Fish & Game panel: Sununu killing Lake Sunapee boat launch ‘should be a crime’

Monitor staff
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The state’s Fish and Game Commission says “a few wealthy individuals” led Gov. Chris Sununu to squelch plans to develop a public boat launch on Lake Sunapee, an action that the commission says “should be a crime.”

“We feel the delay is due to a few wealthy individuals who have ownership on the shores of Sunapee and want to keep our sixth largest lake as their own private domain,” said the letter, signed by Theodore Tichy, chairman of the New Hampshire Fish & Game Commission. The letter was unanimously approved by the commission Aug. 9.

“Countless hours and over $400,000 of the public’s money has been spent on studies, engineering and permitting to date. To throw this away because of the selfish feelings of a few individuals should be a crime,” the letter says.

The letter, dated Aug. 17 and released Tuesday, is the latest salvo in a decades-long fight over whether a 3-acre parcel, called Wild Goose after the name of the motel that once stood there, can be turned into free public access along Lake Sunapee.

The issue has gone before the state Supreme Court twice. Both times the state has won lawsuits brought by abutters seeking to block the plan.

The site is just north of Newbury on the southern end of the lake.

Last month, Sununu said he would remove the plan’s wetlands permit extension from the Executive Council’s agenda, effectively halting the proposal.

“This project has been debated for the last 20 years and it is time to put an end to this flawed plan,” Sununu said at the time. 

In response to Fish and Game’s letter, his office reiterated the governor’s position Tuesday with this statement: “The Wild Goose Site on Lake Sunapee had as much chance at success as the Spruce Goose. People have debated this flawed plan for over twenty years. Governor Sununu is determined to bring forward a feasible proposal that won’t stall for another twenty years, and will actually allow Granite Staters greater access to Lake Sunapee.”

The Fish and Game letter argues that Wild Goose is the best solution.

“Exhaustive studies have been conducted, public hearings have been held and attended by hundreds of residents, and signed petitions have been submitted by thousands, all in support of the Wild Goose site. It not only is the best site, it is the ONLY site that will meet the criteria as supported by the environmental assessment,” the letter says.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)