Boat ramp closed, state confirms
Several calls placed to town officials at Town Hall and at home on Thursday and Friday seeking comment on the decision were not returned by Friday.
Kate Plourd, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Fish and Game, confirmed the board's vote to close down the ramp.
According to Lake Buel resident Ken Taub, the ramp was closed on Wednesday afternoon by means of a concrete barricade with a padlocked chain across it.
"The department has notified the town that they're not supposed to do this," said Plourd. She said the state Office of Fishing and Boating Access has also contacted town officials on the matter.
Technically, the state is the only entity authorized to close boat access to lakes and ponds.
To date, the state has closed the boat ramp access at Laurel Lake in Lee, where zebra mussels were discovered earlier this month, and at the Quabbin Reservoir, a precautionary measure since it is a major drinking water supply.
The Stockbridge Bowl was re-opened to boats on Friday after being closed for most of the month. The Selectmen there had closed it to keep the lake free of zebra mussels, but the state ordered the town this week to re-open it.
Other towns who took it upon themselves to close boat ramps in their towns have since obeyed a state order to re-open them.
Zebra mussels are an invasive species that can topple a lake's ecosystem and cause problems with manmade structures, such as inflow and outflow pipes and docks. They hitch rides on boats or recreational equipment and are introduced to lakes and ponds unless the apparatus is thoroughly cleaned.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.