To the editor: Keep Lowell Lake camping-free

The following letter was written and sent to Vermont state legislators.

I reside in Londonderry. When my husband I made the decision to retire here, Lowell Lake was one of the reasons for selecting Londonderry for our home.

For me, moving here meant giving up access to the ocean and the protected Trustee Reservation properties of the North Shore of Massachusetts. Knowing Lowell Lake was there for long walks, swimming and kayaking helped me compromise to meet my husband’s wish to live in Vermont.

Like the Trustees of the Reservation properties in Massachusetts, Lowell Lake is a place of natural beauty where I can find quiet and peacefulness even on busy summer weekends, when we all need to escape the heat and busyness of our lives. The wildlife, the woodland plants and the cool, clear water provide a refuge to us all.

People who visit Lowell show concern and care for the environment as well as being respectful of each other. Even more, everyone is friendly to each other. I believe it’s the quality of the environment that brings a sense of calm and kindness to its visitors. It’s as though one goes into low-gear upon parking the car and walking down the trail.

I’ve talked with many Lowell Lake visitors and we all would be happy to pay a yearly fee and/or a parking fee for use of this property. There are many ways that the state can generate revenue and, at the same time, preserve Lowell Lake as a jewel that it is. In fact, its unique character is one reason for tourists to visit and spend money in our community — all of which benefits Vermont and our need for additional revenues.

Turning Lowell Lake into a campground will have a negative impact on all the qualities I have described. Overnight lodging will disrupt wildlife, lead to degradation of plant life and, most of all, create a constant flow of people and activity.

The local area has both Hapgood and Winhall campgrounds, which already provide the camping experience proposed by Vermont Forests, Parks and Recreation. The intensity of traffic and people at these campgrounds is diametrically opposed to the sense of peacefulness that Lowell offers. What we need is to keep Lowell Lake as a natural jewel that it is. If anything we need more “Lowell Lakes” for greater equanimity,

I hope you will reconsider the Lowell Lake State Park proposal for overnight camping. We all agree that the current Lowell Lake State Park needs improved parking and visitor management. And we agree that Vermont should charge visitors for use of this beautiful property.

I feel there are many creative ways for Vermont to meet its goals for increased tourist revenues by promoting Lowell Lake as the park to visit and experience “Vermont.” As described by TripAdvisor, and many other “come to VT” sites, visitors are looking for our bucolic and natural beauty environment for all that they love to do. Lowell Lake provides all of this and more.


Gail Mann

Editor’s Note: The state will present the Lowell Lake State Park Master Planning Project from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 25 at the Londonderry Town Hall,  137 Middletown Road in South Londonderry. 

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  1. Doug Friant says:

    Much like the Burlington waterfront, Bernie Sanders’ crowning achievement, opening up Lowell Lake to the broader public with events and overnight visitors will not generate tax revenue directly. What it will do is encourage people to come to the area, spend their money and perhaps settle down here. That will help create the growth that we so desperately need.

    Wouldn’t it be lovely to attend a music event at Lowell Lake or allow people to get married there overlooking the water as they do at Kingsland Bay State Park in Ferrisburg? People need a reason to come to Londonderry.

    The state is giving us a great opportunity to welcome more people to our area in a thoughtful way. We should take advantage of the opportunity rather than try to keep visitors away.

    We can’t have it both ways. We can’t try to keep visitors away by limiting parking, events and overnight guests and expect our area to grow at the same time. What we can do is encourage Lowell Lake to return to its past, in an environmentally conscious way, so more people can enjoy its splendor.

  2. Robert Nied says:

    I agree with Cynthia Gubb that economic development is sorely needed in Londonderry. The impediment to that development however, is not the absence of a resort environment at Lowell Lake (in fact, Londonderry already has a strong resort identity, it is the lack of water and sewer infrastructure that prevents new business growth in the north and south villages.)

    Converting Lowell Lake from a relatively natural and tranquil regional resource into something quite different will not remove the roadblocks to growth. Only a significant investment in town infrastructure will do it and that requires tax money, something Lowell Lake State Park can’t help with.

  3. Doug Friant says:

    Thank you Gail for your beautifully written words and your well-thoughtout arguments for preserving Lowell Lake in its current form, while recognizing that we all need to step up and support the lake financially if it is to be preserved. Your thoughts on keeping Lowell Lake as it is, without allowing overnight camping are the best I have heard. I also love the serenity of the lake and have found a private spot, just off the walking trail, where I like to sit and meditate.

    I do support overnight and event use for Lowell Lake however. I don’t think it will affect the serenity of the more out-of-the way parts of the park at all, and I believe that it will bring in much needed revenue as well as new supporters of the lake who will also wish to preserve it.

    Lowell Lake is a beautiful resource in the town of Londonderry. It is a place that should be shared with others who also want to enjoy nature, and perhaps move to Vermont as so many of us have.

  4. Penelope King says:

    The Lake is indeed a special place, serene and tranquil with abundant wildlife & diverse habitats. Tourists and visitors come to Vermont for these very qualities not for development. As a property owner adjacent to the Lake there is concern about the additional traffic, noise and light pollution overnight use will bring to residents along Lowell Lake Road and to the Lakes wildlife. I urge the State to choose Day Use only.

  5. Randy Miles says:

    I would agree with John’s and Cynthia’s response. This is a very special place but it did and does still have a campground on it. As a whole, the state and parks that are every place do a pretty darn good job of dealing with the issues that will come up and be there.

    My point as well, is that just having a parking fee is not enough by itself to keep this place safe or fund it. By using the campground that is there now would bring in much needed revenue and allow more people to see and use this resource. The only other way is for a individual with very, very deep pockets who would be willing to buy and donate the land. But we would still have the cost to police and maintain this land.

    I see the state or park service as the best means of protecting and making availability to the public for use and enjoyment. Would it be better if this land was bought by a developer or private estate? Then none of us would be able to enjoy it. I hike with my family here and each time when going through the campsite. I imagine how nice it must of been to camp there and why was it not saved? Just my thoughts, thanks

  6. John Merrow says:

    I believe the state could impact the community in a positive way with overnight camping, offer many incentives to grow and provide great outdoor experiences to the way it was when it had a lodge and cabins with tent sites

  7. Beverly Hart says:

    Gail, I take offense to your continuous use of “we all.” It is not we all.

  8. Cynthia Gubb says:

    I believe we should give the state a chance to present its proposal. Perhaps it is a really thoughtful, innovative design that addresses many of the current needs of the parks and plans for better management going forward.

    Lowell Lake is a state property, is open to all Vermonters and out-of-state visitors. It is not a private park for the sole use of locals.

    Perhaps a complete facelift and new direction for the park could benefit local businesses, employ some of our young people in the summer, offer educational programs to our schools and child-care centers so our youth can better understand the importance of our natural world.

    Give the state a chance to present its ideas. How about keeping an open mind and embrace some new ideas? Londonderry could use a boost and redevelopment of the park could be the start to some other redevelopment – some other new investments in town that are sorely needed.

  9. Joshua Wright says:

    Can an out-of-state former Vermonter cast a vote to keep Lowell Lake free from camping?

  10. Maya Drummond says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Gail.