Response from DEC Commissioner Emily Boedecker
Dear Community Members,
Since releasing the draft rule for Great Hosmer Pond in early August we have received a number of comments. Thank you for your active participation in this conversation.
Comments varied widely, and included the following:
The draft rule prioritizes the Craftsbury Outdoor Center and only limits sculling during hours when the center is not using the pond
The draft rule prioritizes motorboat users over non-motorized and does not create any restrictions on motorboat use of the pond
The draft rule negatively affects independent scullers not associated with the Craftsbury Outdoor Center.
The rulemaking is premature, more documentation and data collection needs to be done to determine if there is an issue
Rulemaking is inadequate and too late to address issues that have been going on for years.
Act 250 should have jurisdiction over the operations of a commercial entity, not the use of public waters rule
Commercial use of public waters should not be allowed
Any restrictions on non-motorized crafts sets a dangerous precedent
Improved enforcement of the existing motorboat rules should be a priority over creating new rules
Suggestions for changes to the draft rule include:
Have a time certain in the morning before which sculling will not occur
Extend the no-scull hours year-round, as opposed to just the summer months
Include noon to 1pm hour in the sculling restrictions
Eliminate the evening sculling restriction (7pm to sunset)
Restrict COC scullers only, not independent scullers
Limit the number of scullers that can be on the pond at any one time.
Ban all motorboats
The Agency is considering the comments and suggested changes that have been submitted, and continues to seek feedback from the Great Hosmer community. The agency did not file with ICAR in August. ICAR meets monthly. The next deadline for filing is on September 18 in order to appear on the October ICAR agenda. Formal rulemaking will include a minimum 30 day public comment period and public meeting.
During the last few months I have had a number of conversations with individuals and groups representing the various interests in and around Great Hosmer Pond. We need to be talking about solutions and not just raising objections to other uses of the pond. I deliberately released the draft rule in advance of formal rulemaking to spark conversation about this rule and other potential solutions. The best solution is a collaborative community process, and I continue to encourage individuals and entities to explore this opportunity in advance of a formal rulemaking process and if necessary in parallel to a rulemaking process.
Over the next couple of weeks we will be sending out additional information to this distribution list. Please share these messages with your contacts and encourage people to sign up directly. I welcome your suggestions on how to improve this draft rule, alternative solutions that should be considered in concert with or instead of rulemaking, and your input on entities within the community or region who could potentially host a community conversation.
Please continue to send your comments to ANR.GreatHosmerPond@vermont.gov
Please report any safety issues to Lt. Walt Smith, at Walter.Smith@vermont.gov
Emily Boedecker, Commissioner
Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
1 National Life Dr., Main 2
Montpelier, VT 05602
(802) 828-1556 (office)