Current News

From state laws to local happenings, keep up on what’s new around the lake, the town, and the state.

Potential Regulation of Wake Boats – September 2022

The link below will take you to H. 503, legislation introduced in the Vermont House of Representatives in the 2022 legislative session to regulate wake boats. The legislature did not take action on this bill, however, it is expected that it will be reintroduced in 2023.

Click here to see H. 503 as drafted

On March 9,2022, the VT Department of Environmental Conservation published a petition submitted by a citizens group known as Responsible Wakes for Vermont Lakes asking for consideration to manage wake boats and their activities in lakes and ponds. The petition calls for wake boats for wakeboarding and wake surfing to be permitted only in areas where the distance from shore is greater than 1,000 feet, the water depth is greater than 20 feet, and the area of the water body is more than 60 contiguous acres. SLA did not take a formal position or sign the petition.

The petition was published for public comment and two public hearings were held. One in Richmond on June 29 and another in Manchester on July 7th. Copies of the petition and notes from the public hearings are at the following link (the petition is about halfway down the page when displayed):
https://dec.vermont.gov/watershed/lakes-ponds/rulemaking

At the public hearings the state advised that should the petition be implemented as presented, only 15 lakes (including Seymour) would be large enough to meet the limitations proposed in the petition. This raised concerns to us that this would greatly increase the traffic of wake boats to Seymour. As it is impossible to remove all the water from the ballasts of wake boats, this would also greatly increase the likelihood that the boats could transport invasive species such as Eurasian Milfoil and Zebra Mussels to our lake. As a result, SLA submitted formal comments to the state expressing our concerns. Several of the other 15 lakes have also expressed similar concerns and are working together to request a meeting with the state to offer alternatives to the petition’s proposed restrictions. SLA is participating in this process.

Potential Reclassification of Seymour Lake to A(1)

A (1) RECLASSIFICATION UPDATE – JULY 2022

As a result of input from several lake associations, including SLA, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has agreed that the statutory restriction regarding new septic systems in A(1) watersheds (limited to 1,000 gpd capacity) is no longer appropriate. Originally conceived as helpful to limit development in high elevations, it has become a barrier for A (1) reclassification in part because new technology can clean septic discharge better than the technology which was in place when the statute was written. ANR worked to obtain a change to this restriction in the 2022 legislative session but was unsuccessful.

Four NEK lakes (Maidstone, Caspian, Echo and Shadow) have submitted A (1) petitions to the state. These lakes have all experienced increasing phosphorous levels in recent years, hence their sense of urgency in moving forward with petitions.

As the outlet of Seymour Lake flows into Echo Lake, the Echo Lake watershed includes Seymour Lake’s watershed. Therefore, should Echo Lake be reclassified, Seymour Lake and its watershed would be included. For this reason it is important that SLA follow the progress of Echo’s petition. We intend to participate in any hearings and solicitation of written comments. We will also notify our members via an e-mail when comments are invited or hearings posted.

All four petitions have been determined administratively complete and are posted for the public to view on the DEC website at the following link:

https://dec.vermont.gov/watershed/lakes-ponds/reclassification

The petitions completed the Agency’s legal and technical review and were determined to have legal and technical merit. The next step would be for ANR to solicit public input via hearings and written comments. Hearings were scheduled for July but were subsequently cancelled. A final decision has been made by ANR leadership to hold off on starting the public participation phase of their review until they have worked with the legislature during the 2023 session to amend 10 VSA 1259 (d), (which is the 1,000 gpd septic limitation). They have, however, committed they will move forward with public meetings during the summer of 2023 under the existing statue if they are unsuccessful in achieving a change to the septic restriction.

At this time the SLA Board of Directors continues in our position that we do not want to seek reclassification to A (1) or be reclassified via the Echo Lake petition until such time as the septic restriction is removed or modified.

There is a possibility that as a special exception to the usual process, Echo’s petition could go forward without the inclusion of the Seymour Lake part of their watershed. Echo has offered this as an alternative that would be acceptable to them and SLA advised we would support this action. We have been advised by the state that this was considered but was not approved.

A(1) RECLASSIFICATION UPDATE – MARCH 2022

• As a result of input from several lake associations, including Seymour Lake Association (SLA), the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has agreed that the statutory restriction regarding new septic systems in A(1) watersheds (limited to 1,000 gpd capacity) is no longer appropriate. Originally conceived as helpful to limit development in high elevations, it has become a barrier for A(1) reclassification in part because new technology can clean septic discharge better than the technology which was in place when the statute was written. There is an ongoing effort by ANR to work with the Legislature in the current session to recognize the problem and work to get a legislative change to amend the current statute. SLA has written a letter of support for this action.

• Four North East Kingdom lakes (Maidstone, Caspian, Echo and Shadow) have submitted A(1) petitions to the state. These lakes have all experienced increasing phosphorous levels in recent years, hence their sense of urgency in moving forward with petitions.

• All four petitions have been determined administratively complete and are posted for the public to view on the DEC website Click here to view

• As the outlet of Seymour Lake flows into Echo Lake, the Echo Lake watershed includes Seymour Lake’s watershed. Therefore, should Echo Lake be reclassified, Seymour Lake and its watershed would be included. For this reason it is important that SLA follow the progress of Echo’s petition. We intend to participate in any hearings and solicitation of written comments. We will also notify our members via an e-mail when comments are invited or hearings posted.

• At this time the SLA Board of Directors continues in our position that we do not want to seek reclassification to A(1) or be reclassified via the Echo Lake petition until such time as the septic restriction is removed or modified. To see letter SLA sent to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources re this issue click here

• There is a possibility that as a special exception to the usual process, Echo’s petition could go forward without the inclusion of the Seymour Lake part of their watershed. Echo has offered this as an alternative that would be acceptable to them.

David Wieselmann, Director of SLA’s Invasive Patroller Program (VIPs)

Wheelchair to Kayak and Back
The David Wieselmann Story

Over the past year, The Seymour Lake Association has been involved in finding a solution for a paralyzed man, David Wieselmann, to move from his wheelchair to his kayak, unassisted by any help from his neighbors. This has been achieved by designing and building a structure with donated labor and funds from Seymour Lake residents. It is now completed and David has been using it for over 3 months. This is his story and you can see it all via links to the many photos, videos, circulated widely throughout newspapers, radio, and the internet.

Learn More Here

Vermont’s CBS affiliate, WCAX (Ch. 3) came to Seymour for the story, which aired on August 23, 2021. (click here to view)

An article appeared in the August 18th issue of the Barton Chronicle (click here to view)

NPR story by Manhattan-based radio journalist Jon Kalish on “All Things Considered” (click here to listen)

Article in the Seymour Lake May 2021 Newsletter (page 3) (click here to view)

All Morgan Town Roads Open to ATVs and UTVs

Subsequent to a March 2021 approval of the voters of Morgan (45 yes; 38 no), the Morgan Select Board voted to allow all Town roads to be open to ATVs and UTVs. For more information, (click here to view)