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Labor Day weekend: aftermath of hurricane Irene may force people to change plans

Labor Day weekend: Damage from hurricane Irene has closed popular recreation areas such as parts of the White Mountains National Forest in New Hampshire.

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Vacationers planning to visit the White Mountains National Forest in New Hampshire for Labor Day weekend should check with the park to see which parts are closed.

Jerry & Marcy Monkman/

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Labor Day Weekend: It’s the last hurrah before the kids go back to school. People plan for it all summer, be they headed for the hills or the shore.

This year, though, it’s complicated. The flooding caused by the soggy remnants of hurricane Irene affected areas popular with vacationers, such as the White Mountains National Forest (WMNF) in New Hampshire.

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Two main roads in the White Mountains, Route 302 and the Kancamangus Highway, sustained damage and are closed, forcing drivers to make a long detour. The WMNF itself, which was closed until Aug. 30, is being reopened in stages; visitors should check out the WMNF website for updates.

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Robert Moses and Jones Beach state parks on Long Island, N.Y., remain closed after Irene hit and lost electricity, with major flooding and erosion a problem. It is not known if the parks will be open for Labor Day weekend, park officials said.

In the case of the Smoky Mountains area, an influx of vacationers is coming from coastal North Carolina and Virginia, which were hit by Irene. Hotels and campgrounds are booking up quickly ahead of the holiday weekend in what traditionally is a very popular destination at this time of year anyway.