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Vacationers Can Get to the White Mountains

NORTH WOODSTOCK, NH - Within a day after Hurricane Irene blew through the White Mountains of New Hampshire, most of the regional attractions were able to reopen and resume their summer activities.

"Although two of our major east-west highways were affected by the storm, the tourism community is grateful to highway crews for their quick work in reopening roads that are providing alternate routes to travelers and locals alike," said Jayne O'Connor, president of White Mountains Attractions in North Woodstock, the regional marketing organization for the White Mountains. "The reopeningof Route 16 by Monday afternoon, for example, now provides access to our third east-west highway, Route 2, which runs through the northern White Mountains and connects the Mount Washington Valley and the Franconia Notch regions."

State transportation officials joined Gov. John Lynch on a visit to the White Mountains on Monday, including Crawford Notch and the Kancamagus Highway, O'Connor said, to assess the damage and formulate a plan of action.

 "The state of New Hampshire considers Route 302 through Crawford Notch and Route112, the Kancamagus Highway, as the highest of priorities because of their high traffic volume and importance to the tourism economy, especially at this time of year, when the region is ready to host millions of visitors for the upcoming fall foliage season," she said. "We are confident that in the next couple weeks,  portions of the Kanc will be open, even as repairs to the road continue."

As of Tuesday, the Kancamagus Highway is now open to the Discovery Trail and Route 302 is open to Bretton Woods from the west and to Glen from the east.  

O'Connor said it was fortunate the hurricane came through at this time of year, when the leaves are still green and firmly attached to the trees, as this will have no impact on the foliage.  

"If nothing else," she said, "the trees will have plenty of moisture to produce the brilliant colors this year." 

Access to the White Mountain from the north and south was unaffected, leaving most communities and attractions throughout the White Mountains accessible. Interstate 95 and Route 16 brings visitors to Conway and the Mount Washington Valley, while Interstate 93 provides direct access to the western and Franconia Notch side.  

Attractions partially or fully open include: Attitash (with the Mountain Coaster to open later); Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway; Clark's Trading Post; Conway ScenicRailroad, Flume Gorge; Hobo Railroad (open by the weekend), Loon Mountain (via South Mountain Bridge); Lost River Gorge (the lower gorge opens Wednesday), Mt. Washington Auto Road; Polar Caves Park;  Santa's Village; Six Gun City; Story Land; Whales Tale Water Park and Wildcat Mountain.  

More information is available by contacting the White Mountains Visitor Center, off exit 32 of I-93 or by calling 800-FIND-MTS, or on the web at www.VisitWhiteMountains.com.

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