Dog owners will have a chance to help revise a rule that currently prohibits pets from being on Ragged Mountain Recreation Area property between Dec. 1 and March 31, after citizens responded to that rule at the Jan. 3 meeting of the Camden Select Board.

At the start of that meeting, Camden Town Manager Patricia Finnigan addressed reports that Development Director Brian Hodges is under investigation for possibly impersonating a state government official who holds the job he once held.

“This was brought to our attention,” said Finnigan. “It’s a personnel matter. We are currently reviewing it. I can’t comment beyond that because it is a personnel matter.”

In regard to the dog issue, Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Kuller said the rule came as a result of meetings he held with Snow Bowl managers and the Parks and Recreation Committee.

Kuller said a major concern is pet waste. While many people are responsible, some bring multiple dogs and have difficulty keeping track of where they are at all times, he said. While working on trails after the Snow Bowl is closed for the day, grooming equipment picks up feces and spreads it around the slopes.

Kuller said dogs are generally not allowed on Nordic ski trails, because their tracks become frozen into the trail and make it slower and less enjoyable for skiers.

A number of the more than 30 people in the audience rose to comment on the rule.

Linda Nash was the first to speak, and asked for a compromise. She said she kept her dogs on the T-bar line and suggested a trail or strip that could be used for hiking with dogs when the Snow Bowl is not in use. John Scholz also called for compromise and said he uses the mountain to train his dogs in search and rescue techniques.

Andrea Young said the change could have been handled differently.

Jeff Foltz supported Kuller’s assertion that Nordic trails need to be kept well-groomed, and said dogs should not be on those trails when they are in use by skiers. He said the carriage trails at Tanglewood and other trails in the Midcoast offered plenty of opportunities for dog owners to exercise their pets.

Ski Patrol and Parks and Recreation Committee member Brian Robinson said the rule was not written unilaterally by employees. “There have been multiple occurrences, in the seven years I’ve been patrolling, that I’ve scooped dog poop off the T-bar line,” he said. “Not everyone is going to be as responsible as you who have spoken.”

Galen Todd said he was an avid dog owner, a member of Ski Patrol and president of Coastal Mountains Land Trust.

“I totally support the issue of dogs being under control at the Snow Bowl,” said Todd. He said there had been incidents involving dogs and that a compromise should be sought.

Todd said the Hosmer Pond Loop Trail is on CMLT land, and that rules for that property call for dogs to be on a leash at all times.

Select Board member Don White said he was concerned about the process and asked if such a policy should have been brought before the board. Finnigan said Snow Bowl rules were not considered policies, and could be altered through administrative decisions. The town’s dog policy requires that dogs be under the control of their owners at all times, either by voice command or on a leash.

“Some dogs are better with voice control than others,” said Finnigan.

Kuller said he appreciated the comments and had been considering a compromise since issuing the rule. He invited interested parties to attend the next meeting of the Parks and Recreation Committee, where the rule will be reconsidered, and offered tentative suggestions for possible times and locations for a dog trail at the Snow Bowl.

The next meeting of the Camden Parks and Recreation Committee is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 5:15 p.m. in the Washington Street Conference Room.

The Select Board also heard an update from the Ragged Mountain Recreation Area Redevelopment Committee on its fundraising efforts. That group has raised more than $2.25 million to date, half of the amount needed to trigger a vote on a $2 million bond from the town. The total budget for the project is $6.5 million.

Bex honored for Ski Patrol service

Kuller and Todd presented Leslie Bex with a plaque honoring his 17 years of service, in which he helped build the Snow Bowl’s Ski Patrol up from fewer than 10 active members to 32.

Kuller wrote in an email that Bex helped teach the Outdoor Emergency Care course that new members of Ski Patrol take and which has been offered many of the 17 years that Bex has worked at the Snow Bowl.

“On top of that he has volunteered to help run the annual refresher course for all patrollers, which typically involves more than 12 hours of his time each fall,” wrote Kuller. “He has also volunteered a bunch of his time to train to become an emergency care instructor, and a toboggan skills instructor, as well as to update his own annual CPR certification. All of this is really to say that Les has probably volunteered close to 2,000 hours over the years, in addition to his paid work on the ski patrol.”

The next meeting of the Camden Select Board will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 17 in the Washington Street Conference Room and be broadcast on Channel 22. For more information, call the Camden Town Office at 236-3353.