GILFORD — Town police are already taking steps to ensure there is no recurrence next year of the parking problems near Ellacoya State Park this past Independence Day which made parts of Scenic Road virtually impassable.
The issue came up during Wednesday’s selectmen’s meeting.
Town Administrator Scott Dunn said Thursday that while the selectmen took no official action, he police will be doing more advanced planning, including posting special no-parking signs along the road in the vicinity of the park.
Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee was at the selectmen’s meeting but did not comment about the matter, Dunn said.
According to the Gilford Police Department log for July 4, the department recorded 21 incidents dealing with illegal parking on the lakeside roadway between 1-4 p.m.
Dunn said many of the cars were parked in the travel lanes and posed potentially serious problems had emergency vehicles needed to get through. Police ended up ticketing the cars and some even had to be towed.
Paul Jensen, park manager of Ellacoya State Park, said all park visitors were advised that they needed to park where it was legal. He said that he worked with Gilford police to deal with the illegally parked vehicles. He said numerous cars were ticketed and about four were towed away.
He attributed the situation to miscommunication. “We tend to expect a crush of visitors during the weekend, but not during the middle of the week,” he explained.
Dunn said that as soon as soon as a few beach-goers parked in the street, others followed suit and the problem quickly escalated.
“It was sort of a perfect storm,” Dunn said of the situation. “The police want to get ahead of the problem,” he continued, “and we hope we will be better prepared next year.”