Natural Area Working Group to Meet

Concord – October 30, 2008 – The first meeting of the Ossipee Lake Natural Area working group will be held at Center Ossipee Town Hall on November 14th from 2-4 p.m. according to DRED’s Division of Forests and Lands administrator Don Kent, who will chair the meeting, which is open to the public.

The working group, which consists of representatives of state and local organizations and members of the boating community, was established as part of DRED’s management plan for the property – the first such plan to be developed since the state purchased the 400-acre preserve from land developers in 1969.

While the working group does not have regulatory decision-making power, it will serve in an advisory capacity to the state. The agenda for the group’s first meeting includes a presentation on the chronology of rare plants and natural communities at the site, and a discussion of issues related to implementing the management plan next year.

Announced in June, the management plan permits public access to 1,500 feet of shoreline for recreation and education, while the remainder of the property is reserved for the protection and conservation of unique natural and historic resources, which the state report called “non-renewable, fragile and rare.” Boats cannot be pulled onto the shoreline anywhere on the property.

The 30-page plan was one of three alternatives DRED developed earlier this year with a coalition of state agencies that included its own Divisions of Forests and Lands and Parks and Recreation; the Department of Environmental Services’ Lakes Management and Protection Advisory Committee; the Department of Safety’s Marine Patrol Division; and the Historical Resources Division of the New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources. The agencies also considered input from two public hearings.

In addition to the aforementioned state agencies, the working group includes Lakeside Landing Marina and Campground, Long Sands Association, Ossipee Lake Alliance, the N.H. Lakes Association and Green Mountain Conservation Group. The Ossipee Lake boating community will be represented by Richard Lover of Milton, Allen McKenney of Hudson and John Panagiotakos of Freedom.

The lake’s three surrounding towns will be represented by John Shipman of Freedom, Harry Merrow of Ossipee and Sheila Jones of Effingham.

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