Sunapee Boat Launch Again Hits the Courts

Sep 14, 2017

A group of New Hampshire residents and sportsmen’s organizations is suing the Department of Environmental Services over boat access on Lake Sunapee.

The suit comes after Gov. Chris Sununu pulled the plug earlier this year on a decades-long plan for boat access at what’s known as the Wild Goose site on the lake’s southern shore. He did so by choosing to not renew a wetlands permit for the site.

The complaint, filed in Sullivan County Superior Court, argues that DES, not the governor, has the authority to decide on that permit.

“This is setting a dangerous precedent for who manages our wildlife resources in this state,” said Don Clarke, former Fish and Game commissioner and president of Sullivan County Sportsmen, a plaintiff in the case. “Whether it’s the Fish and Game Department, where the professionals reside, or whether it’s the governor who can change with every election.”

The Fish and Game Commission pushed back against the governor’s decision earlier this summer with a public letter. The Commissioners argued the governor was weighing the demands of the wealthy individuals who live near the site over the best interests of the public. 

In a statement, Sununu said he's working to put forward a different proposal that he says will provide better access to Lake Sunapee.