WEARE, N.H. (AP) – A scenic jewel in New Hampshire’s state park system is officially open again after being closed for two seasons because of flooding.

High water is nothing new at 50-acre Clough State Park, five miles from Weare. The park is located inside a flood control project designed to hold floodwater. Its centerpiece is man-made Everett Lake, formed by a 2,000-foot dam built to prevent flooding in the region.

“This area was designed to flood, but we’d never experienced a flood this size before,” said Allison McLean, the state parks director. “The summer of 2006 we were under water.”

McLean was referring to the flooding in October 2005 and May 2006 after heavy rains pounded the region. The park flooded again in 2007, due to heavy rainfall and snowfall.

At one point the beach near the lake was under water. Two bath houses were destroyed. The water knocked down more than 20 trees strewing the area with debris.

“We’ve been getting clobbered in this place,” said park manager Charles Morley. He said in his more than 20 years working at the park the recent floods “were by far the worst.”

Branches of the Rockingham Recreational Rail Trail and the Hopkinton-Everett Reservoir Recreation Area trails were also temporarily closed following the 2006 flooding.

But unlike the trails, the park didn’t reopen until June 21 of this year.

McLean said after it closed, her department received calls from upset parkgoers.

“I underestimated the response from the public,” McLean said. “This was one of those sleeper surprises.”

The lake was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after flooding in 1936 and a hurricane in 1938. It was part of the Hopkinton-Everett Flood Control Project, completed in 1963, to prevent floods.

In 2005, more than 13,000 visited the park.

Tim Goudreault and his father Edward, of Goffstown, were two of them. He and his father go fishing on the lake several times a year and hold family reunions at the picnic areas.

On Thursday, they headed to the lake to go fishing.

“It’s a nice place to fish,” said Tim Goudreault, who caught two 6-pound bass there last week. “It’s quiet.”

McLean said the parks department has been able to get the park “pretty much” back to its former state.

The department, which leases the land from the corps, has requested about $475,000 from the state’s capital budget to build a new bathhouse.

But Robert Fishwick of Allenstown didn’t seem too concerned with the lack of a bathhouse or the portable toilets across the street from the beach where he played with his daughters.

“It’s inexpensive fun,” Fishwick said. “It’s not far (and) the water’s not 50 degrees like the beach.”

His 7-year-old daughter Sydney agreed. She planned to spend the morning swimming and building a sandcastle with her 16-month-old sister Ella.

“It’s clean and the water is nice and warm,” Sydney Fishwick said. “I really like it.”


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