The following letter was sent to the Carroll County Independent and Conway Daily Sun, with a copy to the Ossipee Select Board.
To the Editor:
We attended the Ossipee Select Board’s forum on the proposal to purchase Camp Sokokis to learn how the board hopes to transform the private campground into a town-owned, town-managed recreation area. We liked what we heard.
If voters approve the purchase, the town will close the business and remove the campsites on the lakefront side of Hodsdon Shore Road. To meet a provision of the purchase agreement, the displaced campers will be permitted to relocate elsewhere on the property for up to two years while they look for a new summer home.
There will not be a boat ramp, and the current moorings will be removed. The property’s existing bathrooms will be maintained by the Highway Department, and car access will be limited to Gretchen Road for safety reasons. In addition to summer activities, the site will accommodate winter access for ice fishing and snowmobiling.
Much of the concern about the plan has centered on economics—not just the purchase price, but also the cost of operations and the impact on taxes. These are important considerations, and the board discussed them at the forum. It’s up to Ossipee voters to consider the financial aspects of the plan.
But as regards environmental impact, we think the town’s plan is a good one. Use of the property as a town recreation area has the potential to be less impactful than its continued use as a commercial campground. (Others are said to be eyeing the site for that purpose if the sale falls through). Moreover, the property’s extensive wetlands will accrue to the Conservation Commission under town ownership. These positive outcomes have earned our support.
Ossipee has been looking for a suitable site for a town beach on its namesake lake for many years. If voters believe the purchase of Camp Sokokis is a good financial investment for the future, this could be the right place at the right time.
Board of Directors
Ossipee Lake Alliance