CAMDEN, Maine — The volunteer monitor for Hosmer Pond said more than a year after concerns first were voiced to the town and state that erosion from construction at the Camden Snow Bowl continues to dump silt into the popular body of water.
“The pond is suffering,” Leigh Schneller Sligh, who lives along Hosmer Pond, said. “No one knows if there will be long-term consequences that could ruin it for fishing, ruin it for swimming.”
Runoff occurred again this week, caused by heavy rains from the remnants of a tropical storm.
Schneller Sligh said she is outraged the town has not done everything it could to prevent the dirt from entering the pond. She said the current problem could be addressed by covering the muddy parking lot with coarse, crushed gravel.
The Camden woman has sent photographs, videos and results of her testing of the pond to the town and to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
Town officials, however, say that the work being done at the site involves stormwater management and that when completed it will solve the problem that occurred this week.
Sligh said one test she takes is to measure the clarity of the water by dropping a disk into the water to see how far down it will go before she loses sight of it. The water clarity has dropped from 4.5 meters to 3.5 meters in the past few weeks, Sligh said. This followed heavy rain a couple of weeks ago.
Town Manager Patricia Finnigan said Wednesday, however, that the DEP has informed the town it tested the lake before the latest rain and found no clarity problems.
DEP enforcement official Dawn Hallowell toured the site Wednesday morning in response to Sligh’s Tuesday evening email about the runoff into the pond, according to Sligh. Hallowell could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
The DEP became involved in the project last June after heavy rains caused silt from land that had been cleared on the mountain to flow into the pond.
Finnigan said she expects the town will be fined by the state, but she does not know how much.
Hosmer Pond is a 53-acre pond that has depths of up to 16 feet, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Snow Bowl General Manager Landon Fake said Wednesday the stormwater management work and the parking lot work will be completed by the end of August. He said there are places where 16 inches of crushed rock will be put down to have the correct grade for the parking area and that putting it down now would not make sense with all the construction ongoing.
He said a drainage system is nearly complete on the mountainside that consists of rocks and filters.
Hosmer pond is part of the Ragged Mountain recreation area. Camden voters gave their overwhelming approval in November 2013 to borrowing up to $2 million to match $4.5 million raised privately for a major upgrade at the ski resort. New lifts, trails and snowmaking equipment have since been put in place.
The project, however, also ran into cost overruns. Several additional costs were because of dealing with the erosion problems. The one remaining part of the project yet to be undertaken is a new lodge. Supporters of the resort are trying to raise money to build the new, larger lodge.