Ossipee—May 24, 2021—A group of volunteers on Saturday cleaned up the state-owned Ossipee Lake Natural Area in anticipation of the start of the boating season on Memorial Day weekend.
The litter and debris collected filled two pontoon boats, said Dennis Gould on Sunday.
The clean-up also marks the start of an educational outreach program about acceptable behavior at the Ossipee Lake Natural Area. The public can access a 1,000-foot long beach by boat, but the rest of the 400-acre property is closed to protect rare plants and wildlife habitat.
As popular as the beach is, a 4,000-foot long stretch of shoreline may be more popular because of the shallow water that makes it a great place for boats to tie-up and “raft.” Gould said that area, as well as all of Ossipee Lake, saw heavy usage in 2020.
He and other fellow boaters, the state and the Ossipee Lake Alliance and Green Mountain Conservation Group are working to “increase awareness of the regulations that balance recreation and preservation” at the natural area.
Starting Memorial Day weekend, a brochure will be made available to visitors that will include a map showing the open and closed sections of the property, and it lists the state’s regulations.
Gould, who has been coming up to Ossipee Lake for almost 40 years, was a member of the state committee that in 2010 developed a mixed-use plan for the area.
Three years earlier, the state closed the area and threatened to keep it closed, said the Ossipee Lake Alliance and Green Mountain Conservation Group in a press release, “after years of uncontrolled recreation had turned it into a public nuisance. Rare plants were severely damaged, and the shoreline was ‘a minefield with used toilet paper,’ as one local official memorably described it.”
Gould said it wasn’t like that last year, but it was very busy and likely filled with many visitors who weren’t aware of how special a place it is, and why.
“We love our lake,” said Gould. “It’s great water, we’ve got good feed from the rivers and the water is very good. It’s great fishing, a great place to ski and raft and we have great views” of the surrounding mountains.
Education is key. We live in the area and have rented Pontoon boats on the lake when family visits. We were not aware of the special significance of this stretch of land. Perhaps asking the boat rental places to hand out a brochure would be helpful.