To the editor: On Lowell Lake overnight camping

Renovating the cottages at Lowell Lake and returning them to overnight service is a good idea. The event barn is a good idea too. Wouldn’t it be lovely to attend a music event at Lowell Lake or let people get married there?

Lowell Lake is a manmade lake that has hosted visitors in its cottages and buildings from the 1880s through the 1980s. The waterfront was fully developed with roads, buildings and infrastructure. There were islands for people to canoe to and hiking trails and get-a-ways for people to escape to.

From 1980 on, after the retreat was unable to sustain itself, Londonderry has enjoyed its own personal private park at Lowell Lake, a quiet secret administered by the State of Vermont and used for free by people in the know, but that is not the norm.

I have been lucky to live in South Londonderry since the 1980s and to have raised my children here. As a family, we have gone on countless canoe trips on the lake and enjoyed hiking, snowshoeing and skiing around the lake for years.

We would explore the cabins and buildings and wonder about the fun people had during summers gone by.  I feel strongly that Lowell Lake is a special place that needs to be enjoyed and protected by all. The state’s plan does just that. It limits overnight stays to existing areas and preserves the natural beauty around the lake while returning some of the buildings to their original use as overnight camps where visitors could enjoy Lowell Lake’s waterfront.

Since the 1980s Londonderry has been in decline. Hotels and inns have closed, restaurants have closed, the school population has declined and new construction is almost non-existent.

We need new visitors to help slow or stop the decline, improve our tax base and keep our town and school viable.

Sharing our beautiful resource with the rest of the state as we did in the past is an excellent way to encourage people to come visit, spend their money here and maybe even settle down here.

It simply isn’t right, or smart, to keep Lowell Lake to ourselves by limiting parking and banning overnight use. Returning Lowell Lake to overnight service is a good thing. It is good for our area and it is good for people who want to enjoy the natural beauty of Vermont.


Doug Friant
South Londonderry

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  1. Stephen Coombs says:

    Lowell Lake is a very small lake that is very unique in Vermont being both undeveloped and easy to access. The long-term value to our town is keep it a day use experience for visitors and residents.

    Taking your son or daughter out in the evening to learn to fish, hear the loons calling and savoring the quiet is worth defending. Walk the lake in the late afternoon and you could be on a wilderness lake in Maine, yet only minutes from Londonderry center.

    Running a cabin rental operation on the lake shore does not help homeowners and hotel owners who may want to rent the places, the noise and limitations on access only takes away from the day users experience.

    Once you go down the development path, the lake will never be the same. The lake has recovered from past exploitation, we now have the opportunity to preserve it for future generations.

  2. Randy Miles says:

    Will overnight camping fix our economy? It would be a move in the right direction for sure! What would we gain with overnight camping? We would have far more people come to our area and spend money. We would have far more people enjoy this resource with family and friends then with out overnight camping.

    We would have Lowell Lake protected by the state parks department. Who is doing that now and in the future? We would have less tax burden by money raised for having overnight camping then without it. It is far better to share this beautiful landscape with others rather then keep it for the few!

    Think of it this way. What if every state park said no and there were no parks to be seen anywhere? This is a good thing we have here and it should be shared and seen. If we do not share this site then what do we call ourselves? thanks

  3. Doug Friant says:

    Londonderry survives on tourism. With very little other income, vacationers and second home owners are our bread and butter. No one here is getting rich on tourist dollars, gleaning a few more is exactly what we need to do. We do not have developers knocking down the doors to invest in Londonderry. Returning Lowell Lake to its original purpose in an environmentally friendly way is smart. It won’t ruin the lake. It will make it better and allow more people to enjoy it responsibly.

    If we build it, they will come. In our declining economy, that is good for Londonderry.

  4. Robert Nied says:

    Lowell Lake was enjoyed by 15,000 people last year. Many of them from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. While they are in the area they stay at local motels and inns or in some cases in second homes for which they pay taxes. Many out-of-state visitors to Lowell Lake buy gasoline and groceries and/or eat at local restaurants. A quick check of license plates on any busy summer or fall weekend will dispel the myth that locals are “keeping Lowell Lake for themselves.” Developing Lowell Lake will not jump start the local economy. In fact, overnight lodging may very well draw people away from existing motels, inns and campgrounds. Lowell Lake attracts visitors from far away because of its quiet, natural beauty and the opportunity to observe nature and escape the more hectic environments from which many visitors come. Lowell Lake is special, but it is far from secret. There is no justifiable economic or any other reason to destroy what makes Lowell Lake special in the desperate hope of gleaning a few more tourist dollars.