With visitors already refusing to comply with the stay at home orders of their states and coming to the Mount Washington Valley to visit and recreate, the local concern over an influx of campers is not outrageous. Ski areas and outdoor attractions in the White Mountain National Forest have needed to close for this very reason. In fact, if you’re a member of the AMC 4,000 footer club and you’re looking to bag a peak, it won’t count right now.
Last week after his decision to close NH schools, Sununu said “The asymptomatic transmission of this virus is very prevalent” he continues, “You could have an entire classroom of kids passing COVID back and forth without a single symptom, without a sniffle.” This leaves some locals baffled about his decision to let campgrounds that can collectively handle thousands of guests open as usual.
In an opinion article written today by Jeb Bradley for the Concord Monitor Senator Bradley offers this: “We should decrease the risk of visitors traveling from virus hot spots coming to campgrounds in our state while the virus can be spread and supply chain shortages occur in supermarkets. Large venues will not be open quickly. Smaller gatherings should continue during a phased opening of our state as we are not going to flip a switch from one day to the next.”
For weeks locals in the Mount Washington Valley and surrounding areas have been urging governor Sununu to reconsider campgrounds as essential businesses and keep them closed until COVID-19 is under control in many of the urban areas campers may be coming from. There has been a petition from the officials in Conway to the governor with no response. State Representative Steve Woodcock explains: “The biggest thing is we don’t need to take an unnecessary chance by allowing folks to congregate in large numbers in campgrounds”. He goes on to say that the current stay at home order is what people should be following. Representative Woodcock explains that “we’re just not there yet” and that his concern is that with out of town guests congregating in larger numbers at these campgrounds, both campers and locals are more at risk of contracting the virus.
Governor Sununu’s stay at home order is due to end in two weeks on May 4th.