Lowell Lake update: “They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.” Joni Mitchell sang that in 1967, but 52 years later some people who should know better still haven’t gotten the message.
Our Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation presented its Master Plan for Lowell Lake to the public July 26 in a format that was designed to squelch debate. Instead of a verbal presentation with the customary Q&A, FPR opted for an array of signboards. The information shown there by a series of private contractors revealed for the first time to the public that extensive plans have been underway for some time to repurpose the former resort as a wedding, banquet, party facility, and for a group of about 11 cabins for overnight use. The cabins are basically 50-year-old crumbling teardowns, but FPR is seeking designation for them as historic structures.
As for the banquet facility, if FPR really wanted to get into that business, why wouldn’t it consider buying one of the local properties such as the Mill Tavern in Londonderry? Much cheaper than the $3 million of our money they’re proposing to spend on at Lowell Lake. Were you out there begging the state for a banquet facility at Lowell Lake? I wasn’t.
And about those parking lots. FPR states there are currently only 19 spaces available for parking. They want to build a much larger lot to increase the number of spaces to 45-50 and an additional lot to accommodate boat trailers. Yet at a given moment on a recent Sunday, there were 37 vehicles parked in the existing 19 spaces, many of them carrying boats. There were 40 watercrafts on the lake that day. The lake is already overcrowded. Building out more parking will only diminish the experience for us all.
At every point of the FPR presentation, they put forward the environmentally friendly aspect of the development. This is a lure. They will give you “environmentally friendly” cabins, lodge, parking lots, rain gardens, bathhouses, and assorted infrastructure. But do you really want an environmentally friendly replica of Jones Beach, Long Island right here in Londonderry where once we had a pristine one-of-a-kind state park?
So, contact your legislators. Representatives Kelly Pajala, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Tom Bock, email@example.com. Senators Alice Nitka, firstname.lastname@example.org; Alison Clarkson, email@example.com; Dick McCormack, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do log into the state’s feedback survey through Sept. 23 to make your voice heard at www.vtstateparks.com/Lowell.html
“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”