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Wet Weather Waterlogs N.H. Summer Tourism

contoocook canoe
Samantha Coetzee
/
NHPR
An overcast day at Contoocook River Canoe.

Recent heavy rain is putting a damper on New Hampshire's summer activities.

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The record-setting rain that's hit the state lately has limited the number of tourists heading outside. Many outdoor-centered businesses are improvising after expecting a busy summer with easing pandemic restrictions.

New England is experiencing more precipitation, in larger, more concentrated amounts, and at later points in the year due to the warming temperatures of climate change.

Patrick Malfait, the owner of Contoocook River Canoe Company, says that the rain has discouraged people from going out on the water. On a weekend with good weather, Malfait estimates 400 to 500 people show up.

“You take a rainy day and we have 10,” Malfait says. “Of those 10, they may show up and then decide they're not going to go out.”

high river waters
Samantha Coetzee
Water levels on the Contoocook River are two to three feet higher than normal according to Patrick Malfait.

Even on nice days, Malfait says rising waters on the Contoocook River impact conditions for those wanting to get out and kayak or paddleboard.

“If we have high water where it's unsafe, we don't allow people to go out,” says Malfait.

For Chuckster’s, a family fun park in Chichester, the rain has made it hard to plan how to staff activities or to even open at all.

“It's been a good year, but it's been a little frustrating because the weather is the single most important factor in the volume here, and that's the one thing we have no control over,” says park owner Mark Blasko.

Other businesses are experiencing the same issues.

Carol Frekey, owner of Frekey's Dairy Freeze in Concord, says the weather inhibits the number of customers she sees during the day. She says she hasn’t ever seen similar weather during the summers.

“I kind of feel like we're in reverse,” Frekey says. “It seems like we're having a little bit of the end or the beginning of May weather now.”

Even with the rain in recent weeks, parts of New Hampshire are still experiencing drought conditions.

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