NH Parks and Recreation

This is a helpful resource page with web site addresses, documents, and reports about the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation (NH State Parks) and the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR).

Please contact us if you have suggested edits or additions to this page.

New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources website

New Hampshire State Parks website

About the Division

In 1961 and 1985, the legislature clearly and appropriately defined the purposes of the State Park System codified as RSA 216-A:1. They are, in order of priority:

  • To protect and preserve unusual scenic, scientific, historical, recreational, and natural areas within the state;
  • To continually provide such additional park areas and facilities as may be necessary to meet the recreational needs of the citizens of all regions of the state;
  • To make these areas accessible to the public for recreational, education, scientific, and other uses consistent with their protection and preservation; and
  • To encourage and support tourism and related economic activity within the state.

Public administration: government documents, studies, and reports

“New Hampshire State Parks, Mid-Century Modern (1945-1975) Historic Context Study” (March 2019)
NH-State-Parks_Historic-Context-Study_1945-1975 (pdf 13 MB)

Division of Parks and Recreation, Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Report
FY17-Parks-Report-FINAL-DRAFT-1-31-18 (pdf 2MB)

(In the above financial report, to locate Sunapee entries use Find or see pages 10, 12, 15 and 35.)

Guiding Principles for Leases Adopted by the State Park System Advisory Council (February 6, 2012)
SPSAC- Guiding-Principles-for-Leasing (pdf 22kb)

Ten-Year Strategic Development and Capital Improvement Plan (January 2010)
Ten Year State Park Plan 2010 (pdf 8.7MB)

“A Brief History of New Hampshire Parks” from the division’s Strategic Development and Capital Improvement Plan, 2009
Appendix 15 State Park History (pdf 16 kb)

History of the State Park System (Source: New Hampshire Parks Division)
History of the State Park System (pdf 261 kb)

The roots of New Hampshire’s state park system can be traced back as far as 1881. That year a Board of Inquiry was appointed through an act of the Legislature to investigate the indiscriminate cutting of timber throughout the state. Among other things the Board of Inquiry recommended the formation of a permanent commission to deal with forestry problems on a long-term basis.

NH law, Chapter 12-A: Department of Natural and Cultural Resources



Section 12-A:1

12-A:1 Establishment. – There shall be a department of natural and cultural resources under the executive direction of a commissioner of natural and cultural resources, consisting of a division of forests and lands, a division of parks and recreation, a division of libraries, a division of arts, and a division of historical resources, which shall also be known as the state historic preservation office. The department’s purpose shall be to ensure the efficient coordinated function of the 5 divisions, whereby the interests of protection and responsible management of natural and cultural resources, public enjoyment of state parks and forests, the state library, arts, film and digital media, and historic resources are each held to be of integral importance in the overall functioning of the department. All functions of the former department of cultural resources are hereby transferred, as of July 1, 2017, to the department of natural and cultural resources.

Source. 1909, 128:1. 1925, 113:1. PL 19:33; 191:1. 1931, 92:1. 1935, 6:1; 126:1. RL 27:40; 233:1. 1943, 39:3, 147:1. 1950, 5, part 12:1, pars. 1, 2, 4. 1951, 47:1, 2. RSA 12:1, 2; 162:1, 2, 4; 216:1. 1957, 241:1, 3, 4. 1959, 172:1, 2. 1961, 223:3. 1970, 53:3. 1975, 146:1. 1999, 317:2. 2001, 28:1, eff. July 14, 2001. 2017, 156:15, eff. July 1, 2017. 2018, 200:1, eff. July 1, 2018.

Source: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/I/12-A/12-A-1.htm

[box type=”note”]Legislative action, effective July 1, 2017, reorganized the Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) and created the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR). DNCR administers the divisions of Parks and Recreation, Forests and Lands, and Historical Resources; the State Library; and The Council of the Arts. The Department of Business and Economic Affairs assumed the Divisions of Economic Development and Travel and Tourism.[/box]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *