My Turn: Sunapee boat ramp plan violates state law
On June 28, the New Hampshire Supreme Court announced two decisions related to the Fish and Game Department’s proposed boat ramp and parking lot on the Lake Sunapee property known as Wild Goose. The court remanded the Wild Goose project back to the superior court for a determination as to whether the state proposal complies with its obligations under the Land Conservation Investment Program statute.
Under LCIP, the state is required to manage the property “so as to preserve the natural beauty, landscape, rural character, natural resources and high quality of life in New Hampshire.”
We are confident that this project, which would destroy 2 of 3 acres on the shoreline to build a parking lot, does not “preserve” the property as required by law.
This property was acquired by LCIP with the support of the Lake Sunapee Protective Association and town officials, based on statements by state officials that “no use of paving” would be required.
We are confident that the property will remain protected under the standard in the court’s opinion.
Nothing about this project has changed, and there is no reasonable argument to support the state’s position that a 2-acre parking lot on 3 acres of conservation land on the shore of Lake Sunapee meets its obligations to preserve the land under the law. The superior court has reviewed this project twice, and on both occasions it has ruled that the project violates the law.
In the second opinion, the Supreme Court upheld the shoreland construction permit issued by the Department of Environmental Services. However, the court declined to rule on the land conservation issues, which were remanded back to superior court.
The Lake Sunapee Protective Association supports public access to Lake Sunapee and spends thousands of dollars and volunteer hours each year to support access and ensure that harmful exotic plant and animal species are not introduced, which harms the lake, public swimming and water quality.
(June Fichter lives in Sunapee.)