On November 21, 2012, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department purchased a private marina known as Downing’s Landing at the southern tip of Alton Bay. That means Fish and Game, after many years, has finally acquired a boat access facility on Lake Winnipesaukee, the state’s largest lake.
“This is exciting news for New Hampshire’s outdoor enthusiasts because it creates the first state-owned and controlled public boat ramp with parking on Lake Winnipesaukee,” said Fish and Game Executive Director Glenn Normandeau. “For years, we’ve wanted to provide the public with a boat access site on the big lake, and I am thrilled that we’ve been able to do it.”
The Downing’s Landing facility includes an existing boat launch with paved parking for vehicles with trailers, as well as a handful of cartop parking spaces. The site includes two buildings and several docks that will allow for excellent shorebank fishing opportunities, particularly during the spring salmon season. The facility will be open to the public for launching boats and shorebank fishing with no fee.
The site may be temporarily closed while Fish and Game transitions ownership and determines what maintenance and repairs are necessary. Since the general use of the property will not change, it seems to be for the most part a “turnkey” facility that can be opened to the public with minimal work. This is quite different from most acquisitions of undeveloped property, which can take months or even years of planning, permitting and construction before a boat access site can be opened to the public.
In the near term, parking configurations will be evaluated and maximized for the upcoming boating season. Future renovations will be planned as Fish and Game moves forward. Improvements may include dock repairs and installation of a newer concrete boat ramp. Fish and Game officials hope to have the site open this winter in time for the ice fishing season.
New Hampshire’s Public Boat Access Program is funded through boat registration fees and federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funds, a true user-pay, user-benefit program. Fish and Game’s Facilities and Lands Division acquires land for public water access sites, refurbishes existing sites and builds new public boat access areas. Fish and Game maintains more than 140 public boat access sites throughout New Hampshire.
Logo courtesy New Hampshire Fish and Game