MERRIMACK, N.H. (CBS) – Crowds, trash and vandalism at a Merrimack, New Hampshire, park have forced it to close.

Officials said large groups of people are coming to Watson Park because of its access to the river.

The park will be closed until the town can install a fence to block the river access.

“The decision to close the park was not taken lightly, but we feel it is a necessary step to curb the poor behaviors that are being seen. Our recommendation to the Town Council is to leave the park closed until permanent fencing, blocking access to the river, can be constructed as the river access is what draws the poor behavior. We have seen openly defiant drinking, drugs present, trash, vandalism and now life safety issues,” the town’s Parks and Recreation Department said in a statement.

Because the park received federal funding when it was built, with a stipulation that it be open to residents and non-residents, the town cannot open the park only to Merrimack residents. The department said the park was a scenic overlook and was never intended to provide access to the river.

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