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Statewide Public Boat Access Program

The Facilities and Lands Division manages the planning, design and construction of public works projects, such as boat ramps and access sites throughout the state. This division is also responsible for the coordination of land conservation projects, including purchase and sale, easements, land use agreements and/or special use permits.


The Statewide Public Boat Access Program is a multifaceted program representing the public’s diverse needs for water recreation opportunities. It was established by state statute in 1993 (RSA 233). The goal of the program is "the acquisition, construction, refurbishment, maintenance, and operation of new and existing public boat access areas."


Meetings: The Public Water Access Advisory Board meets monthly. Learn more.



How Boat Access Sites Are Developed


The Fish and Game Department's Statewide Public Access Program uses a variety of sources to identify water bodies needing access, including data from a statewide needs assessment conducted by the University of New Hampshire; the Public Water Access Advisory Board; Office of Energy and Planning (formerly the Office of State Planning) guides; interested citizens; and Department staff.


Once a water body is identified, land suitable for an access facility is carefully sought and evaluated. Only then can the Fish and Game proceed with plans to own or control and develop a site. The Department develops access sites for public use with environmental quality in mind. Regional planning commissions, municipal agencies, river and lake associations, sporting clubs and shorefront property owners are a few of the groups that help guide the Department's access initiatives. State and federal permits must be secured to protect water quality, endangered species, wetlands and other natural resources before a project can proceed.


Downing's Landing Project Update (Fall/Winter 2020):

To improve service levels and recreational opportunities for New Hampshire's residents and visitors, Downing's Landing, the only state-managed public boat access ramp on Lake Winnipesaukee, is being refurbished. Complications with the installation of a necessary coffer dam due to the discovery of buried wood piles, cribbing, and log debris have delayed the progress of this two-phased project. As a result, Phase I was not completed until the summer of 2020. Phase II improvements will now be completed in the spring of 2021. Downing's Landing is now open and available to the public this fall for recreational use at the individual's own risk.