No on Berlin Pond access
I’d like to urge Berlin residents to vote NO on the ballot issue regarding opening Berlin’s shoreline parcel on Berlin pond for development of a fishing access.
When I came to live in a house overlooking Berlin Pond over 30 years ago, I chafed against Montpelier’s ordinances forbidding the use of it. But as the years went by, I began to appreciate the unique charm of a truly wild lake, available to me and my neighbors, and also to hundreds of walkers, runners, bicyclists and birders.
That a wild untouched lake lay so close to civilization and the interstate made it even more of a jewel. The complete wildness of Berlin Pond was truly a phenomenon, unique in Vermont and rare in the rest of the U.S. When the Supreme Court decision changed all that, I was surprised at the depth of my sorrow. I admit that since the Supreme Court decision in May opened the pond’s waters, the sky has not fallen.
The small amount of trash left at the celebrated culvert access on Mirror Lake is quickly cleaned up, usually by the “selfish, elite residents” of the pond. We continue to hear loons and see waterfowl and other wildlife. Use of the pond has been light, as many are deterred by the lousy access at the culvert — steep, rocky and increasingly eroded.
Officials at VT Fish and Wildlife would like to build a safe, attractive access area on Berlin’s sliver of land. But remember that their job is to advocate for the rights of fishermen and hunters, not for lovers of pure wilderness. They are good at their job and Vermont fishermen can choose among over 800 ponds, lakes, and streams. Those of us who enjoy peacefully contemplating an untouched body of water are out of luck.
If Berlin residents allow a fishing access to be built on its shoreline property, the boating use of the pond will increase exponentially. It would still be a pretty pond — but it would no longer be wild. And that would be very sad for those who value true wilderness.
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