There were 72 responses to this week’s Tele-Talk question: "What do you think of charging out-of-towners $20 to park by the Saco?
They were about equally divided, with 38 opposing such a fee, with some citing the proposed parking lot at Hussey’s field as the reason.
I think it's disgusting that anyone would recommend a beautiful public field for all to enjoy be turned into a parking lot. The natural spring that runs there is often a place I turn to for fresh, free water. A parking lot would allow for more tourists and make it seem more inviting to congregate. I pray the general public will see what a stupid idea this is and leave the field alone.
It's not just Conway residents that enjoy the use of this land; Fryeburg, Bartlett, Chatham and Tamworth people also go here for access to the water. Because someone thinks the land would be good for business is not a good enough reason to develop it. Ian Wellinghurst
Twenty dollars seems a bit steep. However, people pay $30 to park for sporting/concerts etc. Wish we could charge for garbage that's left along it in the summer. Jim Nacchia
Fine idea with the following exceptions: Vehicles with Vermont tags pay $50 because of its communist leanings: Maine tags pay $30 because most residents are transplants from Massachusetts; Rhode Island tags pay $40 because they like high taxes; Massachusetts tags pay $25 because they are Massachusetts; Hawaiian and Puerto Rican tags pay no fee just because!
My family is a frequent visitor to the White Mountains. We would be more than happy to pay for parking during these unprecedented times. Anne McGuire
Twenty dollars! That's steep. It's $3 At Diana's Baths. We live locally (but not in Conway) and use the river, too. I might as well sell our kayaks. Figure out something else. That's ridiculous! Kim Goodrow
I’m disappointed to see so many suggesting that tourists “run this valley.” Sure, they bring in money, but they didn’t build this town, locals did and it’s the locals who maintain this town on the weekdays. It’s not about who gets to pay $20 here or there, it’s about keeping the mountains white and the roots rooted instead of selling out for a little cash. Don’t pave that field, and enforce the no parking zones! Cian Duffy
They should have to pay. When we would visit our grandmother on Cape Cod, out-of-staters had to pay to use the beach. We used to spend every summer at First Bridge, and though I live five minutes from it, I haven't spent a day there in years because there is never anywhere to park.
To be honest, it would make me feel better knowing that at least the town is making money off of the people out of state taking up the beach. Tiera Colette Ferreira
I am disappointed in New Hampshire. I love the mountains and have for 30 years but had no idea I would be so unwelcome now. Emmy Ryan
Non-residents should be charged to use our attractions. People who live here and pay taxes can’t enjoy our town without tourists overflowing the area. I want to enjoy my town. Even if there was some specific day of the week that was designated for locals. We pay taxes. We want to enjoy the town we pay for. "Locals” should include everyone within a certain radius of the valley, not just Conway residents. Shannon Lamar
Wow, I have been coming to New Hampshire all my life at least once a year. Three years ago, we bought a condo in Bartlett (not for rentals) and we were so happy we were one step closer to living there full-time. I can’t believe how much hatred I read on this page daily for people from Massachusetts and not the innocent rival state kind of hatred. We still love the landscape of the state but not how unwelcome we feel because our license plates still read Massachusetts. Brittany Gorham Ramos
I'm surprised this took so long to be suggested. When I travel to an ocean beach in Maine, I have to pay to park. I think it is $16-$18 a day or it may be more now. Paying to use the Saco is perfectly reasonable. MaryPat Ferguson Devine
As a Rhode Island resident, this is a tough one. We visit, are respectful to the area and the residents, and often find the residents and store workers to be super friendly. I understand the need to gain revenue but the entire area is heavily reliant on out-of-town folks visiting as it is. To add fees makes it more difficult to enjoy your beautiful piece of this planet and also adversely affects the revenue when folks stop visiting. David Paull
The renters of the tubes, kayaks and canoes must provide drop-off, pickup and parking at their location. The local spots will never support the parking. Val Ed McAskill
Twenty dollars excluding any resident of Bartlett, Jackson, Albany and Eaton sounds fair that is tubing and kayaking down the river. Travis Rockett
Our income depends on the tourists. Especially now when indoor attractions are discouraged. We should set up shuttle buses for parking. Raine Savary
Maybe the state of New Hampshire should send a bill to Conway taxpayers for the highway improvements and the bypass. We as a state spent tax dollars on those projects because of tourism and since some in Conway look at tourism and dollars it brings in as a nuisance, the state should be reimbursed for those expenses. John Gibson
What are the motives of the local tube rental company? Are they trying to discourage people from using the Saco without paying them? I am against a fee, but if there is one, the rental company or their clients should also pay. Richard Fargo
Absolutely! Lots of other towns charge for people from out of state to park, no reason why we shouldn't be doing it. You certainly can't go to Boston without having to pay for parking. Shannon M Brown
Hussey donated the field so it could be paved over for charged parking. Sure these suggestions weren't the idea of the lawyer up by Diana's Baths? I'm sure there have been plenty of layoffs in the town to offset the lack of tourism, right? Jeff Goyette
That would be a good idea. You pay for parking in other areas, so it would be good for all parties, and $20 isn't anything that would break the bank. Jane Marie Whiting Kenny
Twenty dollars is a little steep. A kiosk would be a good idea, but if you overcharge, you will just drive folks to illegally park up and down the road (Diana’s Bath all over again). Angela Huertas
Unfortunately, a bulk of New Hampshire’s revenue comes from tourism.
If the money doesn’t come in, you will soon be paying taxes. I don’t have a problem paying $20 as long as the town uses it to improve things for people who live there year-round. Michael Atwood
A fee structure is a slippery slope. A few WMNF parking lots were initially voluntary pay systems and now most are mandatory, or worse, closed to the public. We have already lost access to many local swimming holes. Please leave Hussey field and other sites as they are, with conservation and public access in balance. Jeff Marcoux
They pave paradise, put up a parking lot. I doubt Doc Hussey wanted this green space turned into parking. Sharon Haley
Love the idea! Out-of-staters parking along my road near Saco bound, not caring a damn about posted signs "no parking." George Maxim
Outdoor enthusiasts will swamp this area as they do every year anyway. I do not see how a parking fee helps much, besides the rental company owner. Cameron Lambert
People who live in Madison or another close town shouldn't have to pay for parking. But out-of-state people absolutely should. Amy Allen
If folks are parking illegally, they should be ticketed, towed or booted. Kate Briand
Not realistic long-term but could be a temporary solution to pad the projected budget deficits from COVID. Ben Cargill
I notice this was suggested by a canoe rental company owner. Don't the canoe/tube rental places use that turnaround, too? They are commercial users, shouldn't they pay? We shouldn't forget that it's the tourists that pay most of the bills around here. It's those tourism dollars that allow most of the rest of us to live here. Twenty dollars is too high and locals should include locals, not just Conway. Bruce Consaul
How about residents and property owners? Besides, $20 seems a bit steep. Michelle Leahy
What about all of us in the surrounding area that live here, too. Not fair to us. And if you're gonna charge the others to park, it should only be 5 bucks! Donna Friddle
We act like tourists are the enemy, when they’re the ones that keep our town financially intact, and I guarantee if we start throwing fees around public places, we will no longer be a tourist town and our businesses will hit the ground in debt. Kassie Moulton
If visitors have to pay $20 to park, they won’t bother to rent tubes or other watercraft. This will hurt the rental companies. Hal Sparks
Why would want to want to soak out-of-towners when they come to vacation and spend money in the valley? You should encourage them to come, not aggravate them for being there. Mark Zunick
Wake-up call, they pay for our living. But sure, let's charge them to park. Christopher Fleming
Biting the hand that feeds you comes to mind. There may be limited vacation options this year, but come another year when choice is available again, the valley will have to re-prove its destination value. Careful what you wish for, people will take their money to whomever they think is best value for them. Marie Doyle
Considering they’ve charged locals $15 a head to get out of the river at McSherry’s, I guess it’s not out of the question. Jimmy Campbell
Instead of trying to stick it to the tourists, why don't you offer shuttle buses for a small fee? Melissa Elena
It will stop the encroachment on private properties. We as river abutters have to deal with it every day. Arthur A King Jr.
It should remain a free parking area if it’s public. FREE PARKING FOR ALL! Zac A. Mercauto
Please do not pave the field! Sara Beagen Moore
Twenty-dollar parking for non-residents, sounds good to me. Maybe it’ll make it so locals won’t need to get there at dawn for a spot. Uncle-Dan Lavigne
Totally agree. We have to pay to go to the ocean etc. Why not?! Rena Allen
Twenty dollars to park? Get bent, how about that? Joe Powell
Don’t forget Fryeburg! We have more workers running Conway than Conway workers. Kyle Allen
Massachusetts should have to pay $50. Any other state should park for free. Eugene Guinasso
Charge 50 bucks and tow every illegal parked car for 500! Frank Korchick
This is a wonderful idea due to the fact that residents, myself being one of them, will be able to safely recreate without trying to find a place to park! Rebekah Edwards
Be prepared to pick up all the trash that is left behind! Richie Girouard
Why does it always have to be about money? I just like to enjoy nature! I don’t have a million dollars to throw away to enjoy God’s beauty. Mary Duchesne
Good idea, but what about the close surrounding towns like Bartlett? We live literally on the line on Hurricane. So we have a Bartlett sticker. So I live five minutes from there but would have to pay? Kayla Lowberg
Charge residents from Mass. $200, residents from other states $20 and locals nothing. If they don’t like it they can stay home.
Absolutely not. Dr. Hussey did not gift that field to be turned into a parking lot! It is bad enough that the roundabout was created for the convenience of the canoe liveries.The Saco is already becoming just another water amusement park. Dave, Bartlett
Yes, out-of-towners should have to pay to play (in season), though $20 may be a little high. It has always amazed me how the local towns give away their natural resources so freely. While I’m happy to share our wonderful natural resources with visitors, Towns should reserve a reasonable amount of parking spaces for residents and when circumstances permit, charge a moderate fee for others.
I 100 percent stand by out-of-staters being charged a $20 fee to park at Saco!!!
Absolutely! Denise Calandra
I won't. Jay J. Carter
Do it. Heather Lackie
No. Nancy Stewart
Great idea. Marci Drew-Labrie
Absolutely stupid! Jim Shuff
Amen!! Amanda Floyd
Yes! Kyle Poirier
Build a wall. Eric Carlsson
No. Paula Marsney
Good idea. Earl Hopkins
Don't pave over greenspace. Melissa Tibbetts
DO IT!!!! Hydie Brackett Bryan