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Moody Pond is a resource for all of us

Three years have passed since invasive Eurasian Watermilfoil was discovered in Moody Pond, two years since the Friends of Moody Pond was organized to address this threat to the health of the pond, and one year since our first annual fundraiser. The fundraiser was a huge success and this summer, we were able to hire divers to begin the multi-year task of restoring the pond.

The Friends of Moody Pond owes its success to the visitors, community members, and tourists who recognize what a wonderful and precious asset we have under our stewardship. Our second annual fundraiser has rolled ’round and with it the awkward but necessary practice of soliciting donations from friends, family, businesses and visitors.

I received an email response to my solicitation from a good and imminently reasonable friend that stopped me in my tracks.

“Steve”, she wrote “I must admit it makes me feel uncomfortable that some residents are implying that the public is not really welcome to walk the neighborhood but is more than welcome to donate to save the pond.” Her concerns arose from reports of a recent meeting, organized by a village trustee to address issues of parking and traffic safety on the pond, a meeting described to me as contentious and counterproductive.

It is an incontrovertible fact that there are parking issues that impact property owners in the immediate vicinity of the popular Baker Mountain trailhead. These neighbors have legitimate cause for concern. The Town of St. Armand has responded to their concerns with what some of us, including some of those directly impacted, feel to be excessive and unwelcoming signage, along with the issuance of parking tickets. I speak for myself, but it is my sense that most of us on the pond feel these responses to be unwarranted in their excess and many have made their voices heard.

We’re neighbors though and hopefully we can find common ground and compromise. However, the impression that visitors are not welcome to Moody Pond should not be allowed to stand.

The outspoken few at the meeting in question feel justified in their expressed anger and frustration with visitors to the pond. Their concerns are legitimate, and they are entitled to their opinions. But they are a minority in the pond community and not representative of the larger community. They are not associated with the not-for-profit Friends of Moody Pond, a group focused on restoring and preserving Moody Pond for the enjoyment of all in the community.

The Friends of Moody Pond welcome you to recreate in this iconic, park-like setting, one unique to Saranac Lake. Walkers will find a roadside welcome bench in front of our home near Henessey Way and another at the foot of Labrador Lane. Please stop, rest, and enjoy the view. For drivers, please respect the private roadside properties near Baker Mountain and consider parking elsewhere when it is busy.

Use caution around our blind curves and drive slowly.

But please, do not be discouraged from visiting. This is part of your community. The majority of Moody Pond residents welcome you. And help us celebrate a successful year by coming to our Moody Pond Challenge Ice Cream Social on today, Aug. 7. For more information, go to www.friendsofmoodypond.org.

Steven Sonnenberg is a Saranac Lake resident.

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