Turning 50: Four State Parks Still Fabulous After All These Years

In 1964, Lyndon Johnson was president, Ford unveiled the Mustang, the price of gas was 30 cents per gallon and some band called the Beatles made its first visit to the US. Here in New Hampshire, four properties became state parks, to be preserved and enjoyed forever. Turning 50 this year are Clough State Park in Weare; Greenfield State Park in Greenfield; Wallis Sands State Beach in Rye and Mount Washington State Park in Sargents Purchase.

“These parks represent New Hampshire from sea level at Wallis Sands to the highest peak in the Northeast on Mount Washington,” said Phil Bryce, director of the state’s Division of Parks and Recreation. “A half century ago, state leadership had the foresight and commitment to make sure these special places would be preserved for future generations.”

Clough State Park is located on the shore of Everett Lake, formed by a dam on the Piscataquog River, and features a 900-foot sandy beach, playing fields and large picnic areas. Greenfield State Park offers walking paths through the forest and along bogs and ponds around undeveloped Otter Lake. Adjacent to the park is the state campground with 154 sites.

Wallis Sands State Park was once a station of the US Lifesaving Service and later for the US Coast Guard. Today, the sandy beach is a popular summer destination for swimming and picnicking. On the summit of Mount Washington, the state park is a lively location, where visitors ascend via the Mount Washington Cog Railway or the Auto Road, mingling with hikers and even scientists from the Mount Washington Observatory.

“These parks are not only preserving some of our state’s most valuable and treasured resources, they offer a fun and affordable way to get away from everyday life and enjoy the outdoors and natural world,” Bryce said. “These are getaways without going far away.”

With 92 state properties, including state parks, beaches, campgrounds, historic sites, trails, waysides and natural areas, and 20 state park campgrounds scattered throughout the state, NH State Parks are a great place to begin exploring. Seasonal options are great for those frequent park visitors. Family and individual season passes and coupon books are available for daily entrance into day-use parks for the season. New Hampshire residents can pay an additional $85 when registering a vehicle and get a State Park Plate. The plate allows the vehicle and its passengers to receive free admission for the car and passengers into New Hampshire State Parks’ day-use areas. Information on all the options is available on the division’s website, www.nhstateparks.org.


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