Berlin Pond meeting Tuesday night - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Berlin Pond meeting Tuesday night

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A contentious issue is back up for debate Tuesday night about whether the public should have recreational access to Berlin Pond.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is holding a public meeting on a petition that would make it illegal to fish, boat or swim there.

The pond is Montpelier's drinking water source but the Supreme Court ruled two years ago the city could not prevent access to recreational use.

Now a citizens group is pushing to change the state's Use of Public Waters rules specific to Berlin Pond.

"I love to canoe and kayak. I'm willing to take it somewhere else because it is a water source, but why I did it is because I honestly feel called to protect it. I feel if we're able to have it, and we're able to see it and be surrounded by this incredible beauty, it's an obligation to protect it as well," said Melissa Perley from Citizens to Protect Berlin Pond.

"These Laws were created years ago by our ancestors and they gave us the right to use public waters. It's a constitutional right, it's in Vermont state law and DEC helps uphold that," said Rick Barnett, fighting for public access.

The City of Montpelier is pursuing a separate, less restrictive petition that would outlaw ice fishing shanties and gas engines like those used in ice augers.

Tuesday night's meeting is at Berlin Elementary School from 6 to 8.

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