Public Lands

New Hampshire State Campgrounds Feasibility Study

New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
A tent at sunset

In 2022, SE Group was contracted with the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation (NHDPR) to undertake a concurrent planning and design study for six campgrounds at five different New Hampshire State Parks. As the lead of a multi-disciplinary team of consultants that included architects, civil engineers, architectural historians, natural resource specialists, and archeologists, SE Group led the process of determining the feasibility of NHDPR’s preliminary programs for campground and cabin expansion, including the reuse of a historic CCC camp. 

An industrial bridge in a forest

As is the case for many state and national parks throughout the country in recent years, New Hampshire is seeing record-breaking attendance throughout its park system. To respond to the increasing interest in outdoor recreation, NHPDR identified the need to expand camping opportunities to fulfill their mission of “providing New Hampshire's citizens and guests with outstanding recreational, educational, and inspirational experiences.” With a rare influx of federal stimulus funds, NHDPR looked to SE Group to draw upon its national experience in recreation planning and design to lead the process of determining the most impactful use of the funds. 

The parks identified for potential improvements include Bear Brook State Park, Pawtuckaway State Park, Crawford Notch State Park, Jericho Mountain State Park, and Mollidgewock State Park. Key considerations for the studies included sensitivity to historic CCC era architectural resources, shoreland protection, and the need for park operations with minimal staff. Understanding sustainable capacities was critical as well, as the goal of supporting increased visitation is balanced by the desire to maintain and enhance the quality of the experience that makes these parks such cherished resources. 

A campground in a forest

By revealing the potential challenges and opportunities present at these sites, exploring conceptual design alternatives, and estimating the potential scale of construction costs, the final recommendations of this feasibility stage of the project informed the next phase of project development. Out of the recommendations came a second contract for the SE Group team to develop detailed construction drawings and bid documents, acquire all necessary permits, and conduct construction administration for three of the proposed campground expansion projects. Construction is scheduled for 2024-2025 and will include new office and bathhouse buildings and RV-specific campground infrastructure.