|A generous grant of $7,000 from the Nine Wicket
Fund, through the Maine Community Foundation,
will be used to grow programs focused on reducing
dangers and improving water quality on Little
Sebago Lake. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Pandemic worries in the summer of 2020 brought a diverse population to the lake from far and wide to enjoy a healthy natural environment in lieu of mass gatherings or travel adventures. Day trips for outdoor recreation were one of the few avenues available for many people to get away from the life-changing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because Little Sebago offers a clean and healthy environment with public boating access, it recognized a significant increase in visitors to the lake during the pandemic.
“The number of boats recorded entering the lake at the public launch increased by 43 percent and the number of boats stopped for violations or inspections increased by 57 percent,” said Pam Wilkinson, president of the lake association. “Existing programs addressing water quality and boating safety will need to expand this summer to accommodate the increased surface use. LSLA was fortunate to have Board Assistant, Sharon Young, apply for this grant.”
LSLA is looking forward to welcoming families who wish to leave their city bubbles and spend a day or a week in the outdoors enjoying the lake again in 2021, yet at the same time this place of respite must be safe for all and must not negatively impact health of the lake ecosystem.
This grant will allow LSLA to expand contracted Warden coverage and safety patrol hours on the lake, and to provide additional shifts of courtesy boat inspections (for invasive plants) at the public launch site.
Little Sebago Lake Association’s mission is to protect, restore and improve our Lake’s water quality and fragile ecosystem.
Wilkinson said that the Association creates and nurtures a community of lake stewards, educates users on lake safety, and is always mindful that human needs must be balanced with the needs of the natural environment. The success of this mission is dependent on fund raising and voluntary contributions from the lake community.
Special funding from grants, such as this, is essential for expanding programs and to address new or unexpected needs.
LSLA is grateful that Nine Wicket Fund chose to support LSLA in expanding programs to meet the expected increase in use throughout the coming summer season, Wilkinson said. <