Granite Gorge Summer Adventure Camp

A sign on West Street in Keene last year advertised registration for Granite Gorge Summer Adventure Camp.

ROXBURY — Almost a year since state regulators revoked the license of a local summer camp after finding safety violations there, they have proposed a $24,000 fine on Granite Gorge LLC.

The N.H. Department of Environmental Services, which regulates summer camps in the state, effectively shut down Granite Gorge Summer Adventure Camp when it pulled its license last July after parents complained that campers were poorly supervised. The department inspected the camp, finding that children were swimming without a lifeguard, among other violations, according to a June 4 notice about the fine.

The notice alleges 12 violations and proposes fines of $2,000 for each.

The camp, at the Granite Gorge Ski Area off Route 9 in Roxbury, was in its second year of operation, serving children ages 5 and up. Fred Baybutt, who is listed in N.H. Secretary of State records as a manager at Granite Gorge LLC, said last July that the camp had 20 kids registered at the time. According to the June fine notice, the camp accommodated approximately 260 children and 10 staff members last year.

In an email last month, Baybutt said, “Granite Gorge will continue to provide a quality, safe, fun product to the general public.” He said the summer camp would not be held this year.

Baybutt did not respond to interview requests by phone and email on Monday afternoon and this morning, but according to the notice, Granite Gorge has until July 12 to either pay the fine or request a public hearing from the department. Organizations can also settle with the department and pay a lesser fine, according to Emily Jones, enforcement and rulemaking supervisor at the department’s Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau.

Jones said Monday that the department typically takes about a year to issue fines.

The June 4 letter is the latest in a series of actions the state took after fielding complaints from parents about the camp last summer. The first came via a phone call from Nicole Hutchins on June 25, alleging that children at the camp suffered serious sunburns and were poorly supervised, prompting a state inspection. Jackie Howarth, who conducted that inspection July 3 for the environmental services department, found that the camp did not have a first-aid/CPR-certified staff member, and camper medical records were “missing or incomplete,” in violation of department rules. She also found the camp lacked a certified lifeguard and one of the camp’s two co-directors was 17, violating a rule that camp directors be at least 21.

In an interview last June, Baybutt dismissed Hutchins’ complaints.

The Department of Environmental Services issued a letter July 13 outlining the deficiencies and 10 corrective actions needed to resolve them. That letter states that the lack of a certified lifeguard, along with some other issues, were considered resolved because Granite Gorge LLC had agreed to suspend swimming and other water activities until a lifeguard was hired.

The letter also notes that, on July 10, the camp promoted a new director who was at least 21.

A second parent complaint, this time from Mariah Smith, was filed with the department July 17, outlining similar allegations pertaining to supervision at the camp.

And after an anonymous caller alleged July 27 that children were once again swimming without lifeguard supervision and that the newly promoted camp director had resigned, department officials decided to revoke the camp’s license.

Liora Engel-Smith can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or lsmith @keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @LEngelSmithKS.