Resident decries boat launch sign

Man says posting violates public’s deeded right to swim in Dublin Lake

DUBLIN — A resident and swimming advocate says a sign that prohibits swimming at the boat launch on Dublin Lake is in violation of his right, and the rights of others, to swim in public waters.

“The words ‘no swimming’ shouldn’t be there,” said Steve Baldwin of Dublin at a Select Board meeting Monday where he raised concerns about the sign and asked the board to remove it.

Baldwin told the board that the sign is misleading and deters people who visit the lake from swimming there. “I won’t swim there because of that sign,” he said.

Baldwin presented the Select Board with a 1961 deed whereby Fanny Dwight Clark and her husband, Grenville Clark, grant public access to Dublin Lake on their shores, which can be accessed by way of Lake Road, as a gift to the town. By not allowing people to swim at the boat launch today, Baldwin said the town is in violation of the deed.

According to the deed, the Clarks’ intention was to provide “a publicly owned place of access to the waters of Dublin Lake, available for use by all members of the pubic, whether or not residents of New Hampshire or of Dublin...”

The Select Board discussed Baldwin’s concerns following his meeting with the board, but did not reach a final decision on the matter. The board instead planned a public site walk at the town-owned boat launch on June 17, next Monday, at 5:45 p.m., after their regularly scheduled meeting.

Select Board member Sterling Abram asked fellow board members Monday whether or not designating a section for swimmers and a second area for those launching their boats in Dublin Lake would be appropriate, and address Baldwin’s concerns.

But board Chair Charlie Champagne said establishing boundaries in Dublin Lake to separate swimmers from boaters could open the town up to future liability, if a person is injured.

“I suppose we could remove the sign, as long as people use common sense,” Champagne said.

The Select Board has never been against people swimming in the lake, Champagne said, but rather in the boat launch area where their safety is at risk. He suggested that the board consider revising the sign to read, “Caution, swimmers be aware of boats,” or “Watch out for boats while swimming.”

As the sign reads today, Sterling said people could conclude that they can’t swim in the water near the boat launch.

Champagne agreed, saying, “When I moved [to Dublin] I didn’t think you could swim there.”

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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