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Sununu unveils new fishing dock at Profile Lake



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Several politicians and department heads attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new wheelchair-accessible fishing dock at Profile Lake last Saturday. (Photo by Angel Larcom) (click for larger version)
September 16, 2020
FRANCONIA — The final stage of the Old Man of the Mountain memorial was revealed last weekend, 17 years after the iconic rock formation fell. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new accessible fishing platform was well-attended and featured speeches by Gov. Chris Sununu, department heads, and project team members.

Flush with a paved trail, the new dock features a ramp, making it wheelchair and handicapped accessible. The ribbon-cutting was attended by several politicians, representatives from state departments and board members from the Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund.

Governor Craig Benson appointed a task force after the Old Man's collapse on May 3, 2003. The group eventually became the Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to developing a monument. The first phase of the Notch's Profiler Plaza was dedicated in June 2011. It features seven steel "profilers" that recreate the original rock formation and more than 1,000 memorial paver stones.

The final phase of the project was revealed on Saturday, and included a new bridge on the south edge of Profile Lake as well as the dock. Visitors are now able to hike the full circumference of the famous fly fishing area.

While speaking to the large gathering, Governor Sununu said, "We take a lot of pride in making our state accessible in a variety of different ways. We are always challenging ourselves to find more innovative ways to open up doors to the entire community."

Sununu continued, "These types of projects set the tone for what NH is about, for not just where we are today but more importantly where we are going. It's a very fitting place to open up such an incredible opportunity."

Natural and Cultural Resources Commissioner Sarah Stewart spoke of her five department's focus on accessibility, inclusion and equality. She oversees historical resources, forests and lands, the NH State Council on the Arts, the State Library and the NH Parks and Recreation department.

"This is not the most expensive investment we made this year or the fanciest or will generate the most revenue for our parks system. This one really hits home to our mission, which is to make sure that Granite Staters and visitors have the accessibility to the great outdoors and to the memories that we cherish," stated the Commissioner.

Parks and Recreation Director Phil Bryce listed several awards Franconia Notch had received over the years, including the country's top two parks. He reminded guests that the park was created in 1928 to honor men and women who served in the military.

He said, "It's a very reflective place and adding this opportunity to make our parks even more accessible is a wonderful project."

According to project architect Tom Mansfield, the memorial developed over time and did not start with a master plan. He described other options considered by the team and honored the Profiler Plaza's contractor, Northern New England Field Services.

Now that the Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund has reached its goal, the organization will restructure to become the Friends of the Old Man of the Mountain. Several Legacy Fund exhibits remain on display at the Cannon Mountain Tramway museum.

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