16-Time to Give it Up – Forest Lake SP

Some parks have got it and some don’t.  Forest Lake State Park is one of the latter.   Basically it’s not much different than a small town beach.  One of the oldest of New Hampshire’s parks, it has clearly seen better times.  Although the setting is beautiful, the state actually owns a small sliver of lakefront, albeit with a nice, sandy beach.

The beach has beautiful distant mountain views.

I arrived late in the day on a hot Sunday in June so the beach was well populated.  The bathhouse was open and the picnic tables were generally full.  But other than the modest 200-foot beach area, I didn’t see much else to do, and because I arrived late, there was no one to ask.  (I must admit I still don’t have a boat so that naturally limits my choices to land.)  On the map, the park contains much more property extending up into the hills behind the beach but I saw no signs for trails or other activities.  The state web site lists mountain biking as one of this park’s features so I suppose they may be there or may be accessed from somewhere other than the parking lot.  Lack of signage is a common theme throughout the park system…

The goal of this blog is not to be critical, but instead to critique – to try to describe the parks as they are and put them in perspective.  Overall, this park features nothing out of the ordinary so it will never be a big draw.  Its appeal is probably only local.  If you’re in the area and are looking for a nice beach in a spectacular setting then Echo Lake in Franconia SP is probably a better choice.  Like Silver Lake and Wadleigh State Parks, this park is basically what you’d find at a small town beach elsewhere in New England.  Unless the state wants to develop this park more (although I’m not sure camping would be a big draw with such a small waterfront) they would probably save money by transferring or loaning these properties back to the towns they lie in.  As things stand, they lose money every year.  My own personal feeling is that the state has many other parks with a lot more potential than this one.  Happy travels!



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