Outdoor Center News
DEC Lake Meeting
Last Updated: 20.Jan.2017
Saturday, January 21, 10:00am – tomorrow - the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will be holding a public meeting in the Craftsbury Academy Gym. This past summer there were safety violations - specifically high-speed boats traveling too close to human-powered boats. These violations, taken in the context of ever-growing lake use by boats of all kinds, have raised concern at the State level, and they are considering establishing new rules for the lake. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is spearheading that process, and is gathering input from stakeholders about whether and how rule-making can reduce conflicts among users of Great Hosmer Pond.
The Outdoor Center’s hope is to continue to offer programming of all kinds on Big Hosmer, as we have for over 40 years. The Center sees the lake as a valuable public resource that should be shared and enjoyed as widely as possible for the greater community’s benefit, while preserving the lake into the future and making sure that everyone has access. This fits our mission well - and we support many people’s access, through our sculling camps, our Community Rowing program, our GRP team and our waterfront canoes, kayaks and SUPs.
Over the past 8 years, we've voluntarily reduced our sculling programming, both in terms of number of camp sessions, scheduling holiday weekends free of sculling camps, as well as banning sculling from our docks for portions of the day. Beyond the impact on users' access, our cuts have had a negative impact on the local economy — through fewer jobs, fewer hours worked, decreased Center purchasing from Vermont vendors, as well as visitor purchases made in town and around the area. Cuts also impact our ability to offer other programs that are not as self-sustaining as the sculling camps are; things like school programming, junior programming, community fitness, and affordable memberships or trail passes.
If you're a lake user, are interested in advocating for ongoing use of the lake, or enjoy other facets of Center programming that sculling revenue facilitates, we invite you to join in the process this Saturday. You can read more about the challenges on Big Hosmer Pond in this story last June from Seven Days. Here’s a link if you missed it, and you can read more about the process from the DEC here.