State to weigh in on boat launch sign

Advisory board takes opposite position as that of the Select Board

DUBLIN — The N.H. Public Water Access Advisory Board plans to suggest that the Dublin Select Board change the wording on the sign at the Dublin Lake boat launch site on Lake Road to allow swimming there.

Thomas Quarles, a Manchester attorney who chairs the advisory board, said he and several other board members visited the boat launch last week during a tour of the Monadnock region. They met with resident Steve Baldwin, who has been urging the Select Board to change the sign, which now reads “No swimming in launch area.”

The launch site was given to the town by Grenville and Fanny Dwight Clark to provide “a publicly owned place of access to the waters of Dublin  Lake, available for use by all members of the public, whether or not residents of New Hampshire or of Dublin,” according to a deed granted in 1961.

On the advice of Town Counsel Matt Serge, the Select Board chose in June not to change the wording of the sign. In a letter to the Select Board in June, Serge wrote that the town has the right to regulate the use of publicly owned land.

Quarles said the advisory board did not have a quorum of its members at the visit. But he is planning to recommend that the board suggest a change in the sign’s wording.

“We spent about a half-hour at the site,” Quarles said on Thursday. “We reviewed the history. I said I’d work on a draft letter recommending to selectmen that the sign be changed to read, ‘Swimmers should yield to launching boats’ or something along those lines.”

The 1961 deed is quite clear, according to Quarles.

“There’s no question that the Clark family intended it to be used for any and all valid public access. There’s no priority. Swimmers should have equal access.”

Quarles said the public water access board is strictly advisory.

“We can’t order anybody to do anything,” he said.

On Monday, Dublin Town Administrator Sherry Miller said town officials had not been aware of the site visit, and the town has not yet been contacted by the advisory board.

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or danderson@ledgertranscript.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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