Dogs on dock okay for boaters at Salmon Point Campground

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Bridgton Selectmen approved a policy change Tuesday that will allow campers with dogs at the Salmon Point Campground to bring their dogs to the dock to be loaded onto boats.

The town-owned campground’s rules had stated that no dogs are allowed on the public beach area or in the water. But that rule had become fuzzy, since the dock used by non-waterfront campers to access their boats is adjacent to the beach.

Town Manager Bob Peabody said it became apparent this summer that the rules needed to be clarified or changed. He said he met with Campground Manager Steve Gudschinsky “on a particular incident with a dog,” providing no further details. The issue became moot when the camper purchased a pontoon boat, but the need remained to clarify whether dogs would be allowed on the dock when being transferred to their boats by non-waterfront campers.

Selectman Chairman Bernie King was dubious about banning camper’s dogs from the dock, saying the dogs might pose a barking problem if they’re left behind at a campsite while their owners went boating.

Selectman Bob McHatton said he didn’t see a problem with allowing dogs on the dock “as long as (the owners) have total control of the dog and cleanup.”

Selectman Paul Hoyt, who leases a waterfront campsite at Salmon Point, said it didn’t make sense to “change a policy for one person who doesn’t have the problem any longer.”

But Peabody pointed out that now that the issue has been raised, banning dogs from the dock “would almost be discriminatory, because only waterfront campers can get to the water” with their dogs.

A question was asked about enforcement.

Gudschinsky said he is aware of which seasonal campers have dogs (two dogs are allowed per campsite, on leashes at all times), and would know if someone was trying to violate the rules.

McHatton asked other board members to consider what a private campground would do. “We want to give them one more reason to come to Salmon Point, so I move that this rule change be put in place.”

Selectman Greg Watkins said he wanted to be sensitive to campers’ needs “but also be sensitive to taxpayers using the beach. Are we putting residents at risk?”

McHatton said anyone not following the rules can be asked to leave. The vote to adopt the policy change to the rules and regulations was 3–2, with Watkins and Hoyt opposed.

In other matters:

  • Firefighter morale — McHatton suggested that Peabody should meet with Fire Chief Glen Garland on morale problems cited in the draft Fire Department Study and come back with recommendations on how to improve the situation.
  • Temporary signs — Watkins requested more enforcement to prevent temporary business signs from being placed around town, particularly on town-owned property such as the transfer station. “It’s getting out of control,” he said.
  • 250th Anniversary Committee — The board approved a charge and mission for a newly-created 250th Year Anniversary Celebration Ad Hoc Committee. The draft was amended from a five-member committee to allow a range of between five and 13 members. It was suggested the new committee be promoted on the Remember Bridgton Facebook page. McHatton said his wife, who chaired the 1994 committee, would be glad to speak to the committee about planning for the celebration.
  • Depot Street parking — Permanent “No Parking” signs have arrived and will go up this week on Depot Street to discourage on-street parking. Construction workers finishing up work on the streetscape project, who had been parking their vehicles on the street, will be asked to park in the town’s parking lot.
Please follow and like us: