*THE ICE SKATING RINK HAS NOT YET OPENED UP FOR THE WINTER 2023 SEASON. IT HAS NOT BEEN COLD ENOUGH FOR THE ICE TO FREEZE. WHEN THE RINK CLOSED SIGN IS UP - PLEASE STAY OFF THE ICE AS YOU WILL BREAK THRU; WHICH ONLY FURTHER DELAYS THE RINK FROM OPENING.
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.
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.
Watson Park Pavilion is available for reservations from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm each day (subject to time of sunset).
We now offer the ability to submit requests to use the Watson Park Pavilion online. There is no fee associated with renting the Park & Bandstand, however reservations are required to avoid overlapping events. Requests must be submitted at least 7 days in advance. You can either click on the link to the right to submit them online or you can click here to download Watson Park Pavilion Rental Application and submit it to the Parks & Recreation Department for approval.
General Park Rules & Regulations:
441 Daniel Webster Highway
Merrimack, NH, 03054
If you choose to submit your request online, the reservation system (Rec Desk) will require you to create an account if you don't already have one. This is the same system that we use for program registrations and so if you have participated in any program with us; you will have an account established already.
For Questions call us at 603-882-1046
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE TOWN HAS REOPENED ACCESS TO THE SOUHEGAN RIVER FROM WATSON PARK ON A TRIAL BASIS. IF PARK VISITORS ARE GOOD AND DON'T TRASH THE PARK OR THE RIVER, THEN IT WILL REMAIN OPEN. IF WE START SEEING SIMILAR PROBLEMS TO WHAT OCCURRED IN 2020; THEN THE GATES WILL BE CLOSED AND LOCKED AGAIN.
Access to the river is down a steep slope and done so at your own risk. This trail down to the river is not ADA Accessible.
The Souhegan Watershed Association is now conducting Water Quality Tests for E.Coli Bacteria on the river at Watson Park every two weeks during the summer months. The following scale dictates whether it is safe to go into the water based on the test results.
The results of the Water Quality Test conducted on 8/23/2022 are an E.Coli Level of:160.7 which is a Red Flag. Water Quality Advisory in effect. Swimming not recommended due to risk of increased illness. Do not ingest water, shower after swimming, wash hands before eating. Children, elderly or those with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable.