Recreation Near Hydro Plants
PSNH operates nine hydroelectric power plants in the state, harnessing the power of New Hampshire’s rivers to generate renewable energy. Each of PSNH’s hydro stations uses a dam to control the river’s water level and send its flow through turbines that generate electricity. The reservoir that forms behind the dam creates areas popular for fishing, boating, swimming and camping, as well as wildlife refuges and bird sanctuaries.
Unless otherwise posted, these areas are open to public recreation. However, the dam and the power station’s operation create serious hazards, such as strong, unexpected currents and rapidly changing water levels. It is very important for visitors to use caution and to heed safety warnings and physical barriers.
Do Not Go Beyond the Buoys
The danger of getting anywhere near the edge of a dam is obvious, especially when the water level is high enough to spill over. But less apparent dangers exist even when the pond behind the dam seems placid. The power station draws in water, and when the station’s generators are running, the water flows in the pond increase dramatically. A cable and float system marks the boundary for boating, fishing, and swimming. For your safety, you must stay outside these buoys at all times.
Stay Alert Downstream
When water has passed through the turbines, it is discharged through outlets downstream of the station, causing water levels to rise suddenly. Warning signs are posted near the station, and horns will sound to warn of rising water levels. Water levels may also rise without warning if the wooden flashboards used to increase the height of the dam suddenly fail. Always be prepared for changing conditions.