In the last election, voters in the Town of Berlin overwhelmingly supported non-motorized access to Berlin pond.
I was in favor of access two years ago and I stand even more convicted on the issue today. Leading up to the vote, a small group of landowners and preservationists began circulating a list of “talking points” in an effort to convince the Berlin voters that it is far too “risky” to consider allowing the public to paddle about the pond. “Paddling causes turbidity,” they say. “Look at the science,” they say. I am still waiting for the science. Here’s a question: How much turbidity do 50 Canada Geese create? Should we be counting the geese? The majority of voters in Berlin were not coerced and neither was I.
At the May 28th public hearing I asked an anti-access leader to list the top five contaminating substances that would most likely be introduced by a kayaker or angler. “Did you read the 300-page petition?” the leader replied.
“Yes I read the petition, can you name at least one substance that would likely be introduced, I didn’t see it listed,” I said.
The leader paused for a moment to summon an answer, then blurted “TURBIDITY and another substance would be human skin because we carry deadly toxins. Didn’t you know? They fall off your skin everyday.”
I said, “You mean somebody swimming?”
“No, just putting your hand in the water!” was the response.
This same group of people also feel that allowing paddlers on the pond will invite terrorists who wish to attack Montpelier’s drinking water.
This so-called environmental group has petitioned ANR to prohibit the public from paddling on the pond. Although they want you off “their” pond, they are encouraging outdoor enthusiasts to recreate on other nearby ponds that serve as a drinking water supply.
You can (politely) tell ANR that the public has a right to paddle on Berlin Pond by sending a comment by email to: Laura.Woods@state.vt.us
The deadline to make a comment in regards to the Petition to Ban all recreational activities is June 3rd.
Friends of Berlin Pond