Athol Lions Club proposes canoes, kayaks on Silver Lake

By GREG VINE

For the Athol Daily News

Published: 02-28-2023 4:41 PM

ATHOL – Representatives of the Lions Club are proposing that canoes and kayaks be allowed on Silver Lake in Athol.

Tom Henry and Jim McIntosh went before the Selectboard at its Feb. 21 meeting to seek the board’s support for the idea.

“I’ve talked with Bob Muzzy of the Conservation Commission,” Henry told the board. “I’ve talked to (Public Works Director) Dick Kilhart and he’s 100 percent behind the canoe and kayak launch.

“The DPW tells me the only way it would be open to kayaks and canoes is through the board. I guess there’s been no boating down there for years and for what we’re proposing, there are going to be no boats, just canoes and kayaks.”

Henry said opening up the lake to the watercraft might resolve an ongoing problem at the popular park.

“Dick has told me he’s been going crazy trying to get rid of the geese,” Henry said. “They get on the ballfield; they pollute the water. This way, maybe it’ll harass the geese and they’ll move on.”

Board Vice Chair Rebecca Bialecki asked if canoes and kayaks aren’t allowed on Silver Lake or if it was that no one was using them there. Town Manager Shaun Suhoski said they’re not allowed.

“We circulated (this idea) in advance of this—although we don’t have the response yet—of the Open Space and Recreation Committee,” Suhoski said. “On the staff side, we’re just gathering information to make sure there are no unintended consequences. There might be a reason; I don’t know – maybe there was a logjam of boats back in the day, or invasive weeds, or things that we’re not thinking of.

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“We don’t have any objection, but it would be nice to hear more information from—maybe officially—from ConCom and DPW as well. I’m asking for more time so I can hear from the other departments and committees, but that’s all.”

Henry said he and McIntosh were not anticipating an immediate decision from the board. Bialecki said she had no objection to the idea and that Silver Lake is a great resource that’s underused.

“I agree with Shaun. We probably need some more time to get that feedback back from other folks,” she said. “And I don’t think, as we’re still in February, anyone is going to be running out tomorrow.”

The board then decided to put off a decision on the Lions Club’s request until the second board meeting in March, which would be March 21.

Greg Vine can be reached at gvineadn@gmail.com.

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