Selectman slams Snow Bowl for erosion, mess

By Stephanie Grinnell | Jun 25, 2014
Source: A photo taken May 5 shows logging work being done on Ragged Mountain as part of the redevelopment of the town-owned Snow Bowl.

Camden — Selectman Leonard Lookner criticized work being done at Camden Snow Bowl — comparing it to a war zone — as well as a recent problem with erosion washing silt and organic matter into Hosmer Pond.

"[The Snow Bowl] looks like a town in Syria," Lookner said. "It looks like it's been bombed. ... stuff has been torn down and there's crap all over the place."

He also expressed concern about erosion that caused Hosmer Pond to go from clear water to cloudy.

Snow Bowl General Manager Landon Fake said a deluge June 17 poured more than 3 inches of rain on the site and while measures had been taken on the mountain to protect from erosion, the parking lot was not considered a potential problem.

"We hadn't counted on all the topsoil in the parking lot," he said, adding the soil was dragged down the 5,000-foot logging road by the whole trees being harvested there.

"No one is happy," Town Manager Patricia Finnigan said of the contamination of Hosmer Pond.

She noted there was damage throughout town due to the heavy rain, not just at the Snow Bowl. Fake said additional measures have been put in place to prevent a recurrence.

Regarding the Snow Bowl site as a whole appearing disheveled, Fake said it is a construction site and looks like one. For years, he said, much of the "mess" has existed out of sight.

"It is a mess, it's been a mess for a long time," Fake said. "It gets a little better every day."

Selectman Jim Heard concurred with Lookner's assessment and requested the site be picked up each day.

"Occasional visitors don't see it [getting better]," Heard said.

Selectman John French said he feels it is a typical logging operation, with trees stored on site to be chipped later.

"I'm not even talking about wood," Lookner said. "It looks like a tornado went through there."

"We're not paying for the site to look pretty every day," Select Board Chairman Martin Cates countered.

"It's a wreck, without the parks," Lookner replied, adding the area around the Snow Bowl also appears neglected. He suggested hosting volunteer days to have residents clean up and work together. "I'm not saying Landon should be out there weeding. ... I think the community expects better [condition of the parks]."

Selectman Don White offered another option: closing the ski area to the public completely until construction is finished.

"I'd like to see it closed entirely and just let it be what it is, a construction site," he said. "... It's going to look worse before it looks better."

According to the Snow Bowl website, the entire area is currently closed to the public. The site states: "The Snow Bowl and Ragged Mountain Recreation Area are temporarily closed to ALL public use, including the parking areas. The logging operation under way is using a chipper, two skidders, a feller- buncher, a large cut-off saw and a loader in the parking lot and in several places on the mountain and can be dangerous to be anywhere in the area."

Updates regarding the Snow Bowl redevelopment can be found online at

Following several days of rain showers June 25 and 26, Hosmer Pond on June 27 still shows evidence of silt and runoff from work being done on Ragged Mountain. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Silt is visible June 27 near the shore of Hosmer Pond, having washed into the body of water during heavy rains June 13 and 14 as well as rainy days June 25 and 26. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Hay bales have been placed between the Camden Snow Bowl parking lot and Hosmer Pond to help prevent disturbed soil from washing down Ragged Mountain and into the pond. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Some silt was stopped from washing into Hosmer Pond this week by hay bales placed between the water and Camden Snow Bowl parking lot. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
The parking lot at Camden Snow Bowl is filled with equipment, cut trees and shredded bark June 27 as work continues on the redevelopment of Ragged Mountain. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Comments (9)
Posted by: Lee Sligh | Jun 28, 2014 13:55

Forget about the unsightliness of the Snow Bowl --- the real danger is the silt in Hosmer Pond.  This is the second huge dump of silt into the pond (false assurances were made after the first one that measures were being taken to prevent a recurrence).  As a DEP-certified Erosion Control Practices Permit holder, I know that the measures in place were inadequate, the town was warned of that fact repeatedly by an abutter whose section of Hosmer Brook was continuing to receive silt from the site even yesterday (June 27).  The silt pouring off the entire side of the ski hill was running unchecked into Hosmer Brook and then into Hosmer Pond.  There was not even a silt fence (much less the needed check dams and other countermeasures) on that entire stretch of hillside, and this was AFTER the first silt dump a couple of weeks ago.  Silt can cause damage that is not reversible - look at the case of China Lake.  Silt has the same effect as dumping tons of fertilizer in the pond - this over-stimulates pond plants, which then suck up all the oxygen and the fish die.  I'm not exaggerating.  Also, I learned in the DEP erosion practices class that it takes a particle of clay five years to settle to the bottom once it is suspended in water.

Fortunately, the Snow Bowl is finally going to be visited by the DEP enforcement officer on Monday.  If you want to register your opinion with the person who actually has authority to ensure we do not get another silt dump, please contact:

Dawn Hallowell
Maine Department of Environmental Protection

Licensing & Compliance Manager, Central Maine Region

Division of Land Resource Regulation, Bureau of Land & Water Quality
(207) 557-2624 |


Posted by: CHRISTOPHER YOUNG | Jun 28, 2014 07:40


I am no less than outraged at the condition of our beloved Homer Pond.

As a neighbor and a friend, it breaks my heart to drive by there every day and see what at best, resembles a mud puddle.

It seems that we, the general public, are held to a high standard when it comes to protecting our waterways through specific guidelines as set forth through the Shoreland Zoning Act, yet  we see incompetent contractors polluting Hosmer Pond by way of sub standard cutting and remediation practices as evidenced by the aftermath of our new "brown pond".

I am a real estate broker, I have a property for sale on the shores of Hosmer Pond.  Earlier today, 6/27/14, I was contacted by another agent from Portland asking to schedule a showing for my listing tomorrow with a pre-qualified prospective buyer coming to Maine this weekend from another state.

I got back to her and strongly encouraged a cancellation for that request purely based on the deplorable and unsightly condition of Hosmer Pond due to the mismanagement of the work going on across the pond.

This cancellation could cost me thousands of dollars, but more importantly, could costs my client hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The repercussions go much further than this, particularly for other property owners expecting a reasonable level of enjoyment on their aggressively taxed waterfront property.


Posted by: KERYN LAITE | Jun 26, 2014 14:39

I think we are all looking forward to the positive changes that are in the making at the Snow Bowl. But to be an outsider looking in, it does look like a bomb went off up there. A construction project in the early stages more often than not, can make ones vision of the end result hard to attain. Hopefully  things will start to be more pleasing to the eye in the near future.

Posted by: Ben Ellison | Jun 26, 2014 13:43

I'm really looking forward to the changes underway at the Snow Bowl, and am very grateful to all the volunteers and town employees who are making them happen. Clearing forest is never pretty, and maybe it could have been done better, but I'm confident that the mountain will return to its beautiful, (fairly) natural self.

Posted by: CHRISTOPHER YOUNG | Jun 26, 2014 11:02

We live adjacent to Ragged Mountain right on Hosmer Pond.  The conditions at the mountain are abhorrent.  There is not only waste from the logging, but garbage strewn everywhere.  I am an avid hiker, the trails did not look like this before, as was stated in the article.  The person obviously is NOT a hiker the conditions were beautiful up there.  It WAS an idyllic setting.

It is now obvious that they don't truly understand  the implications and environmental impact of what they are doing.  We also think that the average resident did not know what was involved in this undertaking.  They have cut down the majority of the trees.  This creates erosion.   The stream that goes through our property gets bigger and bigger every year.  What was a small stream is now a large brook. We were assured during the planning stages, that they did an environmental study and the impact would be minimal.

The pond which was already getting muddier every year, the water results had gotten worse from last year, is just awful.  The mountain which was once green is now just dirt, nature will continue to pour that dirt into the pond.  It is inevitable.  It is going to happen.

Now that Hosmer Pond is a major mess, erosion rampant and the animals are losing there habitat do we believe anything they have to say?

Note:  Thank you Leonard Lookner for voicing your honest opinion at the meeting.


Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Jun 26, 2014 08:47

Leonard "How Do I" Lookner is concerned with keeping that Camden image up to snuff. What will the tourist think?

Posted by: Judith Gushee | Jun 26, 2014 07:36

Really?  The Camden Snow Bowl is being compared to conditions in Syria.  Anyone else find this ludicrous .

Posted by: Alison S McKellar | Jun 25, 2014 21:55

I guess I'm confused. Are we concerned about the way it looks or is there an issue with long term damage to Hosmer Pond? These are two very different issues in my mind.

Posted by: Bill Halpin | Jun 25, 2014 20:16


So many fallen --

grandmother, family, gone;

who feels these lives, looks




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