Concord – June 18, 2009 – Madison Boulder, a well-known local attraction, is one of 27 state-owned properties that may be sold or leased, according to a report in today’s N.H. Union Leader. DRED Parks and Recreation official Johanna Lyons says the 27 sites don’t meet the intent of the state parks system because they don’t generate any income.
Lyons told the newspaper that New Hampshire is the only state whose parks are totally dependent on admission revenue for funding, a decision made by the state in 1991 that has led to deficit budgets and deferred maintenance.
Madison Boulder, a huge granite rock 83 ft. long, 37 ft. wide and 23 ft. high, is the largest known “glacial erratic” in New England and one of the largest in the world. Experts believe it weighs 5,000 tons and another 10 to 12 feet of rock lies buried beneath it.
The state acquired the 17-acre site in 1946 and in 1970 it was designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. At the time of its National Landmark designation, it was described as “an outstanding illustration of the power of an ice sheet to pluck out very large blocks of fractured bedrock and move them substantial distances.”
The park site, on Boulder Road off Route 113 in Madison, has picnic tables and is open to the public year-round at no charge but is unstaffed, according to a state website.
The Nature Conservancy owns a 228-acre mixed woodland of hemlock and beech, called Madison Boulder Woods, which surrounds the state-owned site on three sides.