Alliance Wants Ossipee to Document Need for State Land

Ossipee — October 6, 2005 — David Smith, executive director of Ossipee Lake Alliance, has written a letter to Sean O’Kane, commissioner of the N.H. Department of Resources and Economic Development, questioning the town’s need for another beach on Ossipee Lake, particularly one that will use state land at Long Sands.

Smith notes that the town already has several beaches, including one on Duncan Lake. He included pictures of the town beach on Duncan Lake which he describes as “arguably one of the finest town beaches of any surrounding community” and said that the town selectmen are in disagreement over whether the beach is used much by townspeople.

Smith said he took pictures on Aug. 13, between 12:30 and 2:30 p.m., showing little activity on the beach. He said he counted a maximum of 11 people there at a time when the beach was staffed by a lifeguard.

He said the pictures “underscore the fact that the town has not documented that it needs state land for a new town beach.” Without a well documented need, Smith argued, the town should not use state land for a beach.

“If the town were considering buying land for a beach its ‘need’ would be a matter for Ossipee taxpayers alone. That is not the case here. We believe the town owes the people of the state an explanation as to why it must have state land so it can have a second town beach,” he wrote.

Harry Merrow, a selectman and state representative who lives in Ossipee and is spearheading efforts to create a town beach at Long Sands, said he disagrees with Smith’s assertion that the town must show such a need.

The town of Ossipee has no public beach where people can swim on Ossipee Lake. There is a town beach at Constitution Park, but swimming is not allowed there due to Safety concerns.

Selectmen also provided a count of the people who visited the town beach at Duncan Lake this summer during the hours when a lifeguard was on duty. The counts were taken by lifeguards.

For the first week, June 25-July 2, there were 463 people at the beach. Numbers f1uctuctuated between about 250 and 350 for the following six weeks, as follows: week 2, 270; week 3, 353; week 4, 266;week 5,232; week 6, 292; and week 7, 300 people.

After that it dropped sharply: week 8, 82; week 9, 74; week 10, 50 and week 11, which includes Labor Day weekend, 39 people. The total is 2,421.

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