With hope dimming for a proposed boat ramp site on North Pond, Woodstock selectmen and people interested in pond access met Tuesday to discuss other options.

The current access, right off Route 26 in Woodstock, will be closed by the Maine Department of Transportation because it is considered too dangerous.

Several people who attended Tuesday’s meeting agreed with that assessment.

Summer residents Dan and Mary Stearns were among them. “It’s pretty dangerous putting a boat in,” said Dan Stearns. He said he usually does it early in the morning or later at night, when there is less road traffic.

Ron Fournier, director of the 4-H Camp in Bryant Pond, said he brings kids out on the lake often, and in using the access with them, “your heart is pounding trying to get the kids off the road quickly.”

He also said someone needs to stand across the street from the access point to watch for traffic while another person puts a boat in.

And, he said, when his camp brings Telstar High School students by bus to do educational programs on the pond in the winter, there is no place to park. “The bus must stop in the middle of the road, and the kids are diving over the snowbank to get to the ice quickly,” he said.

Woodstock officials thought last month that they might have found a solution in the purchase of property adjacent to the current site, with the idea of accessing it from nearby Rocky Road. But, said Town Manager Vern Maxfield, further study has shown that would probably not work, and in addition, neighboring property owners do not like the idea.

“It’s probably not going to happen,” he said.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry had said it would provide a significant amount of funding to help purchase a property for access. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will not stock ponds with fish if they do not have public access.

Fournier, who is also a guide, said stocking has an economic effect, bringing people and business to the area. He said he brings families to North Pond to ice fish about 15 times a season.

Jane Chandler of the Woodstock Conservation Commission said that group has been looking at other options. She mentioned one brought up in the past – taking out Johnny’s Bridge in Greenwood and putting access there. But, she said, “there’s absolutely no parking.”

Greenwood also borders on North Pond, and it is anticipated the town would share in costs for a new boat access.

Selectman Steve Bies wondered about raising or removing the bridge to allow larger boats to pass, and then have them use the current access on nearby Round Pond to get onto North Pond.

Said Fournier, “That fixes some problems, but not all.”

He said the circuitous route from Round Pond is very shallow and filled with stumps. It would also add a total of about an hour travel time for non-motorized boats to get to and from North Pond, and many such boaters want a more direct access, he said. Fournier also noted that an L.L. Bean program brings paddleboarders to the pond.

He also said that access is not a good option in the winter.

Chandler said the Conservation Commission has not yet found any suitable alternatives. But, she said, the group could do more research and possibly come back to selectmen with some specific proposals.

She said funding an access point should also include public contributions, such as from property owners around the pond.

Jim Chandler also said some sort of land swap might be a possibility. He has also begun researching grant possiblities.

Selectmen agreed to have the commission continue to research the issue, and to include Greenwood selectmen in a joint discussion when more information has been gathered. Chandler said the CC is scheduled to meet with Greenwood selectmen April 21.

SINGLE SORT MAY 2

In other business Tuesday, selectmen, together with Greenwood, have set May 2 as the date to start single sort recycling at the Transfer Station. Information on the new system will be provided there.

The Woodstock board also decided to do enough repairs on the town’s 2007 Sterling truck to get it through the next winter, then propose at the 2016 Town Meeting to turn it in for a new truck.

A public hearing is scheduled for May 19 at 6 p.m. on closing to winter maintenance a portion of the Granite Ledge Road and the upper end of the Ricker Hill Road.


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