CAMDEN — The Select Board talked about non-shorefront owner mooring regulations for Lake Megunticook in August and revisiting this issue again before the end of the year.

This discussion also took place in 2019-20, led by an Inland Mooring Working Group, appointed by the board.

In February 2020, the working group recommended some form of regulation or an ordinance to deal with non-shoreowner moorings placed in the lake near the Route 52 and Bog Bridge boat ramps. The majority of group members recommended Bog Bridge area as the more appropriate place for these moorings. One limiting factor to this area is shallow water levels, which can vary seasonally.

The working group and town officials also agreed an inland harbormaster was needed to deal with existing and potential problems with the moorings. The town began a contract in 2020 with the Megunticook Watershed Association for inland harbormaster services on Camden’s portion of the lake. Lake Warden Dale Dougherty has served in the position ever since. He has also completed harbor master training.

Dougherty works with the Megunticook Watershed Association director, who is also a lake warden. Paul Leeper, longtime association executive director is now the outgoing director, since the hire of his replacement, Aaron Bailey in October. Leeper has stayed on for the three-month transition period, with plans to retire at the end of the year.

Dougherty inventoried moorings in the lake in 2020. In mid-August that year, there were 13 in the Barrett’s Cove area and nine at Bog Bridge. Dougherty also attempted to identify all the owners, and was able to identify most, but not all, according a year-end report he issued.

Not much had changed with the number of moorings in the lake by early fall 2021. Moorings near the Route 52 boat launch are problematic for larger boats entering and exiting the lake there, so Dougherty does not recommend placing moorings in that area when anyone inquires.

The lake wardens deal with boats that break loose from moorings and drift ashore, usually due to inadequate mooring and anchor equipment. Dougherty also can move moorings where boats are anchored too close to one another.

The biggest change Dougherty has seen is the increase in recreational use of the lake. He saw this year as one of the busiest summer seasons on the lake.

The “wild west” is how he describes the wide open area of the lake filled with motor boats and paddlecraft, during warm and sunny weather, Fridays through Sundays in July and August.

Leeper calls it a zoo. “It’s not the number of boats,” he said, but conflicts between different types of boaters. In one area, there may be people new to paddle boarding heading across the lake and several power boats driving tubes around and making big waves.

There are also issues with boaters obeying headway speed regulation in the no-wake area within 200 feet of the shore. Issues with speed in the no-wake areas occur where the lake is skinny and with power boats picking up and dropping off water skiers and pulling tubers, according to Leeper and Dougherty. People new to boating — or the lake — in boats and paddlecraft is another issue they deal with.

The association director and warden work year-round. Bailey is now working full-time, and as of Jan 1, 2022, will take over as Watershed Association executive director and lake warden.