I want to take some time to update you on some of the efforts that are underway at Town Hall to help keep you safe.
Closure of Campgrounds: In Raymond one of the biggest exposures that pose a risk to public safety during this Pandemic are the local campgrounds of Pine Acres and Pawtuckaway State Park, based on the following factors:
Pine Acres: The Town of Raymond has worked with the private organization which owns the park who agreed the park will remained closed until such time the Town determines risk factors are no longer present.
- Migration from Higher-Risk Areas: With Rockingham County quickly becoming the COVID-19 epicenter in New Hampshire, it is likely that migration to this park will not come from lower-risk communities, but rather from high-risk communities outside of New Hampshire. On Saturday March 28th, there were an estimated 111 vehicles at the Deerfield entrance to Pawtuckaway State Park alone.
- Surge in Local Population Density: The demand for the activities offered at these parks can be the equivalent of a 10%-20% surge in local population density.
- Increased Demand on Local Supply Chains: The private sector in smaller communities is already struggling to meet the demand for essential items. This surge will only exacerbate this issue and increase the risk of exposure.
- Increased Exposure to First Responders: Based on the witnessed trends regarding migration from higher-risk areas, municipalities with emergency response obligations to state parks have a higher risk exposure for COVID-19.
Pawtuckaway State Park: In a unified effort with Nottingham, the Town of Raymond has officially petitioned the Governor of New Hampshire for the immediate and complete closure of this park. In addition, we have requested that he evaluate the associated risk of all state parks and the concerns expressed by communities and their leaders.
In addition to asking private organizations and the state to take steps to stop the spread of this disease, we must look inwards to items that are under our control. The following actions will be taken with regards to Town recreational areas, effective immediately.
Town Beaches: The Town Beaches are closed to all public access. As inconvenient as this is, it will help keep our community safe and prevent migration from other closed recreation areas in the state to Raymond.
Town Parks and Hiking Trails: Strict enforcement of gatherings of fewer than 10 people, and an additional restriction of no more than three vehicles at any recreational parking area at any time.
I personally feel the impacts of such restrictions on my own family and understand that this action may further compound the stress and isolation many feel. That is why, at this time, we are not fully closing all recreation areas, as we have seen across NH. We are asking our residents to use these areas safely and responsibly.
It is important to note that any violations of these policies puts our community at risk and jeopardizes the health of our law enforcement who are asked to monitor compliance. I urge each and every one of you to stay within these guidelines, so we are not forced to fully close these areas.
We are also partnering with our surrounding communities to see how we can lend support to their efforts and learn from what they have achieved. A comprehensive regional response that mitigates this pandemic outside of our own community is essential to achieving the best possible outcome.
We all, at Town Hall, appreciate the support, recommendations, and spirit of community expressed by so many of you. This is, no doubt, a trying time, but by coming together as a community to pick each other up and ensure our own activities help stop the spread of this disease we will come out of this stronger.
Each one of you and your families are in my thoughts and prayers.
We are ALL in this Together!
"Joe" - Joseph S. Ilsley
Town Manager Raymond, NH
For a Copy of the Letter to Governor Sununu CLICK HERE