Choose Your Future, Part I: A Series to Save Newfound Lake
by Boyd Smith, Newfound Lake Region Association Executive Director
Newfound Lake is known for water so clear you can see fish swimming thirty feet below you, hills and ridges cloaked in expansive forests and capped by rocky summits that frame the moods of the sky, and a laid-back pace reminiscent of years past. Newfound makes memories—playing on the beach as a kid, swimming with friends, boating with family, waking to the calls of loons, or quietly watching the motion and light of the water. Everyone that has been here, once or for a lifetime, remembers.
We wish this source of wonder to always be this way but fear it may not. The water is less clear, the sand less crunchy, and the rocks more slimy than recent memory. Houses crowd the shoreline and climb the hills, some contrasting garishly with their surroundings. The pace has changed: fireworks crash the once quiet evenings all summer long while lights from houses, docks, driveways, and roads blot out the wonders of the night sky.
Data collected by the Newfound Lake Region Association (NLRA) confirms that water clarity is declining, nearly 600 new homes have been built since 2000, and town land-use regulations and compliance are not aligned with the vision and goals of residents. For those who know Newfound, this sad report brings focus to old news.
“Choose Your Future” is more than a title for an article — it is a real, feasible call to action to take control. Simple steps can maintain Newfound’s sublime beauty for generations to come: care for your land, take part in your town’s plans and decisions, and support land conservation. Together, these three steps will bring the promise of memories for future generations that are as special as your own. There is only one other choice: business as usual, with murkier water, shattered forest views, and a deep sense of loss with little or no way to retrieve what we all cherish.
This article is the first in a six-part series calling to all that love and depend on Newfound to make one of two choices. Either accept “business as usual,” which is losing Newfound’s purity and peace and watching things get worse within our lifetimes, or decide that you care enough to return Newfound to its earlier glory, creating a lasting legacy to your respect and love for this area. Future articles in this series will clearly identify threats to the Lake and land, and the simple steps you can take to build a proud legacy.
The NLRA’s purpose is to motivate landowners, town officials, businesses, and visitors to give a small and highly-rewarding amount of time back to the land and water that support us. Our mission is to protect and preserve Newfound’s uniquely pristine environment. We have proven strategies and programs to achieve our mission but need your hands to help wield the tools. You may own land, you have a voice in your town, and you know the value of Newfound’s beauty.
In a time when every last piece of the Newfound watershed means more each day, rejoice in the power that we have to choose the future. Together. Now.
Winter in Newfound 2017 —
An International Travel Blogger’s Perspective
by Adele Grunberg, NLRA Member and lifelong Newfound visitor
Adele visits many locations throughout the world and shares her travel experiences on her blog, Postcards from Adele. The following is an excerpt from her blog about a recent visit to Newfound Lake.
It was quite an ordeal to get here. One flight cancelled, then a second. Blizzard in Boston closed down the airport. Will I make it? I’ve never been to Newfound Lake in the winter, and now my opportunity is being jeopardized.
I finally arrive at Logan but the buses to Concord, New Hampshire are canceled due to the weather. I stay at an airport hotel overnight and take a bus at 6:45 the next morning. My friend, Audrey, meets me at the bus depot and takes me to her condo on Newfound, just steps from the lake. The view, sparkling in summer, is now magnificent wrapped in snow.
The temperature is 9 degrees with a substantial wind chill. We head over to Sugar Loaf, a low mountain across the lake, one I have hiked many times. We strap on snow shoes and begin to hike in the hushed, pristine woods. There is no other human or animal presence. We get to the outlook on Little Sugar Loaf. The view is perfectly clear and crisp, much of the lake frozen. The contrast between the blue of the partially frozen lake and the surrounding ice is dazzling.
After two hours, we are back down at the lake. It is dotted with fishing huts, such an unusual sight. I’m told they have heaters and even televisions for the fishermen who spend hours patiently waiting for a catch. I walk on the frozen surface of the lake. The wind is howling, blowing the snow off the surface in great white sheets. I clutch at my coat, fighting to keep the hood over my ears. This is joy to me.