in though."

Michael C. DeRienzo, park manager of Adventure Bound Camping Resorts, d/b/a Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Ashland, N.H., shared this story about his weekend with "Irene."

So most of you heard the damage we have faced at the park! Storm could have been worse I guess but still a lot of stuff going on here. Rain started very heavy late Saturday night here, and from 7:30 am on Sunday I was nonstop. The pool houses both flooded out along with the basement of the house (not too bad there though). Plus, there were some folks camping here on the upper level and the water was already up to their cabin porch. So between running from upper level, pools, etc it was very busy (exciting but busy).

I had to keep draining the pools out past the skimmers via backwash cycle (very slow process to drain) so the pump house underground would stop flooding out. Most of New Hampton was out of power all day, we were lucky really. We didn’t lose power till 5:30pm Sunday, and it was back on by 1:30/2 on Monday. Lucky for us we had a generator up here that my parents brought up so we were able to run our lights, TV, AC (for me) hehe. I have a small little battery powered (silent) “generator” so I hooked that in baby’s room so we had the intercom system and her noise maker. Other than that we were all fine. No storm damage to cabins or houses or buildings though…Nor us!

The river was rising fast throughout all of this but the town was doing good keeping it under control. Until about 1:30 am and the dam gave way further north in Campton and Plymouth. I couldn’t really determine how much damage there was until the river went back down. In one of the pictures I took (lots of trees) you can actually see how high the water was to one of the bathrooms. Well, yesterday I worked over in Moltonboro so I could get onto my reservation program and shuffle some sites around that I knew we wouldn’t be able to use due to electric boxes being under water. That only would leave now 31 families that would be able to stay down below out of 86 sites down below. Well, when I got back to the campground the river went down where I could get at least to the beach area. At that time we lost only 1 site completely (site 1) got washed out. Now that the river is completely down to normal level (still moving very strong) I can get around the whole level. WELL NOT SO MUCH! About 3 inches of mud and sludge everywhere, all the electric outlets and breakers are now in need of replacement. We lost 38 picnic tables (completely lost them down stream) and the 16 or so in park it looks like 12 of them are completely broken!), our life jackets for the boats, all the paddles for the boats 2 Huts from the beach area to store all the jackets and paddles, water is shooting up all over the place from broken water lines. We also lost 3 more sites (4 in total now), possibly about to lose more. The sites are cracking and I am afraid when things dry up they will just crumble.

I moved who I could, and now we have to cancel out the rest of the families that had reservations down there where nowhere to put them! Sucks for them, and us at the park. For a almost sold out holiday weekend losing 86 families is going to hit us hard to “end the summer”. On a positive note it could have been worse around the whole park. Lucky there weren’t many people here either and nobody got hurt.

With loss of power for that time frame it has taken me a while to get the water around the park back to normal. Balancing the tanks, priming all the motors etc. I got water onto the campground again yesterday, and this morning finished getting it back to the house. Now we are just working on re balancing the swimming pool for the holiday weekend, putting everything back out around the park that we secured for the potential high winds we were due to get and no idea what I am doing with lower level yet for fall camping.

That was our “exciting” story from up North! I could really use a bed!

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