By Ray Carbone
CONCORD – State officials met with members of the public last week to hear their concerns about the recommendations of the Lake Sunapee Boat Access Development Commission announced earlier this year.
The commission’s final report suggests that the state abandon its long-delayed plan to create a state-owned and operated deep-water lake access facility at the former Wild Goose campground in Newbury, and look for alternative sites. It also recommends that parking at the Lake Sunapee State Beach be increased to allow for more use of the smaller, shallower launch there.
‘The issue is not public access. The issue is (the need for) increased parking.’
– June Fichter of the Lake Sunapee Protective Association
Last week’s hearing, held in Department of Revenue Administration building on Pleasant Street, was held before the Council on Resources and Development (CORD, part of the planning division of the state’s Office of Strategic Initiatives). CORD consists of 12 department heads who are charged with facilitating interagency communications and cooperation relating to environmental, natural resources and growth management issues. The commission’s report involves the fish and game department, which currently has jurisdiction over Wild Goose land, as well as the state’s division of parks that would take over the property and develop it for other recreational purposes.
About 20 people spoke to the council, and the arguments were familiar.
Opponents of the commission’s recommendations said that Wild Goose is the only viable site for a deep-water boat launch on the lake. Supporters point to serious traffic problems that would develop in Newbury.
June Fichter, the executive director of the Lake Sunapee Protective Association, said her organization supports the commission’s recommendations because it puts the focus in the right place. “The issue is not public access,” she said, adding that boat traffic on Sunapee has increased about 270-percent over the last 16 years. “The issue is (the need for) increased parking.”
Gene Porter, a member of the state’s public water access advisory board and a representative of the state motorized boating population, said the commission’s report was “weakly reasoned.”
“These boaters, fishermen and water skiers want first-class access to Sunapee just as they have on Winnipesaukee and Squam,” he said.
CORD will hold its next meeting on September 13 when it will begins considering whether or not to accept the access commission’s recommendations.
This story first appeared in the InterTown Record weekly newspaper, published in North Sutton, New Hampshire, on Tuesday, July 17, 2018.