Freedom—July 11, 2019—Three salaried Lake Hosts are in place this year to keep invasive weeds from entering or leaving Ossipee Lake. A search for candidates that began in April yielded nine applicants, from which the final three were chosen by members of the Tri-Town Lake Host Program, which oversees the effort.
Lizzy Philbrook of Sanbornville is returning to the program from last year, and will primarily cover the state boat ramp on Route 25. Ossipee’s Julie Lepkowicz will be based at the Ossipee Lake Marina ramp, and Joseph Wittrock of Freedom will be filling in as needed starting in a couple of weeks.
Coverage, which began during the Memorial Day weekend and has fully ramped up since then, will continue through Labor Day, according to Ned Kucera of Freedom, one of the program’s volunteer coordinators. Lake Hosts will be at the ramps Fridays through Mondays from 9-3.
While the paid positions have been filled, unpaid Lake Host positions are still available for people who want to accrue volunteer community service hours in the context of a limited work schedule, such as college applicants and retirees. Unpaid Lake Hosts will receive online training as well as on-site training by Tri-Town volunteers.
The Lake Host program is funded by a grant to NH Lakes by the state’s Department of Environmental Services, with supplemental funding provided by lake communities and businesses. The program covers approximately 100 boat ramps on 87 milfoil-infested state lakes.
Hosts greet boaters entering and leaving lakes and conduct a complimentary boat inspection. The inspections serve as a reminder that removing and disposing fragments of plants, animals, and debris on boats, trailers, and recreational gear before leaving a boat launch is required by state law.
According to NH Lakes, there have been more than 1 million inspections conducted since the program began, and almost 1,600 “saves,” which are instances when an invasive has been prevented from entering a lake.
Locally, Ossipee Lake Alliance pioneered the program with Green Mountain Conservation Group and the Ossipee Conservation Commission in 2002. After changing hands a number of times, the program came under the auspices of the Tri-Town group last year. The representatives of the three towns are Jim Fitzpatrick of Ossipee, Emelyn Albert of Effingham, and Jim McElroy of Freedom.
Anyone interested in applying for one of the remaining unpaid Lake Host positions should contact Ned Kucera at email@example.com. Even a few hours of volunteer work each week will help the effort, Kucera said.