Massachusetts Couple Seeks Approval for Loon Island Docks

Ossipee—February 18, 2024—A Massachusetts couple has applied to the Department of Environmental Services for approval to install five docks on Leavitt Bay’s Loon Island.

A Standard DES Dredge and Fill Wetlands Permit Application was filed this month by Deborah and Kevin Randall, according to information obtained from DES. The state agency’s One-Stop database classifies the application as a Major Impact Project.

Ossipee’s Planning Board is scheduled to review the application on Tuesday, February 20, at 7 p.m. at its regular public meeting, according to the board’s posted agenda.

The island was purchased in 1994 and is in the name of Deborah Randall, with a home address of Woburn, Mass., according to Ossipee Tax records. She and her husband also own a home at 50 Leavitt Road on Leavitt Bay.

The couple wants to install five docks, each 6 feet by 40 feet, on the south side of the island. The docks would be built with pressure treated lumber and posts, with feet secured in the water. They would be seasonal and removed at the end of each summer, per information provided to the town.

The application does not state a proposed use for the five docks, but in a phone call with Ossipee Lake Alliance, Kevin Randall said they would be used to provide “island access for friends and family.”

Randall said he might consider renting the docks at some point in the future, but has no immediate plan to apply for approval to do so. He said he has spoken with local officials, including Ossipee Select Board Chair and State Representative Jonathan Smith, about potential future uses if the docks are approved.

Tiny (0.91-acre) Loon Island is a documented loon nesting site in Leavitt Bay. Photo: John Rowe Photos

Limited Information
A local conservationist and a former town official reviewed the application materials at Ossipee Lake Alliance’s request and said much of the required information appears to be missing, including the “scope of the work to be performed” and whether the impacts are “temporary or permanent.”

A hand-written note in Section 7 states “Docks in accordance with applicable rules” in response to a question asking for a written description of how source-specific criteria have been met for each of DES’s regulations Env-Wt 400, Env-Wt 500, Env-Wt 600, Env-Wt 700 or Env-Wt 900.

Env-Wt 500, for example, has specific requirements for docking structures and requires details about shoreline frontage, high-water, the shape of shoreline and the like, none of which are in the submission, per the review.

DES denied a January 2021 application by the couple for a permit exemption to install a single dock, 4-feet by 40-feet on the island. The installation would have required modifying, regrading and recontouring the shoreline, which disqualified it from a permit exemption, per DES’s letter of decision.

Loon Nesting Site
Loon Island is a loon nesting site, according to the Loon Preservation Committee in Moultonborough.

The last known successful loon nest on the island was in 2010. There were two failed nests in 2011, one failed nest in 2013 and another failed nest in 2021. The successful nest was on the north side of the island, and the most recent failed nest was on the south.

Property owner Randall said he proposed locating the five docks on the south side of the 0.91-acre island to avoid interfering with nesting loons on the north side, and because the docks might interfere with boat traffic there.

He said he has always cooperated with loon officials and volunteers in their efforts to protect nests.


  1. Tim Otterbach 2 months ago February 18, 2024

    The placement of the proposed docks has the potential of providing docking space for at least 20 boats along with the current practice of beaching boats on the shoreline.
    This creates three concerns:
    1. it will place extreme pressures on the adjacent Loon Nesting Site, one which already has pressures on it from numerous boats docked or beached on the lake shore and the boating traffic and wakes they generate, as well as the noise;
    2. the amount of human biowaste from the increased number of people frequenting the island’s shoreline, both moored and beached as is the current practice, creating a serious health concern, for both the people enjoying the area of Leavitt Bay, but also the wildlife present in the vicinity of island;
    3. The erosion and beach disturbance from both the initial installation of these docks, as well as the future continued annual placement and removal of them.

    It has been suggested to me that the Randall Family consider establishing a wildlife sanctuary on the island creating a human free zone for the aquatic wildlife which is present in the vicinity of the island, providing the greater potential for the Loon Nesting success, and give indigenous species additional habitat which we all know is under increased human activity intervention every year. Additionally, this could provide the owners with a reduced tax liability with the island placed in current use, with
    no possibility for future shoreline or island use and development. As we are all acutely aware, in the past
    few years, boating activity on the Lake and Bsys has increased substantially which has had a significant and negative impact on the health of our waters, along with its resident animal populations and its shoreline.

  2. Vance P. Bealiu 2 months ago February 18, 2024

    I believe your three concerns are a moot point, whereas people rafting already use the island. The erosion of six docks coming in and out of the water twice a year is much less disturbing than hundreds of boats beaching themselves yearly. The current owners clearly have the frontage to obtain these permits so If your objection is simply “you don’t want it” I don’t believe that is for you to decide.

  3. Justin M 2 months ago February 18, 2024

    Having recently visit Ossipee Lake this seems like a horrible idea. There is already a lot of development. How much is too much? This much.

  4. Steve 2 months ago February 18, 2024

    Will they be able to sell gasoline? That would be so cool, Man. 🙄

    Just being facetious. If this proposal meets all safety, environmental and building codes, it’s fine. Sure, nobody wants to see more construction into the lake but hey, that’s the way it goes.

  5. Chris 2 months ago February 19, 2024

    Just keep MASSING it up. Pollute and destroy seems to be the way of Ossipee Lake residents now. Very sad situation from shore to shore.

  6. Katy M 2 months ago February 19, 2024

    The lake water is polluted enough; we don’t need another “sandbar” party area. It’s not only the erosion to the island, it would be the erosion caused by the wake of the extra boats to the surrounding private beaches. Also how are those that would use the docks be transported out there and where do they think they will park their vehicles? Leavitt Road is already crowded enough. I hope DES denies again.

  7. Mike 2 months ago February 19, 2024

    Any relation to the Randall (formerly of 32 Leavitt Road) who, without permit, used a bulldozer to dredge all of Phillips Brook up to his property in the 1980s?

  8. CBE 2 months ago February 19, 2024

    Not sure we need to know that it is a “Massachusetts Couple”, what difference does it make? I would be against any couple proposing this.

  9. Chris 2 months ago February 19, 2024

    Because any native NH resident around this lake would respect the natural environment of the lake. It’s like a bad renter with some of these evasive species of humans coming up here now! No respect for our state or eco system. Just trash it and leave it! NH is just becoming a place to come party it up for these sorts. I live very close to the water…..I personally didn’t even hear a loon call all last summer! They’ve moved into Danforth Bay to try and escape the human loons!

  10. Chris 2 months ago February 19, 2024


  11. Rattlesnake 2 months ago February 19, 2024

    Is it common practice to discuss planning board issues with a member of town government outside of a public meeting?

  12. tj236 2 months ago February 19, 2024

    This is a tough situation to comment on. It would be easy to say no docks allowed on the island especially if one lived in the area. But as a proponent of “live and let live” that would be hypocritical. The owners of the property should be able to use their land as they wish as long as there is legal compliance.
    However, this will change the no wake distances from the island and reduce an already confined boating area and in my opinion elevating safety risks. Additionally, I would expect that the owners would eventually want to rent the docks. I am concerned about the additional trash and damage caused by an increase of visitors to the lake. I always been concerned about increased public access ever since the state decided to build public boat launches and astronomically escalate the number of boats on the lake. The lake is just not as pristine as it used to be…I know, I’ve been here since the late 70’s.
    If a permit is granted it should come with stipulations that, at a minimum, limit/regulate the number of people and boats, and that the property owners are responsible for any trash and damage.

  13. Bill 2 months ago February 19, 2024

    It is indeed a tough situation. The problem would be enforcing any restrictions. Marine Patrol does not go on land and Ossipee law enforcement does not have any boats at this time that I know of. You have been on the lake 12 years longer than me so you have indeed seen the beauty of the bays go down hill! (Maybe I should have said down river)

  14. Marinda 2 months ago February 20, 2024

    In Sweden (I know, the free staters love that preface … but I held my nose and voted for Trump twice, so hear me out), they don’t allow private ownership of lakes smaller than 2 square miles, leaving their fragile, marginalized lakes in pristine condition and for the enjoyment of all. Leavitt Bay, while not technically a lake, would qualify for that criteria. In the US, and NH especially, we have no such laws and anemic lake planning. We have abused our most beautiful natural resource – the lakes – to the point that they are merely parking lots of pontoon boats, docks, and floats. Have you ever seen a lake successfully be reclaimed after it’s ruined? I would encourage people on all the Ossipee lakes to do their own part and take out your floats and docks this summer and let the lake breath and recover. As for the convoluted plan to build docks on poor Loon Island … just sad, very sad.

  15. Concerned Leavitt Bay Resident 2 months ago February 20, 2024

    I agree with Mr.Otterback & all the other folks who have expressed opposition to the proposed placement of 5 docks on the little, tiny, Loon Nesting Island on Leavitt Bay. I’ve been coming to Lake O since the 1990’s & have been a resident on Leavitt Bay for over 25 yrs. I have witnessed the explosion of boating traffic with subsequent constant & continuous damage & erosion to our shoreline due to the immense wave action. These proposed boat docks could accommodate up to 20 boats, each boat having at least 2 people, if not more, plus food & drinks. Where are these people going to relieve themselves? How will all the garbage be disposed? This area sadly will turn into another “sandbar” disaster not to mention the already overwhelming boating activity with enormous wakes creating further erosion of the shoreline.
    The only good thing may be that it would help keep the geese away! It’s bad enough however picking up goose poo, but human waste & indiscriminate disposal of garbage is unthinkable.
    And where are folks going to park their vehicles, how are they going to access their boats?
    This little, tiny, natural Loon Nesting island should be left intact to be viewed, appreciated & respected for its natural beauty making Leavitt Bay the unique, pristine body of water that it once was & could be again.

  16. Keith 2 months ago February 20, 2024

    Have lived both part time and now full time on Leavitt Bay since 1958. The “Island” on Leavitt has had a colorful history. Remember seeing an inboard park vertically up a tree one time. But ultimately it is private property owned by the Randall’s who to the best of my knowledge are Ossipee voters. As a long time resident I have worked with the NHDES on multiple properties. To the best of my knowledge of the current regulations, the Randalls can put 20-30 seasonal docks on the Island since they do not have abutters. There has been a constant problem with keeping the island clean since strangers do not understand it is private property. The Randalls have to deal with stangers using their island. By putting structures on the island the hope is strangers will get the message. I think this will work and reduce or eliminate the unlawful use of the island by strangers.

  17. Tom 2 months ago February 21, 2024

    My wife and I have been coming up to Lake Ossipee for over 40 years visiting various friends and family.
    Development throughout the lake has been non-stop w/Leavitt bay being no different.
    One of our good friends that we have visited on a regular basis have been the Randall’s. I am well aware of the history of the Island, which is why I am commenting.
    I know they have worked with the Loon Preservation Committee over the years for nesting concerns. They tried to be a good steward of the Island since they purchased it. I have not had a year where I did not encounter Loons while kayaking around Leavitt bay.
    They have allowed many friends around the bay to utilize it for 4th of July celebrations, the popular annual Island party and any other reasonable requests.
    However, no matter how hard they have tried to keep folks off the Island; it’s been a constant traffic stop for boats, kids, dogs, etc.
    I’ve actually witness individuals give the Randall’s are hard time when they have asked folks to leave. And I’ve also helped clean up the many messes that uninvited guests have left behind.
    Unless they have been given some type of tax break over the years, they should be able to enjoy their private property as allowed under NH state laws.

    Let the process play out.

    A couple of positive comments above.
    Tim Otterbach. (Do not build.)
    – Work with the Randall’s about conservation/tax opportunities…
    Keith – (If allowed)
    I think this will work and reduce or eliminate the unlawful use of the island by strangers.


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