Maine Alliance for Road Associations
Our Home Owners Association (a non-profit corporation) exists to maintain our camp road into the pond where our camps are located. The pond is located in two counties (Penobscot and Hancock) with three municipalities surrounding the pond. In 2008 our by-laws were amended to include a new section: PERSONAL WATER CRAFT. It states “Members of the Association shall not operate personal water craft on Hopkins Pond, nor allow any guest or tenant to operate a personal water craft on Hopkins Pond.” Is this enforceable (for the camp owners in our association)? I know we can’t enforce this rule on non-association members. The association also owns the public boat landing lot. A committee will be reviewing the by-laws and question if this section should be removed. Thank you.
I don't think the road association would have the jurisdiction to do that. However you might be able to prohibit bringing personal watercraft in over the road.
There is a list of ponds where personal watercraft are prohibited in 12 MRS 12071-A, which governs the operation of personal watercraft. Here's a link:
You could try contacting the Penobscot and Hancock Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, or any local Lake Association, to see if they have any suggestions. I did find some information about the pond here:
I don't know if this would help you any: Look up 12 MRS section 685-C (10) which says
10. Operating a personal watercraft. Operating a personal watercraft is prohibited on the following categories of great ponds:
A. Great ponds located entirely or partly within the jurisdiction of the commission that are identified in an official comprehensive land use plan adopted by the commission pursuant to subsection 1 as being not accessible within 1/4 mile by 2-wheel drive vehicles, with less than one development unit per mile, and at least one outstanding resource value; [PL 1997, c. 739, §1 (NEW).]
B. Great ponds located entirely or partly within the jurisdiction of the commission that are identified in an official comprehensive land use plan adopted by the commission as being accessible within 1/4 mile by 2-wheel drive vehicles, with less than one development unit per mile, with 2 or more outstanding resource values in fisheries, wildlife, scenic or shore character; [PL 1997, c. 739, §1 (NEW).]
C. Great ponds and smaller ponds located entirely or partly within the jurisdiction of the commission that are identified in an official comprehensive land use plan adopted by the commission as being not accessible within 1/2 mile by 2-wheel drive vehicles, with no more than one noncommercial remote camp and with a cold water game fishery; and [PL 1997, c. 739, §1 (NEW).]
D. Great ponds with less than all but more than 2/3 of their surface area in or partly in the jurisdiction of the commission that are identified as being of statewide significance in the "Maine Wildlands Lake Assessment" dated June 1, 1987 prepared by the commission, with 2 or more outstanding resource values in fisheries, wildlife, scenic or shore character and with more than 1/2 of their shoreline in public and private conservation ownership with guaranteed public access for low-impact public recreation. [PL 1997, c. 739, §1 (NEW).]
Here's a link: https://legislature.maine.gov/legis/statutes/12/title12sec685-C.html
Hope this helps.
Roberta, thank you for the information and state weblinks. This led me on a deep dive (more than I anticipated!) on the subject and I thought I would update the membership on what I learned. There are two important lake studies the state conducted which impact the use/prohibition of jet skis. The first study, Maine Wildlands Lake Assessment, June 1987, identifies great ponds which have natural resources (six categories are described) in unorganized territories. https://www.maine.gov/dep/land/sitelaw/wind/mwla.pdf The second study, Maine’s Finest Lakes, October 1989, identifies great ponds using the same criteria as the Wildlands Lake Assessment in organized townships. As stated in Maine’s Finest Lakes study, page 5, the two studies were merged.https://www.maine.gov/dep/land/sitelaw/wind/finest-lakes.pdf
At the end of your message you cited a law https://legislature.maine.gov/legis/statutes/12/title12sec685-C.html # 10 which specifies great ponds are prohibited from using personal watercraft if the pond is listed in the Wildlands Lake Study along with meeting other criteria. According to the game warden lieutenant I spoke with, no game warden would know about this statute which would make it hard to enforce. The lieutenant is going to further research this law as he was unfamiliar with it. Again, thank you for your comment and in-depth information.
Molly - Good work! I'm glad you had time to delve into it more than I did. I do see that Hopkins Pond is one of the Great Ponds listed in that study. So now the question is whether it meets the "other criteria" to protect it from jet skis. I'll be interested to learn what your contact finds out when he looks into it. Keep us posted!
This highlights one of the problems that the Abandoned and Discontinued Roads Commission has seen, which is that there are so many laws (and such complicated ones,) that often law enforcement doesn't know what they can or cannot enforce. The Maine Statutes used to fit in two volumes - now they take up two shelves. It's not a bad idea when you call in law enforcement to have a copy of the relevant statutes that you can hand to them. But then it's a question of whether they will have time to look into how the statute applies.
I have some training and information about fresh water issues I can try to offer and those who have boats may have more information. I believe the intention of preventing the use of water crafts on your pond/lake may need some clarity. If there is milfoil or other invasive plants that are destroying your water, then a watercraft will make it worse. If there is an algae issue or other water quality issues, then that too can make it worse with a watercraft. I recommend you contact https://www.lakestewardsofmaine.org/ as they deal with the DEP and towns about water quality issues.
The other issue is if the watercraft is too close to land and if the boat has a permit. If the boat doesn't have a permit sticker then it's an illegal boat and can be reported to the game warden. In terms of motor boats, being close to land this is another issue. Some motor crafts make waves on the water. Some areas on fresh water have no wake zone. When the owner of the watercraft (with a motor) obtains their annual permit from the town, they get a booklet that discusses the rules about no wake zones. There is a law about no wake zones to prevent shoreline erosion. In this situation you need to have a NO WAKE ZONE clearly marked. If the water craft goes fast enough to make a wake and the wake hits a shoreline this could be a violation which is reported to the game warden.
The Maine Alliance for Road Associations