Lake Sunapee | New Hampshire Public Radio

Lake Sunapee

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The state's newly passed capital budget includes funding for parking and boat ramp upgrades at Mount Sunapee State Park. The upgrades are a short-term solution for a problem that's been decades in the making.

State officials have been trying for years to figure out how to improve access for boats and trailers on Lake Sunapee. 

Last fall, they scrapped a controversial plan to build a new boat ramp at what was known as the Wild Goose site.

 Now, legislators have approved $700,000 for Sunapee upgrades as part of their capital budget.  

Britta Greene / NHPR

State lawmakers will consider a proposal this session to end a decades-long fight over public boat access on Lake Sunapee.

The bill calls for the development of more parking at Mount Sunapee State Park to accommodate vehicles towing boat trailers, as well as improvements to the park’s boat ramp to allow access to deeper water.

New Hampshire is required by law to provide public access to the state’s largest bodies of water, including Lake Sunapee. Many argue the lake’s existing public launches are overcrowded or too shallow.

Protecting New Hampshire's Shoreland

Oct 16, 2018
Rick Kloeppel; Flickr

As summer rolls to a close, we look at the health of our lakes, and the shoreland that bounds them. What are the biggest risks facing our lake waters, and are we doing enough to protect our shores?

Britta Greene

Every summer morning, Midge Eliassen has the same routine. She walks out her back door, down the steps, and onto her dock on Lake Sunapee.

There, she pulls out a plankton net and takes a sample from the water, shipping off the results to be analyzed in a lab at Dartmouth College.

She’s been doing this, rain or shine, for 12 years. “I get a chance to look at the world and see what the lake looks like each day, which I really love,” she said. 

Editor's Note: We strongly recommend listening to this story.

We look at the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region as part of our series, Going Local

The area is a hub for research, healthcare, and academia, and it hosts popular spots for winter and summer recreation. But the region also struggles with a high cost of living, meaning long commutes for many.

Hot days call for cool water. If you are looking for an aquatic adventure, consider a sail on a Gundalow out of Portsmouth, a jaunt on a runabout on Lake Winnipesaukee, or a narrated cruise of Lake Sunapee.

Sara Plourde; NHPR

The Exchange will explore a different region of the state every Thursday starting July 12th: the Great North Woods, the White Mountains, the Lakes Region, Dartmouth/Sunapee, the Monadnock Region, the Merrimack Valley, and the Seacoast. 

We look at what makes each region distinct, the biggest issues facing that part of the state, and what people who live there love about their home. 

Britta Greene / NHPR

The New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation is looking into options for increasing boat and trailer parking at Mount Sunapee State Park.

That’s the latest development in a decades-long effort to expand public boat access on Lake Sunapee.

For nearly thirty years, the Fish and Game Department was working to build a new launch at what’s known as the Wild Goose Site on the lake’s southwestern shore. But that plan was controversial, and Governor Chris Sununu called an end to it last summer.

Britta Greene / NHPR

A state commission says a contentious site on Lake Sunapee isn’t the right place for a new boat ramp, capping nearly 30 years of debate over the state-owned Wild Goose property.

The Lake Sunapee Public Boat Access Development Commission acknowledges in its report to the governor that the lake needs more public deep-water boat access and trailer parking.

But they say the Wild Goose site isn't the safest or cheapest place to build it.

A few commission members disagree, saying traffic upgrades would make Wild Goose work.