July 11, 2012, by Debra Thornblad, The Berlin Reporter
BERLIN - Jericho Lake Park will be officially opening in a couple of weeks. Several new features have been added, including a new tollbooth and primitive camping with cabins, tents and RV sites. By the 2013 season a bathhouse and flushing toilets will also be available.
The park has established new fees, $4 for adults and $2 for children 11 and under. Berlin residents and all state residents over 65 will continue to get in free, but an ID or some proof of residency will be needed. The state will begin charging within a couple of weeks. "That's been the only question we've received since the press release went out," state officials said.
Chris Gamache, from the N.H. Bureau of Trails, Andrew Zboray, Assistant Regional Park Supervisor and Sandy Young, Regional Park Supervisor, were on hand last week to show a visitor around and explain the new features.
A new tollbooth, at the exact location of the old one, had been put in place the previous week and the five cabins were due within a couple of days. The park will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during peak times in the season. There will be a gate closing it at other times. The park is the only use around the lake. The state owns all of the land around the lake. No gas-powered boats are allowed on the lake.
The campsites are in the area where the city allowed camping in the past. Each of the five cabins will have a porch and will be situated facing the lake and mountains. Each cabin will have two sets of bunk beds and a futon. The cabins will sleep four comfortably, but the futon can be put down to sleep two and the state is allowing six per cabin.
Campers must bring their own linens. There will be a fire ring and picnic table. It is expected the campsites will be ready by the end of July. This season only port-a-potties are available, but this fall they will be working on a septic system and by next season there will be flush toilets in the visitors center.
The beach area has a pavilion that is available for exclusive use by reservation. The visitor's center will have a small store and vending machines. They are working on a Jericho Lake T-shirt that will be for sale. The visitors?center was built by the Berlin High School building trades program and with a woodstove is designed to be used year round. The local ATV club holds meetings there and White Mountain Community College held a class there.
"We're hoping that the development of this small campground helps all businesses and other campgrounds in this area by bringing more visitors here," Gamache said. The park was established as a result of a flood control dam project done by the Army Corps of Engineers.
It was put in as a flood control measure to stop the Dead River from flooding downtown Berlin. In the 1970's and 80's the city was in charge of the park, but it was not actively managed, and became a party site and problem for police.
In 2006 the state bought the surrounding 7,200 acres to be developed for ATVs and snowmobile trails. The city and state entered into negotiations and the result was the state took over the park with the provision that Berlin residents continue to get free access to the beach and boat launch.