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June 22. 2014 9:51PM

Closing campsites: Responding to consumer demand

Greenfield State Park, in its 50th year of operation, is losing 103 campsites. Demand is down at that park, and the state Division of Parks and Recreation is closing a bunch of sites to put the space to better use. Here is why that is not bad news.

Statewide, camping at state parks is up, according to Parks and Recreation. Occupancy numbers at Greenfield have fallen during the past decade, so the state is closing some sites, leaving 154 open. That shows a willingness to respond to market demand, which is not a strong suit of many government agencies. Keeping unused campsites open would be pointless. It would be costly, too, as staff time would have to be devoted to maintaining sites that no one uses.

The good news is that camping reservations are trending up throughout the state parks system. That means that more tourists are spending money here, and it means more revenue for the self-funded parks system. But the benefits go deeper than that.

Every young person who goes camping in New Hampshire, whether a Granite Stater or an out-of-stater, develops a bond with this state.

Camping here creates an affinity for our forests, fields, mountains, lakes, rivers and wildlife. Those kids will grow up to bring their kids here.

And that reminds us, have you made your camping reservations for this summer yet?


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