Watson Park is the generous gift of Harold and Barbara Watson. This park was formally dedicated in 2010 for the purpose of protecting and maintaining open space in a natural atmosphere for the people of Merrimack to enjoy a tranquil outdoor setting in Merrimack’s Town Center.
With the warm temperatures that we have experienced this week; the ice skating rink has developed very soft ice and numerous open holes making it unsafe for use. For everyone's safety, the ice skating rink is now closed until further notice. The closed sign has been posted and the lights have been turned off. Please stay off the ice!
We will continue to evaluate conditions as we move into March, but with daytime temperatures expected to be in the 40's and 50's for the next 10 days; it does not look very promising.
Thank you for your cooperation!
Merrimack Parks & Recreation
ICE SKATING RINK - RULES & REGULATIONS
1. This is a Skate at Your Own Risk Facility and is free to use.
2. The outdoor skating areas are maintained for the enjoyment of all users. Be aware of others around you and their abilities
3. Please obey all posted signs.
4. This rink is designed for recreational use only. It is not designed for competitive hockey games as there are no safety barriers. No permits will be issued for any organized program.
5. No person is allowed to kick any other groups off of the ice.
6. There are no ice skate rentals available on site.
7. Lights will be available in the evenings and will turn on automatically at dusk and turn off automatically at 9:00 pm.
8. A Porta Potty will be available in the parking lot which is cleaned and maintained regularly.
Occasionally, the rink will be posted as closed if conditions are not optimal or if usage will damage the ice. If you visit the rink and see a closed sign, please stay off the ice. We will do our best to provide timely updates on this website and also our Facebook Page whenever any closures need to occur.
The Ice Skating Rink is maintained by the Public Works Department. In the event of a snowstorm it may take them a day or so to clear the snow off the ice as their focus is on plowing the Town Roads. In that scenario, they will work to reopen the rink as soon as possible.
HOW THE RINK IS MAINTAINED:
The Ice skating rink is maintained by the Public Works Department and they begin setting up the rink in November each year. The length of the season is determined by the weather. Most years, the rink is able to open in late December or early January. Most years, the rink closes in late February.
Making an ice skating rink isn't as simple as flooding the floor with gallons of water and waiting for cold weather. The Public Works Department must apply the water carefully and slowly, in order to insure ideal thickness. An ice surface that is too thick requires more energy to keep frozen and is prone to getting soft on the top. A surface that is too thin is also dangerous because skaters risk cutting straight through the ice and poking holes in the plastic liner.
It takes between 12,000 and 15,000 gallons to form an ideal rink surface. The Public Works Department forms the ice in several different layers. Each layer is allowed to fully freeze before the next layer can begin. When creating a new ice surface, temperature conditions are very important. Ideally the ice surface should be cared for daily. All snow and shavings should be removed before reapply thin coats of water evenly distributed over the entire rink using the multi layering technique.
Please note: Ice conditions can vary greatly with a temperature change as small as a few degree.
Long story short: we appreciate your understanding and patience when temperatures fluctuate. In order for ice to freeze it must remain below 32 degrees consistently.
COVID-19 IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic; individuals using the ice skating rink are asked to maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing from other families and the use of face coverings is highly encouraged.
Anyone that is showing symptoms of COVID-19 or has been exposed to COVID-19 is asked not to visit the facility until they have been cleared by a medical professional.
1. Have you or anyone in your household experiencing any of the following symptoms:
-Fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher),
-Shortness of breath
-Headaches (not related to caffeine, diet, hunger, migraines, or tension)
-New loss of taste or smell,
Gastrointestinal concerns (e.g., abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea)?
2. In the last 14 days, have you or anyone in your household been in close contact with anyone that has tested positive for or been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is suspected to have COVID-19?
3. Have you tested positive for COVID-19?
If the answer is “YES” to any of the above questions we would ask that you not to visit the Ice Skating Rink.
For questions, please contact the Parks & Recreation Department at 603-882-1046.
Watson Park is the generous gift of Harold and Barbara Watson. This park was formally dedicated in 2010 for the purpose of protecting and maintaining open space in a natural atmosphere for the people of Merrimack to enjoy a tranquil outdoor setting in Merrimack’s Town Center. Bounded on the south by the Souhegan River and on the east by Baboosic Brook, Watson Park is the anchor for the planned trail system leading west along the Souhegan and north along Baboosic Brook. A master plan has been developed for the Park with spaces set aside to tell the long history of its industrial past, as well as generous room for informal recreation.
The Pavilion at Watson Park was build by the Rotary Club of Merrimack who donated the Pavilion to the Town. The pavilion is a great space to host small weddings, birthday parties, or other seasonal outdoor events. Interested parties must fill out the Watson Park Pavilion Rental Application and submit it to the Parks & Recreation Department for approval. There is no fee associated with renting the pavilion but please be sure to review the parks rules and regulations to make sure it will work for your event.
General Park Rules & Regulations:
Three new beach volleyball courts were added to Watson Park in July 2019. These are free and open for public use. Reservations will not be accepted for their use. Due to deed restrictions, organized leagues will not be scheduled on these courts.
In April 2020; lights were added to the Beach Volleyball Courts which will also provide lighting in the winter for Ice Skating.
441 Daniel Webster Highway
Merrimack, NH, 03054
Even though there is not an official swimming area at Watson Park, a number of people do swim in the river adjacent to Watson Park. Water quality samples are taken on a weekly basis beginning in June and continuing thru August of each year to ensure it is safe for swimming and results are sent to the NH Department of Environmental Services.
The results of the weekly water quality test results for Aug 7this as follows:
The Souhegan River at Watson Park is: 53 (Blue Flag)
E. coli levels less than 88 are clean and would be satisfactory for swimming at a public beach.
88 to 126 is OK for healthy adults; 126 to 406 is poor and not recommended for swimming. Swimmers at this level should keep their heads out of the water to avoid the possibility of “swimmers ear” and “swimmers eye.” Gastrointestinal problems may be caused if you get water in your mouth.
Young children and adults with health problems may want to avoid going in the water at all.
Higher than 406 is not acceptable for swimming at all. High bacteria levels can cause swimmers ear and gastrointestinal problems, especially in children or vulnerable adult