Much at stake at Berlin Pond
After having read the May 23 article “Berlin Pond neighbors push to stem ‘invasion,’” I really am surprised the lengths people will go to protect their own equities. Berlin Pond belongs to all Vermonters. Those who live adjacent to the pond have been the primary beneficiaries of the pond’s existence and its bucolic views unsullied by other Vermonters for a hundred years, but that doesn’t convey “ownership” or “stewardship” of this shared resource upon them.
Fortunately, through the brave and selfless advocacy of a few the Supreme Court has now corrected the abuse of power that kept all Vermonters from access to their shared birthright.
Unfortunately, now those who benefited from the previous abuses seek to restore their enviable position through indefensible actions such as posting “No Parking” signs without the force of law behind them and other shenanigans.
Reasonable restrictions, such as those seen for other public waters used for both recreation and water supply, may be called for but the proposed underhanded tactics highlight just how much some people are willing to abuse the rights of their fellow Vermonters in order to preserve their view. That being said preserving Vermonters’ access to their public property should not fall solely upon the shoulders of Berlin. Instead of railing against the exercise of common rights, an appropriate response would be to apply pressure to Montpelier to shoulder their share.
An access scheme, well thought out and accounting for both environmental concerns and the rights of Vermonters to enjoy this shared resource, would do much to alleviate concerns. But only if the fortunate few who live along the pond’s border accept that their exclusive enjoyment of the pond is at an end.
Patrick Cashman ShelburneMORE IN Letters
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