Regulators Say Ice Castles Attraction Failed to Follow Environmental Permits
State environmental regulators are ordering Ice Castles, a seasonal tourist attraction in North Woodstock where visitors can explore a frozen world of ice installations, to reapply for a storm-water permit after inspectors found multiple variations from a previously approved plan.
The regulatory action comes as the company that operates Ice Castles faces a civil suit filed by a neighbor who alleges that tens of thousands of gallons of water exited Ice Castles’ property last April during the spring melt, and flowed directly into their basement.
The letter of deficiency from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services states that regulators observed a retention pond on the Ice Castles property that wasn’t approved, as well as a failure to install any permanent stormwater management structures in time.
The department also writes that employees from Ice Castles appeared to have altered the flagged boundaries of a wetland. An employee also told regulators the company was operating horse drawn wagon rides through a brook, apparently without a required permit.
The company, headquartered in Utah, is being told to submit new permit applications. Failure to adhere to the regulatory request could result in legal action by the state.
Ice Castles operates six seasonal locations in North America. The company rented land in Lincoln for five years before purchasing a property in North Woodstock.
Kelly and Dan Trinkle, who own property nearby, are seeking $100,000 in damages from Ice Castles. The couple allege that last April, they experienced nearly two weeks of constant flooding in their basement as a result of run-off from the attraction.
The company denies the allegations, claiming the ice castles were still largely in ice form when the flooding took place.
Ice Castles believes the water that flooded the Trinkles’ basement came from a nearby watershed, and could have been the result of a newly built culvert.
In the winter of 2018, the company used 8.5 million gallons of water to construct its castles, according to a water bill supplied by town officials.