Editors, Vineyard Gazette;

I have lived on and studied Lake Tashmoo since I was a young boy more than 70 years ago. I spent hours swimming and scuba diving on the lake and observing and collecting all manner of wild life. I remember from those days the eelgrass, pipefish, blue claws, oysters on the groins, steamers, razors, and quahogs, thousands of baby scallops, moon shells, horseshoe crabs, sea worms of all sorts, schools of small fish and much more. It was a healthy and productive environment from which many Islanders supplemented their incomes. Over the years, I have seen Lake Tashmoo slowly degrade to what we have now, a mere shadow of a once vibrant eco system.

Lake Tashmoo is not dead, but it is on life support.

We need to do what we can restore the lake to what is was. We also need to let boaters use Lake Tashmoo for recreation in ways that minimize their environmental impact. The current approach is not working.

From my house at the end of Northern Pines Road I have counted 150 or more boats anchored on a summer weekend. As far as I can tell, these boaters contribute nothing to the Island’s economy. They do, however, create significant costs, both financial and environmental, in enforcing regulations and cleaning up the bottles, cans and other trash they leave behind. Moreover, they make a lot of noise, clam without licenses, occasionally trespass and sometimes even worse. Most damaging, they pollute the lake with oil and gas, human waste,and all manner of other substances. Their anchors tear up the lake bed, preventing eel grass from taking hold.

The list could go on.

I am not a proponent of banning them outright, just controlling them within reasonable and sustainable limits and reducing their environmental impact as much as possible. I favor an approach that limits their numbers, controls their behavior and protects the lake. Any plan similar to the one proposed by the waterways committee will have my support.

Tweed Roosevelt

Vineyard Haven