Mt. Sunapee Advisory Commission Hearing June 11th 9:30AM

The annual Mt. Sunapee Advisory Commission is meeting is June 11th, 9:30am at the Newbury Town Offices.

Here is the current AOP (Annual Operating Plan) for 2024-2025.

At Mount Sunapee State Park, the current lease holder, Vail Resort, is seeking to
expand the parking capacity within the leased area. Friends of Mount Sunapee is
opposed to this expansion.

This proposed project does not meet the criteria set forth in the 1998 lease agreement.
The project calls for the removal of 5.5 acres of forest and the elimination of 7,000
square feet of wetlands. This includes most of the forested area on both sides of the
upper part of the main access road. Where trees once stood park visitors will be greeted
by a sea of concrete.The proposed parking lot will permanently degrade this quality of
the Sunapee State Park visitor experience.

The leaseholder is required to uphold all of the conditions set forth in the lease. Among
these conditions is the requirement to ‘preserve and protect’ and maintain the ‘scenic
and aesthetic qualities’ of the leased area. Clearly the drafters of the lease recognized
that the State Park is a special place whose unique beauty should be protected.

2023 was the warmest year every recorded in NH. Erratic weather conditions and reduced snowfall has resulted in less ski able terrain. When the weather is favorable the ski area and community are overwhelmed with an unrestricted number of visitors confined to fewer ski runs. The creation of additional parking will not address this larger complex issue.

Additionally, site reviews by the Newbury Conservation Commission, revealed the
proposed parking lot abuts an antiquated sewage treatment facility installed in the late
1960’s. It has long ago passed its 20 year service life. Sewage from the resort is
pumped to three open, unlined lagoons and then sprayed into nearby fields surrounded
by forest and wetlands. There appears to be leakage from one of the unlined sewage
lagoons into nearby Beck Brook which outlets into Lake Sunapee. The lease states ‘The
operator shall maintain the leased premises in first class condition.The operator, at its
own expense, shall undertake all maintenance of the facilities’…..

The response from Vail is to ignore the immediate impact of the sewage issue and
pursue the parking lot expansion. A report commissioned by Vail stated “Mount
Sunapee Resort has considered some facility (sewage treatment) refurbishment in past
years but found the projects were too costly”.

The people of New Hampshire deserve a leaseholder mindful of Mount Sunapee’s State
Park’s unique beauty.

The proposed parking lot expansion constitutes a major irreversible change to Mount
Sunapee State Park. For that reason alone it must be in compliance with the lease
requirements which demand that the leased area of the park be maintained to the
highest environmental and aesthetic standards. The people of New Hampshire deserve
nothing less.
Please address your comments to :

Sarah L. Stewart, Commissioner
Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
172 Pembroke Road
Concord, NH 03302-1856
Phone: 603-271-2411

Brian Wilson, Director
Division of Parks and Recreation
172 Pembroke Road
Concord, NH 03302-1856
Phone: 603-271-3556

Commissioner DES
Email Address:
Office Phone: (603) 271-2958
Alternate Phone: (603) 892-1706