State Steps Up Natural Area Enforcement

Ossipee – August 6, 2010 – The summer has been sunny and hot, and that’s meant a lot of boats on the lake with plenty of them anchored at Long Sands, the informal name for state-owned Ossipee Lake Natural Area.

Thanks to unique rules established two years ago by the state agency DRED, boaters once again have the option of using a section of the shoreline that’s designated for public access, or anchoring offshore and recreating from their boat at the popular big lake site.

While compliance with the property’s management plan has been high, there have been pockets of resistance by a minority of boaters – resistance that has resulted in stepped up law enforcement.

“We are issuing citations this summer to individuals unwilling to comply with the rules,” said Captain Bryan Nowell of the Forest Protection Bureau, the DRED department that’s working with Marine Patrol officers to enforce the state’s regulations at the site.

Nowell says 20 citations have been issued to boaters so far this year for trespassing on the parts of the Natural Area that are closed to protect rare plants and historic resources. Much like a traffic ticket, a citation for trespassing results in a court process that can be costly and time-consuming.

Officials are also investigating the destruction of a fence that divides the public access shoreline from the closed portion of the property. If apprehended, the vandals could face a Class A misdemeanor charge and a fine of up to $1,200.

For the past two seasons, a Working Group of state officials, local organizations (including the Alliance) and boaters has worked diligently to create awareness of the management plan rules, whose aim is to permit a balance of recreation and preservation at the site.

By all accounts, the management plan has been a success and cooperation has been high. But after two seasons of hanging signs, handing out pamphlets and speaking with boaters, state officials believe anyone caught violating the rules at this point is likely doing so on purpose.

Boaters who want to see the management plan succeed agree.

“It’s a small number of bad apples causing the problems,” said one boater who spends almost every weekend at Long Sands.

“Some people think the rules don’t apply to them and the state isn’t going to enforce them anyhow. It makes all of us look bad.”

In fact, boaters were among those who reported a series of incidents to state officials that occurred over the long 4th of July weekend and resulted in the increased enforcement.

At the public access portion of the shoreline, a group of between 25-30 people pulled their boats onshore and unloaded a cooler of glass bottles. After being approached by a fellow boater, the group pulled their boats back into the water but defiantly kept their bottles onshore.

“What can you do after you’ve politely asked someone to comply and they won’t?” asked one boater who witnessed the encounter.

In another incident, boaters from five boats pulled onshore at an isolated western section of the preserve where they drank beer directly under a large ‘No Trespassing’ sign and were observed using the woods to relieve themselves.

Boaters who reported the second incident said they were reluctant to approach the group because of its size and because of the heavy drinking that was involved.

State officials said the boaters made the right decision, adding that the Carroll County Dispatch number should be used to report violations at the Natural Area just as it’s used to report accidents. County Dispatch will then notify the person or agency best able to respond based on who is on duty and where they are patrolling.

The number for Carroll County Dispatch is 800-552-8960.

Alliance director David Smith said incidents like the ones reported this summer were expected and in no way reflect on the success of the plan.

“A small group of people promised they would defy the state and they have. It’s not a surprise,” he said.

“The real story is that a majority of boaters are working to make Long Sands a model for how recreation and preservation can co-exist on a major state lake. The level of cooperation is pretty impressive.”

29 Comments

  1. joe 11 years ago August 6, 2010

    i wonder if marine patrol was busy pulling over families and checking for whistles and life jackets?

  2. lupa gunt 11 years ago August 6, 2010

    The first thing one notices when boaters are preparing to take their boats out is the large cooler. It is a sure bet that the cooler is packed with beer. Then there are those who ignore the NO WAKE signs. So why should these same boaters comply with the conservation/preservation/no trespassing signs?
    Citations should mandate a heavy fine/prison term. Unless you have connections like the lady who killed her friend in the boating accident/incident. She barely served a fraction of her jail sentence as her father owned a marina!!!
    Laws are made to be broken, agreed?

  3. Bob 11 years ago August 6, 2010

    the boaters are know starting to anchor in front of our homes at long sands… some have even tied up to our moorings.Everyone has a right to the lake but please respect our homes and property and anchor in the public area.I don’t know where these folks are relieving themselves but the idea of a few hundred people in the water all day gives me the idea its the lake. There are Ecological concerns as well…what will the effect be on the fresh water clams that purify the lake and keep it viable if so many people relieve themselves in the water.Living here for seven years I have seen the number of boaters increase along this shoreline and I have had to clean the trash at my dock that washes up.I believe there are a lot of people who love the beauty of this area and respect it but there are a certain number of people who will ruin it for all boaters.Perhaps access to this shoreline should be available to boaters who purchase a “Permit”, with a limited number of permits produced…this may help with the overcrowding issue.

  4. Spindle owner 11 years ago August 7, 2010

    As it goes with almost anything there are always a few people that will ruin it for others. There are many nice respectable home owners on the lake both local and from out of town but unfortunately alot of people rent their homes on the lake to vactioners who are here for a good time and some who may not respect the lake as we locals and owners do. I have to admit I am always glad to see the end of August come because the lake then belongs back to the people who live here. It is always nice .to see more ducks on the lake than boats!!! I have been on this lake for more than 18 years and have seen many changes. On the relieving issue of peeing in the water, I really don’t think that can be helped. It is not pleasant to think about but in all honestly almost everyone has pee’d in a lake!!! One place that does gross me out with the urine is the sand bar!!!!!!!!!!!!!! People, dogs, kids, there all day and many reports of human waste and trash washing into the shorline of Turtle Cove. The sand bar is a party place for the younger crowd and I thought they were trying to limit the # of boats that were allowed to anchor there a couple of years ago? I wish everyone would just be a little more aware of the beautiful surroundings of our Lake!! The marine patrol are doing a great job of getting people off the Long Sands beach. How you can pull up there with all those signs telling you to keep off is beyond me.

  5. Bob 11 years ago August 7, 2010

    I agree with spindle owner my favorite time is spring and fall .but on the pee issue there are ten times more people over at long sands than the sand bar and they are there every weekend maybe fifty to a hundred boats loaded with people i think it needs some control.

  6. freedom resident 11 years ago August 7, 2010

    The problem begins with the state of fees who would love to have a registered boat in every driveway. There are few if any bathrooms on the lake. Few know that there is a porta-potty on the Freedom beach but no dock to tie up to. I believe that the marina in the channel only allows customers to use theirs, and the Ossipee Lake Marina is too far from the big lake and congested. What most likely will happen here will be that the state will cave into public demand and cut down trees along Rt. 25, build a parking lot with restroom facilities. They did this on Squam lake some years ago. .Sad but true,

  7. willy 11 years ago August 7, 2010

    Maybe along with the manditory safety items a box of Depends should be added.

  8. Tom 11 years ago August 8, 2010

    When you people purchase the actual lake, you can tell people not to anchor in front of your homes. Until then, since you don’t want them at long sands or short sands, they will anchor anywhere they want! No matter what is done you will have something to complain about. It is a short two months of summer and I can’t wait for fall when the bickering goes away!!! If they were smart they would get a pontoon potty boat and solve the problem. There is no excuse for leaving trash behind but other than that the lake is for the greater public and therefore not any one group of people.

  9. Bob 11 years ago August 9, 2010

    why don’t you bring that gang to your house tom

  10. Jim T 11 years ago August 9, 2010

    I have been coming to the lake for 27 years and believe this whole thing conservation rouse is disgusting. The comments on this page prove it. It has nothing to do with conserving plants and everything to do with wanting the lake to yourself.

    You have tried every angle possible to keep people off the the sand bar & Long Sands; the pee in the lake just proves how ignorant you really are. Ossipee is an alpine lake that is constantly flushed by many rivers and steams. Not to mention, where do you think your pee goes when flushed in most lake front homes? How many have pump out tanks vs. septic systems?

    I am not OK with anyone leaving garbage anywhere on the lake or its beaches but also don’t see this a major problem. Additionally, some garbage that ends up on the lake is quite innocent as a bag or can may fall in the water due to wind or a rocking boat when no one is looking.

    People looking for daytime silence on the lake should avoid weekends or move to a reservoir / non-motorized lake. The bottom line is that we need to share the lake in a respectful manner and inventing environmental protection areas keeps no one away while creating animosity. A few more misguided rules and we will have to add an asterisk to ‘Live Free or Die’*.

  11. Chris 11 years ago August 9, 2010

    It is time to implement a daily user fee ($10.00) for non-property owners who use the lake. Property owners on the lake already pay substantial taxes and we suffer the consequences of negligent and improper use of the lake. All of us enjoy the lake, lets make all of us share in the costs of maintaining that enjoyment

  12. Jim T 11 years ago August 9, 2010

    What are the costs of maintaining the lake and how much if any of property taxes go towards this so called maintenance? I am sure the boat registrations more than cover the cost to set up the signs and markers.

    Please be more honest and say what you really think, ‘You own the lake and don’t want others using it.’ I am not one to think the lake should be overcrowded with people on top of people. I agree with the laws limiting forest depletion in lake front construction and limits on the number of moorings/docks per lot. But, I hope your fence at Long Sands gets ripped down again and again. It’s disgusting how snotty you are about the presence of one public beach on the lake.

  13. Chris 11 years ago August 9, 2010

    Whoa! Jim, take a chill pill here. I am not saying I or any property owner should control the lake and I am happy to have others enjoy it. In fact the state owns the lake – but if we all don’t start taking care of it, we will all suffer. The lake is currently having major issues with the invasive plant species which if we don’t limit or at least contain, none of this will matter. The lake will slowly die. I am suggesting that it is time for all of us to share the costs of using the lake. I think it is great there is a public beach and good access for all to ski, cruise, swim or just view the lake and the surroundings. And I don’t live at Long Sands.

  14. Wendy F. 11 years ago August 9, 2010

    A lot of these heavy drinkers and nasty people come down every weekend from Westward Shores. That place has really turned into a pit the last few years, reminds us a lot of Shawtown before that campground was finally put out of its misery!

  15. Tom 11 years ago August 9, 2010

    Wow that’s funny Wendy because the same people who organized help to clean things up at long sands are from Shawtown and now Danforth Bay. They really must be scumbags to want to keep it clean. You shouldn’t generalize about people you know nothing about. This is about the use of public water that landowners pay for in taxes and boaters pay for in fees. Yes they do already pay that fee someone suggested. Now if the people who polluted the area with trash were fined and it went to maintenance and not the general fund you may have something. Maybe community service too. It is no different than on land, some people litter and some people don’t. I see trash all over the lake road and have seen cars with NH plates doing some of the littering and going too fast to get license plates.

  16. Wendy F. 11 years ago August 9, 2010

    Sorry Tom. I know all about Shawtown. When Shawtown closed virtually all the families were not let back in by the new owners. So where did those unsavory characters end up? Yep. over at Westward Shores…who would take in anyone with cash.

    Next time you see a group of drunken fools dragging booze up on the beach or relieving themselves in the woods, take note of the boat they are on. Later on go check out the so called “marina” at Westward Shores.

    Then I’ll accept your apology!

  17. mike 11 years ago August 9, 2010

    hay wendy not all of us from westward shores are scumbags why not take a ride to westword shores and look around dont throw stones you cant carry

  18. Wendy F. 11 years ago August 9, 2010

    Yes Mike you are correct, there are many nice families in the ‘Shores. I have friends there and visit several times a year. But there are a bunch of low life drunks, mainly up on the M & N & O roads that make the whole place stink. But as long as they pump the cash to Charlie they’ve found a home on the Lake. Once again I will ask everyone to note the boats causing problems and then check out the Marina. Unfortunately I am sad to say I know what I’m talking about here….

  19. mike 11 years ago August 9, 2010

    sure hope you pay your guest fee and this has nothing to do with charlie lets keep this about long sands i have been out on the lake for manny years watch who you blame i see alot of faces from town outon the sands

  20. Wendy F. 11 years ago August 10, 2010

    No Mike, never have paid a guest fee. Never would for that place! Just hope you are as nice as you seem and not one of the too many problem campers!

  21. Jim T 11 years ago August 10, 2010

    Although, I agree with efforts to stop the Milfoil, do you not see the hypocrisy in killing one type of plant because it is ‘invasive’ while keeping people off a beach in the name of conservation?

  22. Rick 11 years ago August 10, 2010

    Geez I guess nothing every really changes. The “I’ve got mine” crowd is always going to try to protect what they have by doing their level best to keep everyone else out. Leaving that aside, the answer here is clearly in enforcement of existing laws.

    If the marine patrol spent less time harassing boaters for insignificant infractions of the rules and spent their time going after the real law breakers including the boozers, litter bugs, speeders and cowboys, there would be no issue here at all.

    Wait I amend that, there will always be an issue for those who feel entitled to theirs and duty bound to keep everyone else out. For the rest of us though this would be a done deal.

  23. Wendy F. 11 years ago August 10, 2010

    Rick you are exactly correct. And that brings me back to Westward Shores. Those couple of Baja Outlaws that have been terrifying everyone on the Lake the last few years? Yep, Westward Shores. And where do you think those jet skis racing about at 1 or 2 in the morning are coming from? And even in the winter can you catch a break? Nope, some of the worst and frequent snowmobile accidents are brought to you by what campground? Bet ya can’t even guess! Fish & Game, Marine Patrol and the local cops need to keep a much tighter reign on that place!

  24. Rick 11 years ago August 10, 2010

    Wendy I’m not sure why you keep hammering away at everyone and anyone who live or vacation at Westward Shores. Bashing people simply because of where they either live or vacation is simply wrong. I’m sure you are better than that.

    There are plenty of New Hampshire residents who don’t live or vacation at that location who break the law routinely. There are two in-state residents who live right on the lake very near me who routinely speed through no wake zones, cut off other boats, run too fast too close to shore, etc.. They just know when to do it, when Marine Patrol isn’t on the lake.

    This isn’t (or shouldn’t be) about where someone comes from. This is (or should be) about enforcing laws uniformly against anyone who breaks them, and I’m not talking about pulling over attractive blondes to check for whistles, I’m talking about pulling over and citing the rule breakers, regardless of where they either live or vacation. But that’s not everyone’s agenda, and by the way you are talking it isn’t yours either.

    The “I’ve got mine” crowd (and I am not lumping you in with that group) will always find some reasons to object to others who want to enjoy what they (wrongly) feel is theirs alone. The rest of us just want rules enforced so that we can enjoy the lake and have it preserved and protected at the same time.

  25. Willy 11 years ago August 10, 2010

    Looks to me like the same like the same old bullshot. Everybody trying to blame the guy next door,and a lack of support from law enforcement,if the real offenders were brought to task for their offense there would be no more name calling and finger pointing. How bout if we put pressure on the dept thats responsable for enforsement to do a better job or stop taking a paycheck and get out of the way.

  26. Wendy F. 11 years ago August 10, 2010

    Gee, grand thinking there Willy boy. Let’s see if I got your reckoning right: We gots one Marine Patrol officer, who works part-time…and hundreds or more boats out there on da weekend across miles & miles of lake. And its his fault that grownups don’t act like grownups. Yep, lets blame our conduct on the government!

    You must be one of those darn out-of-staters still sportin’ an Obama Hope bumper sticker on the back of your leased Volvo!

    God help us….

  27. freedom resident 11 years ago August 11, 2010

    Now Obama is involved? Absolutely has to be his fault. You lost your credibility on that one Wendy.

  28. Tom 11 years ago August 11, 2010

    Three more weeks, thank christ!!

  29. Chris 11 years ago August 11, 2010

    Bravo, Rick – well stated!