Ossipee Lake Alliance Is Formed

Freedom — April 15, 2003 — Broad Bay Alliance, an organization formed last year to create public awareness of environmental and land use issues on Broad Bay, has announced its reorganization and expansion to become Ossipee Lake Alliance, the first permanent organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of Ossipee Lake, its bays, rivers and surrounding land.

The announcement was made by David Smith, founder and executive director of Broad Bay Alliance, who will head the new organization which will link property owner associations, children’s camps and environmental groups in research, education, volunteer activities and advocacy to address quality of recreation, environmental and land use issues on the lake. The new organization’s website is at www.ossipeelake.org.

Chief among the Alliance’s initial activities will be the launch this summer of a comprehensive volunteer water quality monitoring program that will encompass the lake system’s five main bodies of water and all 14 of its tributaries. The sampling will be conducted by campers and counselors from Camp Calumet, YMCA Camp Huckins, Camp Robin Hood, Camp Cody, Camp Marist and Camp Tohkomeupog and will mark the first time that the camps have worked together on a lake environmental program.

The water quality monitoring program is one of several initiatives the Alliance is launching under the title “Ossipee Lake Protection Project,” a partnership between the Alliance, Green Mountain Conservation Group (GMCG) and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES). In July the partners will also launch LEAP 2003, a lake environment assessment program that will inventory and quantify environmental and quality of recreation issues on the lake.

Volunteers from the lake’s property owner associations will join the children’s camps in implementing the program, which will use observational research methods to document boating conditions, rafting, shoreline erosion and similar phenomena. As part of this effort NHDES will conduct a scientific survey to determine the current physical, chemical and biological condition of the lake system, the first such assessment of Ossipee Lake since the mid-1980s.

The Alliance and GMCG will also join forces with NHDES and the Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) in a public education initiative on the need to protect the lake‘s unique ecological assets, including its two globally rare pondshore communities, a pine barrens, a kettlehole quaking bog and the state’s largest stratified drift aquifer. The partners will host a public seminar on the topic at this year’s GMCG Watershed Weekend at Calumet Conference Center on July 12th. Other public presentations and events are planned for the summer and fall.

Spread over 4,000 acres and encompassing a large main lake, three bays, four ponds and 14 tributaries, Ossipee Lake is one of New Hampshire’s largest and most important lakes and is a major economic contributor to Freedom, Ossipee and Effingham. A primary destination for vacationers, boaters and wildlife enthusiasts, it is home to a growing number of permanent residents and is under developmental pressure and environmental stress.

“The lake’s size and configuration have resulted in diverse, independent lake communities and associations based on geographic location,” Smith said in announcing the new organization. “Many of these groups have worked independently on lake issues for years. Our goal is to bring them together to create a lake-wide community of interest to preserve the lake as an environmental, recreational and economic resource for future generations.”

The announcement of Ossipee Lake Alliance comes on the first anniversary of its predecessor organization, Broad Bay Alliance, which was formed to bring public attention to long-standing environmental and land use violations at Ossipee Lake Marina. At the initial public hearing on the marina issues last year more than 200 people braved an ice storm and filled Freedom’s Town Hall to oppose the marina’s request for “after the fact” town approval of the violations. The issues raised in the case have moved to state Superior Court where they will be heard later this year.

Broad Bay Alliance also partnered with GMCG, Ossipee Conservation Commission and the Appalachian Mountain Teen Project to bring the popular Lake Host program to Ossipee Lake in 2002. During summer weekends boats entering and leaving the lake at the Pine River public boat ramp were inspected for milfoil to prevent the invasive weed from being spread. The group also co-sponsored an NHDES workshop on how local communities can apply for state funding to safeguard Source Water Protection Areas.

The new Ossipee Lake Alliance is a New Hampshire corporation based in Freedom and has applied for 501(c)(3) non-profit status. Its website details its activities and posts volunteer opportunities for members of the community.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *