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Progressives, environmentalists in Vermont seek to ban human activity on lake

Progressives in Montpelier seeks to ban human activity at local lake.
Progressives in Montpelier seeks to ban human activity at local lake.
Glen Allison—Stone/Getty Images

If environmental activists and progressive politicians have their way, all human activity on Berlin Pond in Montpelier, Vermont, will be banned, Fox Nation reported Sunday, citing a report at the Vermont Watchdog. According to activists, boating, fishing, swimming and the mere existence of human beings near the lake could introduce contagions and viruses into the water supply.

The state has already banned motorized equipment from the lake, but activists say that's not enough. Now, they're demanding all human activity be banned, and at least one state politician has introduced legislation to make that happen.

“Obviously, I want to bar human activity on Berlin Pond,” said state Rep. Warren Kitzmiller, D-Montpelier. And he's not content with removing humans from Berlin Pond.

“I also want to be cognizant of similar situations that may exist in other places around the state," he added. "We’re not going to get human activity off Lake Champlain — that’s not going to happen. Yet thousands of people drink that water.”

But DEC Commissioner David Mears says the heavy-handed ban isn't required. According to Watchdog's Eric Boehm, local residents are in no danger from water-borne contagions as the water is treated.

“There would be no risk to Montpelier citizens — which include myself and my family — as a result of any additional activities,” he told WCAX. “They have a state-of-the-art system that can easily handle the contaminants that would be associated with kayakers or canoeing, bacteria or anything associated with human beings in contact with water — it’s really not an issue.”

But for area progressives, the presence of human beings is an issue. Earlier in the month, activists and politicians -- including Montpelier Mayor John Hollar -- gathered to speak out against human activity at the 360-acre pond.

“There are abundant opportunities for individuals in this area to recreate, to kayak, swim and fish," Hollar said. "In my view, there ought to be one place where nature is allowed to exist undisturbed from human activity.”

"Politicos and activists might want to take some recreational options away from Vermonters, but they’d never dream of taking away the state’s famous ice cream," Boehm said. Protesters were treated to free scoops of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, he added.

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