Coronavirus Coverage - Recreation and Tourism | New Hampshire Public Radio

Coronavirus Coverage - Recreation and Tourism

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Ski areas are readying for a winter season with renewed skier interest amid new COVID-19 precautions, including reduced lodge capacity and the potential for restricted lift ticket sales on busy days.

Resorts have made several notable changes to operate while abiding by the state’s N.H. ski area guidance.

CDC.gov

Manchester health officials say the city's COVID-19 testing sites are "maxed out" by hockey players seeking tests, as new cases and hospitalizations continue a steady rise in New Hampshire.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The governor’s economic reopening task force unanimously approved Thursday a recommendation that would give New Hampshire stores the option to operate at full capacity, as well as new guidelines for the state's ski areas.

File Photo, NHPR

As NHPR tracks the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Hampshire, we’ve been asking you to tell us how your life is changing because of coronavirus - and we’ve welcomed your questions

Our most frequent questions have continued to be about traveling in and out of the Granite State, especially during the summer months. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

State officials are urging swimmers to be careful in unsupervised areas after a series of river drownings, amid pool closures and beach restrictions.

At a press conference on the Merrimack River in Concord Friday morning, Fish & Game Col. Kevin Jordan said New Hampshire averages 13 to 15 deadly drownings a year.

Sean Hurley

The coronavirus pandemic has drawn increasing crowds to the great outdoors, including many popular hiking trails, swimming holes and recreation areas in the White Mountains. But the burst in popularity has created new problems for the folks who manage New Hampshire's national forest.

Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Chris Sununu says the state is ready for the 12,000 fans expected to gather for this weekend's NASCAR race in Loudon.

At a press conference this afternoon in Concord, Sununu said 90 percent of the people attending Sunday's race will be coming from New England.

He announced modified quarantine requirements and restrictions for NASCAR staff and drivers when they're in the state. They'll need to limit their travel to between the racetrack and their hotels.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Seacoast beaches have been crowded this weekend with people trying to beat the heat, though some coronavirus restrictions remain in effect. Parts of the shoulders of Route 1A have reopened for parking, but the state beach lots are only accepting 50 percent of their normal capacity to encourage physical distancing.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

After more than two months of roped off parking and patrolled sand, New Hampshire’s beaches reopened on Monday.

Huge swaths of the shoreline remained empty, though, likely due to a combination of chilly morning weather and the large number of restrictions that remain in place, including limited parking capacity, in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest on COVID-19 and efforts to reopen New Hampshire. 

NH State Parks

New restrictions for New Hampshire campgrounds are easing some -  but not all - fears in North Country towns about the spread of coronavirus.

Under new state orders, campgrounds must run at half capacity and can only open to New Hampshire residents or private members.

Dan Tuohy; NHPR

Governor Sununu announced plans for a slow reopening of the New Hampshire economy after more than a month of stay-at-home orders, yet many businesses remained closed and people rethink their summers. We talk about the summer economy in New Hampshire and what to expect this year, from tourism to real estate. 

Air date: Monday, May 4, 2020. 

Dan Tuohy | NHPR

Good weather kept police on New Hampshire's seacoast busy this weekend as they tried to enforce beach restrictions related to COVID-19.

Related: What has changed in New Hampshire's stay-at-home order?

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire is laying out a potential phased plan for resuming normal operations at state parks and other outdoor recreation sites, with new controls to protect public health.

Most state parks have remained open and well trafficked, including by out-of-state visitors, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, many public and private campgrounds, beaches and other amenities and attractions have closed.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The Star Island resort on the Isles of Shoals will not open this summer, for the first time in decades.

The seasonal facility off the coast near Portsmouth is only accessible by boat. It typically hosts thousands of people each summer for conferences, retreats and more.

This year, that will change due to fears about the spread of coronavirus.

Sean Hurley

If you’re thinking that right now is the perfect time to bag some peaks and get that Four Thousand Footer patch, AMC committee member Steve Smith says think again.   

“The mantra has been 'Stay Low and Local,'” Smith says, “but we felt that enough people weren't listening to that. And we decided that we needed to take a step further, and just say that we would not count the peaks for anybody that's working on a list as sort of a disincentive.”

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

One month ago today, Gov. Chris Sununu issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in New Hampshire due to the coronavirus.

Since then, the governor has issued more than two dozen additional emergency orders, touching nearly every aspect of life in the state - shutting all public schools, closing nonessential businesses, and encouraging Granite Staters to stay at home unless necessary.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

There’s a gem of a plot of land in Kensington, in the southeastern corner of the state, that is usually closed to the public.

But with the stress of the coronavirus taking a toll, the owners of the Alnoba property are opening their arms to the community.

Connecting with Nature While Social Distancing

Apr 7, 2020
NHPR listener Alex Weech

It’s warming up and signs of Spring are beginning to emerge. How can we connect with nature safely and responsibly during this pandemic? We discuss where to find less-travelled trails, and how to find inspiration in your own backyard. Hosted by Sam Evans-Brown.

 

Air Date: Thursday, April 2, 2020

 

With the recent closures of Rumney Rocks and Pinkham Notch, and burgeoning crowds reported at popular New Hampshire parks, Governor Sununu on Friday encouraged outdoor enthusiasts to hike locally with his “Home Hike Challenge."

But on Saturday, the day after the challenge was issued, NHPR’s Sean Hurley visited the most popular hiking destination in New Hampshire - Mount Monadnock – where staff confirmed the mountain was busier than normal. 

Sara Plourde | NHPR

If you’re interested in more information about how to get outside during the COVID-19 Pandemic, check out the latest episode of Outside/In, or the episode of the Exchange from earlier this week.

New Hampshire residents could be forgiven for being slightly confused about whether they’re allowed to go for a hike or not. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire's summer tourism season is still months away. But many towns with economies built around seasonal visitors are seeing an influx of second homeowners and renters.

The new arrivals are looking for an escape amid the coronavirus pandemic – causing an unsual sense of tension in places where locals and out-of-towners can usually coexist.

Mount Washington Avalanche Center

The Mount Washington Avalanche Center will close for the season Monday, officials say, so as not to encourage ill-advised outdoor recreation by continuing to issue their usual daily forecasts. 

“At this time, the need to reduce exposure of workers and forest visitors to the novel coronavirus outweighs the value of providing avalanche safety information to backcountry travelers,” the center says in a statement.

Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests

The first weekend of Gov. Chris Sununu’s stay-at-home order saw a surge of hikers heading to popular trails in New Hampshire.

Some officials and conservation groups say that could become a problem.

Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests

Despite Gov. Chris Sununu’s stay-at-home order, which takes effect at midnight Friday night, New Hampshire residents are still allowed -- and encouraged -- to go outside to exercise.

But not every hiking and walking spot is available or safe to use during the coronavirus pandemic, according to conservation groups

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

With reports of busy hiking trails, New Hampshire’s search-and-rescue teams are urging people who head into the forest to use an extra degree of caution to avoid putting wilderness first responders at risk for COVID-19.

While conservation officers are carrying personal protective gear, performing rescues could expose rescuers to the coronavirus.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

UPDATE, March 19: Governor Sununu announced Wednesday, March 18, that he has ordered Cannon Mountain, a state-run ski area, to cease operations at the close of business on March 18.

“It has become clear today that large amounts of public congregation is occurring at Cannon Mountain," Sununu said in a statement. "With the weekend quickly approaching, I have instructed Cannon management to cease operations by end of business today.”

Three other areas that were open closed at the end of the day March 18: Bretton Woods, Gunstock, and Waterville Valley.