Belmont Town News
By Richard Lenfest
Town Office hours are Monday 1-6 p.m., Tuesday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. and Wednesday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Board of Selectmen meets Tuesdays 7-9 p.m. Code Enforcement hours are Tuesday 7-9 p.m. or by appointment. The Town Office phone number is 342-5722, and the fax number is 342-2252. Code Enforcement is 632-4741.
How times change!
It was just over two decades ago, maybe 22 or 23 years, when there was great turmoil in Camden; the Snow Bowl was not paying its way most years and the taxpayers of Camden were having to pick up the slack. This was at the time that the late Ken Bailey was leaving the employment of the Camden Parks & Recreation Dept., and his position as director was being advertised to be filled. I attended a few of the meetings of the Board of Selectmen. Rick Rector was chairman, and there was considerable unrest regarding the status of the Snow Bowl for the future. There was discussion of various proposals for increase of revenues by adding activities that would generate year-round income.
It appears that much of this was successful, as there is now under way a major fundraising program for a substantial expansion of the Snow Bowl facilities, including a new base lodge and new and improved snow-making equipment, among other things. If the basic fundraising reaches its goal of more than $4 million, the town of Camden will add another $2 million or $2.5 million to the expansion funds. As of the time of this column, it appears that the fundraising will be successful.
The U.s. National Toboggan Championship at the Snow Bowl has been so successful that it is garnering national attention, being featured in magazine articles and on TV news programs. An up-and-coming edition of "Chronicle" that airs on WCVB Channel 5 of Boston will feature the Snow Bowl toboggan chute, probably during the month of February. "Chronicle" can be found all over New England on any cable or satellite system that carries WCVB Channel 5 programming.
The turmoil in Camden two decades ago goes with the territory of public ownership of a ski area. The Snow Bowl is owned by the town of Camden. In new Hampshire, Gunstock, owned by Belknap County, has had to cut its teeth in much the same manner, becoming a year-round resort in order to get off tax rolls. it is sometimes difficult having to rely on old Mother Nature to provide enough of the white stuff that I refer to as "white gold."
Mystery of paw prints solved
At 9 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, I came across Ben Holbrook's article on possible mountain lion tracks in Belfast's Grove Cemetery. At 9:15 I called Belfast City Councilor Eric Sanders to get more information and spoke to his wife. I was informed that the paw prints included the toenails, indicative of canine (dog) family origin. The canine family includes, in addition to our beloved pets, coyotes and wolves. It is very likely that a coyote made the prints, but there are many larger domesticated dogs around.
Feline (cat) family prints do not show the toenails. Mountain lion prints are very similar to those of the bobcat, except for size. Mountain lion prints are generally 3 to 3.5 inches across and toe to heel. Lynx prints are also similar to bobcat and about the same size, except the pads are not as well defined, because of the extra fur that allows a lynx to move more freely in snow. Also, a mountain lion or cougar on the run will have its rear paws just about overlap the prints left by the front paws.