GILFORD — It was a tough winter on Lake Winnipesaukee, as owners of ice-damaged docks, breakwaters and jetties can attest.
“By far, it’s the worst I’ve ever seen,” said Tobin Greer of Ambrose Marine Construction in Meredith. “That ice pack was 3 feet thick, and it didn’t want to go. I’m telling people it might be September until we can get to fixing their docks, there’s just so much damage out there right now.”
Marine Patrol Lt. Tim Dunleavy recalled how he glanced across Lake Winnipesaukee from his office at the Glendale Docks last month and saw a wooden structure rise high in the air. Looking closer, he realized a dock at a nearby island was being crunched by the ice pack.
Dunleavy said he’s been hearing from builders and homeowners who have come back to find their docks crushed or badly damaged.
Paul Goodwin, owner of Watermark Marine Construction in Gilford, agreed it’s been the worst spring for ice damage he’s seen, and he’s been in business for more than two decades.
“The ice was not ready to go out on its own, so for a few days there in late April, we had these big sheets of ice going from shore to shore around the lake like a bumper pool table,” Goodwin said.
Ice-out was April 23, one of the later dates since records have been kept.
“And when the ice pack went out, it was being pushed in different directions by the wind each day. One day it picked on one area of the lake, another day, another area,” Goodwin said.
Greer said ice-out typically causes lots of damage, “but it would be limited to a certain part of the lake, or a particular town.”
“This year, we’re finding boulders the size of trucks moved 20 feet from their spots on breakwaters by the ice as it was leaving,” he said.
Many lake dwellers have already discovered the damage, but some don’t get to the lake until Memorial Day weekend.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are going to be coming to their summer homes and finding a lot of damage,” Greer said. “We’ve got a lot of work on our hands.”