Reporting Michael Rosenfield
MANCHESTER, NH (CBS) – Campgrounds on federal land in New Hampshire’s White Mountains could shut down this week barring a last-minute deal.
More than 20 campsites that are privately run have contracts with the federal government to operate on public land in the White Mountains and despite being independently run even they will have to close unless there’s a last-minute deal.
“This is the time of year people like to come up with the beautiful color and it’s a special time of year,” said John French who visits the area every year from Stoneham, Massachusetts.
With fall foliage blooming, businesses like The Sunset Grill say this is a prime tourism weekend and with many campgrounds set to close, it will hurt their bottom line.
“It would really put a hurting on us at the end of the season,” said Lynn Kover, a bartender. “We count on Columbus Day weekend, we really do, we have great locals and regulars, but you need that extra money.”
In a letter to US Forest officials, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte expressed concern for the campgrounds as well as the jobs they provide, writing “…we are rapidly approaching the Columbus Day holiday weekend, which small business tourism vendors – such as privately owned campgrounds – rely on heavily for their livelihood.”
State tourism officials are urging people not to cancel their weekend getaways as there are still plenty of state-run and private campgrounds open that are not on federal land.
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