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Thread: Mollidgewock Campground In Errol

  1. #1
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Mollidgewock Campground In Errol

    So I'm trying to cobble together a last minute trip to Northern NH in about 10 days. My wife's schedule is pretty up in the air so I don't want to book anything and then get stuck not being able to go so I've been keeping an eyeball on a few places to gauge site availability. Every time I look in this area Mollidegwock Campground comes up and it is always wide open for reservations. They even show 12 sites available for this weekend - Labor Day weekend.

    That seems really odd to me, especially as insane as all things outdoors are right now. It has a convenient location and looks nice enough on the website. What am I missing? Seems really strange to be able to get sites that easily right now, even on a holiday weekend. If anyone has stayed there and can provide feedback on it I would appreciate it (or has any better alternatives other than Umbagog Lake CG). Thanks in advance.

    (And if I asked this before I apologize. I was getting some serious deja-vu as I was writing it but don't know why I would have asked because I didn't start kayaking until this year)
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    Well, I drive by there a fair amount and never see anyone there. And a friend of my recently stayed there w/o reservations. Pretty sure he just canoed down the river from up in Wentworth, portaged at the dam in Errol and crashed at Mollidgewock. But that is anecdotal and I could be misremembering. I do see a lot of folks fishing, but I don't think they are typically over nighters. I'd be curious to hear what others more knowledgeable have to say.

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    I've driven by here a few times recently but have no personal experience with staying there. I did stay at Coleman SP this past Tuesday night though and the place was deserted, which I was surprised at. Just me and two other sites booked and one of those left before I even got up. Mollidgewock looks great as it's right on the river.
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    I used to provide supervision of Mollidgewock from 2008 to 2020 and worked many service shifts at the park. All the state parks in the Great North Woods (Coos) except Umbagog, had always suffered from low usage, but that certainly has changed up into today; with Mollidgewock being the slowest to gain higher occupancy percentages as parks worked to attract more campers.
    The biggest element that would dampen reservations from new visitors was the fact of no flush toilets or showers. It was always very common to have sites not reserved into a weekend or holiday period, only to have them fill last minute from walk-in campers as the last available resort. In the past the strongest clientele had been river paddlers with organized groups being a large portion and fisherman, with a niche for people seeking a quieter/wilder spot, and I discovered also people looking to get out of the City of Berlin for the weekend and just hang by the river.
    Over the past few years we were increasingly surprised as we were filling up regularly on holiday's other than July 4th, and even a few non-holiday weekends. The biggest thing we noticed was the increase in the Androscoggin Valley resident floater crowd, and an increase in weekend partyers. This has increasingly created a bit of a rub between the traditional ultra-quiet seeking wild experience crowd that always loved their special little park, and those just seeking an available spot of ground to pitch their tent and go wild (and complain there are no flush toilets).

    It should be noted many of the sites are right on top of each other along the river, and many of the lower numbered sites don't offer much available flat ground. My advice would be don't be lulled into thinking the current low reservations means sites will certainly be available, as again they would tend to fill up with last minute reservations and a high volume of walk-ins specific to this park.

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    The state is planning to do major upgrade and expansion of the campground with American Recovery Act funding. The write up on the project is that the facility is "deteriorated".

    Contrary to the weather pattern down south, the Androscoggin Watershed is in record drought so the river is being run at minimal water flow. The Lakes are also low. So paddling is going to be boney.

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    Can't add too much to Andrew's comments, except to say that the sites along the entrance are also noisy from the route 16 traffic. There are a few choice sites around the point that have a little bit of privacy, but not much. We spent many weeks there with the kids when they were young, ferrying them back and forth from one end of the campground to the other with their tubes. There are some fun little rapids and a couple of great big boulders at the end to sun and jump into the water. Not sure if they allow the ATV's anymore, but that is what we used to run them back up the mile to the entrance. Once in a while we would ferry a car down to the Seven Islands Bridge and make an afternoon of it tubing.

    The Molligewok Brook is also great to paddle up to a beaver dam, some years you can get over it and go for miles, but it changes every year. I think it goes all the way to Umbagog, but have never been able to get all the way up (over?) there.

  7. #7
    Senior Member miehoff's Avatar
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    I drove through the campground a few weeks ago. I instantly decided that I would never stay there. Like Andrew said, the sites are obnoxiously close to each other and right on the access road. There is no privacy, and if someone wants to be even just a bit loud, you will hear them. I would avoid it unless you aren't concerned with these issues.
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    The state is planning to do major upgrade and expansion of the campground with American Recovery Act funding. The write up on the project is that the facility is "deteriorated".

    Contrary to the weather pattern down south, the Androscoggin Watershed is in record drought so the river is being run at minimal water flow. The Lakes are also low. So paddling is going to be boney.
    I'm not looking to paddle the rivers. I was just looking for a base to hit Umbagog and possibly other lakes in the area. We actually had reservations at a remote site on Umbabgog but I wound up canceling because of the uncertainty with my wife's schedule. Reserve America lets you cancel in full up to 8 days out with only a $6.50 fee. Didn't want to get stuck not being able to go but if she winds up not having to work we'll camp on land somewhere and do day trips.
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    Quote Originally Posted by miehoff View Post
    I drove through the campground a few weeks ago. I instantly decided that I would never stay there. Like Andrew said, the sites are obnoxiously close to each other and right on the access road. There is no privacy, and if someone wants to be even just a bit loud, you will hear them. I would avoid it unless you aren't concerned with these issues.
    Yes the sites are very close looking at the satellite view. I don't plan on doing much other than sleeping there, cooking, etc. and we'll be there midweek so I was hoping it would be lightly attended to offset these factors. I wouldn't normally consider a campground like this for regular camping. It's more about the convenience of the location and the ability to actually get a spot.
    “Sometimes when you’ve lost something in your life that matters, the only thing left to do is go and find it.” Renan Ozturk

  10. #10
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
    I used to provide supervision of Mollidgewock from 2008 to 2020 and worked many service shifts at the park. All the state parks in the Great North Woods (Coos) except Umbagog, had always suffered from low usage, but that certainly has changed up into today; with Mollidgewock being the slowest to gain higher occupancy percentages as parks worked to attract more campers.
    The biggest element that would dampen reservations from new visitors was the fact of no flush toilets or showers. It was always very common to have sites not reserved into a weekend or holiday period, only to have them fill last minute from walk-in campers as the last available resort. In the past the strongest clientele had been river paddlers with organized groups being a large portion and fisherman, with a niche for people seeking a quieter/wilder spot, and I discovered also people looking to get out of the City of Berlin for the weekend and just hang by the river.
    Over the past few years we were increasingly surprised as we were filling up regularly on holiday's other than July 4th, and even a few non-holiday weekends. The biggest thing we noticed was the increase in the Androscoggin Valley resident floater crowd, and an increase in weekend partyers. This has increasingly created a bit of a rub between the traditional ultra-quiet seeking wild experience crowd that always loved their special little park, and those just seeking an available spot of ground to pitch their tent and go wild (and complain there are no flush toilets).

    It should be noted many of the sites are right on top of each other along the river, and many of the lower numbered sites don't offer much available flat ground. My advice would be don't be lulled into thinking the current low reservations means sites will certainly be available, as again they would tend to fill up with last minute reservations and a high volume of walk-ins specific to this park.
    Yah I wondered if this spot was going to be more of a local party spot than a "normal" campground. Is there an actual caretaker there to enforce the rules? I'd definitely book a reservation before I drove that far.
    “Sometimes when you’ve lost something in your life that matters, the only thing left to do is go and find it.” Renan Ozturk

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Yah I wondered if this spot was going to be more of a local party spot than a "normal" campground. Is there an actual caretaker there to enforce the rules? I'd definitely book a reservation before I drove that far.
    Sorry if I gave the wrong overall impression, Mollidgewock is a wonderful campground that generally provides a quieter and wilder experience. There are actually quite a few semi-secluded sites, and when lightly occupied many of the sites in the open along the river have their special qualities and can provide an ideal experience. Just like anywhere though if you happen on a time when some less mindful campers are present, it can be miserable where the sites are close. We actually worked hard to try to improve the conditions of the campsites and the camper experience over the years I was involved at the park, but the old office and caretakers cabin were slowly (actually rather quickly!) sinking into the ground of the moist riverbank. We kept jacking the cabins up and trying to stabilize them, but with the moist soils and extreme frost heaving, it's just a lost cause without a significant investment in the infrastructure (hence the "deteriorated" status peakbagger mentioned). For over a decade we tried to get the park on the benefit of improvements, but every year it would fizzle out of Concord HQ, usually due to other infrastructure emergencies in the park system or lack of funds or staff.

    I'm not sure what the staffing is like nowadays and whether someone will be present; as I know it is currently being managed by a park manager who already manages the park in Berlin, and was additionally tasked with overseeing a third small park. Finding staff in the area was already nearly impossible before I retired at the end of 2019, and I don't think it has improved.

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