Camden to improve Hosmer Pond boat launch in lieu of DEP fine

By Susan Mustapich | May 18, 2017
Photo by: Susan Mustapich The town of Camden will pay $52,300 to upgrade the boat launch and road leading to it, and to make the dock and float compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

CAMDEN — The town will improve the Hosmer Pond boat launch and the road leading to the launch and dock, in lieu of paying a $44,000 fine for environmental violations caused by logging, excavation and other work to widen ski trails and install new ski lifts at the Snow Bowl.

The work at the Hosmer Pond boat launch can cover up to 80 percent of a $44,000 fine set by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, according to the agency's website.

On May 16, the Select Board approved a $52,300 bid by Farley & Son, to rebuild the road to Hosmer Pond and install concrete planks to improve an area for launching small boats. Regrading and improvement of the road and launch area will address erosion of sand and silt into a wetland area, according to Will Gartley of Gartley & Dorsky Engineering. The company will oversee the project.

Gartley told the Select Board that this erosion was not caused by the Snow Bowl redevelopment. The wetland area next to the dock and float will be reclaimed by planting approximately 30 wetland shrubs, he said. A van-accessible handicapped parking space will be added as part of the project, and the gangway and float will be handicapped accessible as well.

Permits for the work have been submitted to DEP. Gartley hopes the work will begin by June 1 and be completed by July 1, in time for the summer recreation programs.

To pay for the project, the Select Board approved the use of a Snow Bowl reserve fund and the entire $35,741 remaining from the $2 million bond which voters approved for the Snow Bowl redevelopment.

The DEP fine is part of an enforcement action against the town and BCD Excavation and Forestry of Jefferson for violations of erosion and sedimentation control and storm water management rules, as well as violations of the Natural Resources Protection and Protection, and Improvement of Waters acts.

The enforcement case was opened in 2014, and will conclude when a consent agreement is finalized between the DEP and town.

During 2014 and 2015, heavy rains carried soils from Ragged Mountain into Hosmer Pond and Hosmer Brook as a result of inadequate and ineffective erosion controls.

A Septempter 2014 DEP violation notice cites that "during the logging operation, BCD Excavation and Forestry skidded trees down several pre-existing ski trails, severely disturbing soils, without the use of erosion and sedimentation controls."

DEP Bureau of Land Resources enforcement division officer Dawn Hallowell conducted many site visits to inspect the Snow Bowl during the redevelopment.

On Dec. 23, 2014, Hallowell conducted a site visit with former town manager Patricia Finnigan, former Snow Bowl manager Landon Fake, Gartley, Dave Marceau, Art McGlauflin and Lee Sligh. Hallowell observed disturbed soils at the lower magic carpet lift, water bar and drainage issues at tower five of the triple lift, and effects of erosion from a Dec. 10 storm throughout the construction area. She noted that a "temporary access road across the slope from the triple chair to double chair is a mess," and water bars that were not constructed correctly and were causing new erosion channels. Hallowell concluded, "clear they are disturbing soil and not covering it adequately. There will most likely be another discharge in tomorrow's rain event."

In 2015, according to DEP files, agency personnel were still visiting Ragged Mountain with Camden town officials, and finding erosion problems and environmental violations.

On June 24, 2015, DEP Hallowell conducted a site visit at the Snow Bowl with Finnigan, Fake, Gartley and Pete Ledgewood, According to Hallowell's notes, the "left lowest 20 feet" of a ditch near the the magic carpet lift was "open and unprotected. That area eroded into wetland and then two constructed settling ponds and out to the emergent wetland and Hosmer Pond."

On an access road up the mountain, Hallowell observed "slope failures on uphill slope and erosion of road bed itself." Water bars, which were constructed to prevent erosion down the access road "filled and overtopped or water channelized in road bed and formed erosional gullies into the stream and Hosmer Brook," according to Hallowell's notes.

Hallowell's notes concluded, "tried to explain to town that this discharge was foreseeable and avoidable. Same mistake as last visit (6/5/15) open ditch."

Hallowell said in February that she inspected the Camden Snow Bowl many times over a two-year period. She last inspected the ski mountain in spring 2016, and said it is stable and under control, and that vegetation is growing there.

Heavy rains that washed loose soil down the mountain and into Hosmer Pond have also prompted concern from neighbors on the pond.

In May 2016, an aerial photograph identified a blob of algae in Hosmer Pond, estimated by the DEP to be around 2.5 acres in size. In July, staff from DEP's Lakes and Ponds unit visited Hosmer Pond to investigate removal processes for the algae blob.

Courier Publications reporter Jordan Bailey contributed to this report. Courier Publications reporter Susan Mustapich can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at smustapich@villagesoup.com.

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