The following letter was sent to the Carroll County Independent and Conway Daily Sun, with a copy to the Ossipee Select Board.
To the Editor:
We attended the Ossipee Select Board’s forum on the proposal to purchase Camp Sokokis to learn how the board hopes to transform the private campground into a town-owned, town-managed recreation area. We liked what we heard.
If voters approve the purchase, the town will close the business and remove the campsites on the lakefront side of Hodsdon Shore Road. To meet a provision of the purchase agreement, the displaced campers will be permitted to relocate elsewhere on the property for up to two years while they look for a new summer home.
There will not be a boat ramp, and the current moorings will be removed. The property’s existing bathrooms will be maintained by the Highway Department, and car access will be limited to Gretchen Road for safety reasons. In addition to summer activities, the site will accommodate winter access for ice fishing and snowmobiling.
Much of the concern about the plan has centered on economics—not just the purchase price, but also the cost of operations and the impact on taxes. These are important considerations, and the board discussed them at the forum. It’s up to Ossipee voters to consider the financial aspects of the plan.
But as regards environmental impact, we think the town’s plan is a good one. Use of the property as a town recreation area has the potential to be less impactful than its continued use as a commercial campground. (Others are said to be eyeing the site for that purpose if the sale falls through). Moreover, the property’s extensive wetlands will accrue to the Conservation Commission under town ownership. These positive outcomes have earned our support.
Ossipee has been looking for a suitable site for a town beach on its namesake lake for many years. If voters believe the purchase of Camp Sokokis is a good financial investment for the future, this could be the right place at the right time.
Board of Directors
Ossipee Lake Alliance
I am not quite sure the statement about being less impactful environmentally as a town beach vs a campground is accurate.
Sokokis campers took pride in keeping the grounds clean and I am sure most of the local residence would do the same.
However as a town beach this opens up access to the few that may misuse the facility environmentally.
Questions still remain unanswered by the town concerning how frequently the beach area will be patrolled and maintained.
A definitive answer would hopefully assure residence that if they were to opt to spend 1.2 million then the property would be developed and maintained to a high standard, A standard far better than what history has shown us at Duncan Lake.
If not then leave it to the campers.
I agree with Mr. Knowlton….
A few comments:
The Alliance has no business making any recommendation,without an impact study.
I was also at that meeting….People heard only positive statements from selectmen… when anything negative was stated it was quickly addressed in an defensive manner..
I firmly believe the town should have a town beach…..However….very concerned about maintenance and costs considering the past track record.
I still vote for the free property that was offered….
If you read all the previous things the alliance has said it sounded like they were against this. Now all of a sudden they want beach…… also the comment people interested in buying the camp the only people I have heard were the campers themselves. There are two many ?un answered From the selectman.the other ones don’t say a word. I want a beach also but i think it’s unfair to up root the campers that have made it there home for years for the unknown….. this whole thing just seems not right on all ends.
I agree with the opinion of the Alliances Board of Directors letter to the editor. The process of getting the property will take time, but I feel the outcome will be worthwhile. This purchase will benefit the town now and for future generations.
I agree with the Ossipee Lake board of directors and the selectmen. This is the best plan we can get for a town beach.
Having attended the meeting about the beach I heard that there are environmental issues with erosion at Duncan lake beach. Since it was not even open this summer it seems to me the town should consider selling it and the sale could partially offset the cost of their new town beach.