FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ossipee — April 21, 2006 — Boaters entering Ossipee Lake using the Ossipee town ramp will be greeted by a Lake Host this summer, thanks to a New Hampshire Lakes Association grant that was awarded last week to the Ossipee Conservation Commission.
Conservation Commission members Mark Ciarfella and Jean Hansen were instrumental in obtaining the grant. Ciarfella will oversee the popular state-funded program, which increases boater awareness of milfoil and other destructive weeds by offering on-site boater education and boat and trailer inspections.
High school and college age students will be hired to work on weekends and holidays from June 30th through Labor Day, according to Ciarfella, who also plans to reach boaters on weekdays through a voluntary sign-in process at an information kiosk the town will build at the Pequawket Trail site.
With the Lake Host announcement, the Town of Ossipee joins more than 20 other ramp owners in Ossipee Lake Alliance’s multi-year initiative to prevent milfoil from entering or leaving the lake at any of its 30 public and private ramps.
Alliance program director Susan Marks commended the Commission’s plan and said it would be coordinated with a program implemented last year by Lakefront Landing Marina, which owns an adjacent ramp on Pequawket Trail on the channel between Broad Bay and the main lake.
“These two ramps are among the most popular places to launch a boat on the lake,” Marks said. “Having the town and the Marina work together to reach boaters with the milfoil message at this busy location is a major step toward getting every ramp owner involved.”
Ramp owners who participated in the program last year created site-specific plans to reach the boaters using their ramps, and thousands of copies of the Alliance’s milfoil prevention pamphlet were distributed to boaters, lake property owners and town officials. The pamphlet asks boaters to inspect their boats before entering the lake, and to exercise caution in infested areas to prevent props from chopping up and spreading the weeds.
More Aggressive Efforts
Ossipee Lake is one of 38 state lakes infested with fast-growing variable milfoil, which can be controlled but cannot be eradicated. The number of efforts to keep milfoil out of the lake has increased each year since Green Mountain Conservation Group launched the area’s first Lake Host program in 2002. That program, at the state’s Pine River public boat ramp on Route 25, will continue again this summer under the environmental group’s oversight.
In 2003, Ossipee Lake Alliance led a successful effort to have Freedom and Ossipee establish town funds to supplement State funding for milfoil prevention and control. While the State pays for initial treatments of infestations, it relies on towns to pay for treatments over the long term. Last summer, Ossipee and Freedom both used their funds to hire professional divers from Maine to remove milfoil from Danforth Pond and Leavitt Bay.
Around the State, lake communities are taking a more aggressive approach to milfoil because of the damage it can cause to recreation and real estate. Two years ago, an expensive combination of chemical treatments with 2,4-D and hand-pulling by divers eliminated all of the milfoil from Lower Suncook Lake. Annual monitoring by State and local officials will determine whether the weeds return.
Last year, Madison officials approved construction of a boat wash station at the town’s public ramp on Silver Lake. The lake is milfoil-free, and to keep it that way, boaters are required to use the boat wash or face steep fines. Madison, like Ossipee, has received grant funding for its boat ramp efforts from the New Hampshire Lakes Association.
Ossipee Lake’s Lake Hosts will receive training and $10 per hour for their work. For more information on becoming a Lake Host at Pequawket Trail, contact Mark Ciarfella at 539-6641 or Peter Waugh at 539-1307. For information on becoming a Lake Host on Pine River, contact Tara Schroeder at 539-1859.