Select Board proposes eliminating camping at Mason Quarry

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/8/2021 1:54:46 PM

Proposed changes to rules at the Mason town quarry would eliminate camping and campfires at the popular swimming and hiking spot.

Currently, camping is allowed at the quarry with written permission from the Select Board or the Mason Conservation Commission. Campfires are allowed, but require a burn permit issued by the Mason Fire Department.

Select Board Chair Louise Lavoie said during 2020, the Mason Quarry, like many local swimming and recreation spots, became a popular destination for visitors, even though the property is restricted to Mason residents.

Parking became a problem, Lavoie said, as cars clogged both sides of Scripps Lane, in violation of town ordinances, and so did unpermitted campfires. Eventually, the board closed the public parking lot for the quarry, and have so far, yet to reopen it to the public.

Lavoie said she’s aware members of the public would like to see access to the quarry parking restored, and said the Select Board would readdress the issue before the start of the summer season, but haven’t made any decisions yet about a reopening date.

Lavoie said requests to use the quarry as a camping ground are relatively rare – the board has received two requests in recent memory – but there has been evidence found on unapproved camping and fires periodically, and multiple instances of unpermitted fires during the 2020 pandemic.

The Select Board discussed changing the ordinance to eliminate camping and campfires last year, Lavoie said, but never went through the process of holding a public hearing on the issue.

The Select Board has scheduled a public hearing on the changes to the ordinance on April 13 at 7:45 p.m., during the regularly scheduled Select Board meeting. The Conservation Commission approved the changes to the ordinance during its meeting in February.


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