A lone fisherman rides along in his boat on South Pond in Greenwood, enjoying the break in the day’s rainy weather. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal file

GREENWOOD — Kimberly Giunta said, “as kids, my parents would paddle the canoe over to [the sandbar between South and Round Ponds]. Hook the canoe on a stump and we would just swim. That was our beach.

“We would play and swim, eat clams, see the loons and ducks. It was a pretty idyllic childhood to be so free. I had freedom to be on the lake in a boat by myself at 10, 11, 12, just basking in nature,” said Giunta.

In 1986 her parents, Michael and Kathy (Mills) Giunta, joined about 10 others to form the Community Lakes Association. They helped to ban personal watercraft. “Environmentally, the [personal watercraft] are a real nightmare. They kill the top layer of the ecosystem in a lake by heating up the water and jettisoning it behind them.  They created a community that was going to be quieter than if jet skis were allowed and also an ecosystem that was in better shape. And all the ponds continue to be really healthy ponds,” said Giunta.

Now Kimberly is part of the same association, a group of 125 members who watch over nine lakes in Greenwood and Woodstock. Some are pond representatives like Giunta.

“It’s coming full circle for me to get involved,” said Giunta who lives six months of the year in Connecticut and six months in Greenwood where her family has a camp.



For the past twenty years the main concern for the Community Lakes Association has been combating the invasive species milfoil in Woodstock’s Lake Christopher.

Giunta lauded the efforts of divers who have been pulling the milfoil out each summer, uprooting it as you would a weed so it won’t spread. Because it can reproduce so quickly it has to be sequestered in a very specific way, she said. And, because it went undetected for awhile it created a huge problem and that is why they closely monitor all the other lakes, too.

In 2023 New England Milfoil pulled 317 bags of milfoil from Lake Christopher outlet pond – a 22% reduction from the previous year, Jim Chandler wrote.

In the same Lakes’ publication Giunta writes about the lake near her Connecticut home where, “invasive plants clogged the inlets and coves. I’ve never spotted a turtle or fish. Although I do see the occasional bird, they are few and far between and none so breathtaking as the great blue heron stalking the shoreline or as majestic as the eagles soaring above North Pond. On this Connecticut lake, houses are packed side by side all along the shore like teeth in a mouth. I imagine that each house must have beautiful views of the lake, but from the lake all a person sees are the houses.”

Milfoil lakes are dead lakes, said Giunta. “There is not a lot of fish, there are not a lot of birds. The water is not very clear. There is a high incidence of  E. coli …

“It’s not the beautiful experience we have in the lakes in Maine, at least in the lakes I am talking about specifically, in Greenwood and Woodstock.”


The boat launch kiosk on North Pond in Greenwood. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen


Giunta represents Round Pond. Last summer someone contacted her to say that they thought they had found milfoil. Turns out it wasn’t milfoil, but she said it demonstrates the importance of having pond representatives. The more people investing in stewarding the lakes, the better, she says.

She said she understands that she is coming from privilege as a landowner, but stresses that everyone has an investment. “Anyone can camp at Littlefield and anyone can use the town beaches.”

Residents get their news from one of eight kiosks at the various boat launches: two at Lake Christopher: Rowe Hill boat launch and Lake Road launch; North Pond Rt 26 launch; Round Pond launch; Littlefield Beach campground launch on South Pond; Greenwood town beach/launch on Greenwood Road and Indian Pond launch.

There are several Facebook pages, too: North Pond neighbors, Lake Christopher neighbors, Community Lakes Association page and more.

Giunta believes that by nurturing our local ecosystems, we cultivate a sense of empowerment amidst broader environmental challenges. “When we have this one corner of our world that is really important to us, and we can focus on that ecosystem being it’s most optimal and healthy then the environmental problems of the world seem a little less overwhelming. Because we have some empowerment in our local community.” said Giunta.

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