by Esther J. Perne
At the East Pond Association meeting in Oakland this summer, three camps received distinguished LakeSmart awards, particularly for reducing runoff into the lake, and among them they represent the range of fishing, lodging and youth camps that have provided the rhythm of the Belgrades for well over a century.
The three camps: Alden Camps, Camp Manitou, and Sadulsky's Camps are part of East Pond's unique heritage. They also are part of a unique "clean water" future.
Alden Camps, founded in 1911, is a traditional fishing camp — one of four left in the Belgrade chain — with sleeping cabins near the lake and a central dining room with a meal plan. In a way fishing camps took over where the grand hotels on the lakes left off. They provided, and still do, the opportunity for families to vacation together while enjoying individual recreational pursuits. In addition to LakeSmart award for work accomplished on their waterfront, Alden Camps also was cited for a cumulative 5-year contribution of nearly $25,000 to East Pond's Courtesy Boat Inspector fund from guests responding to a line item on Alden Camps' billing form asking if they would like to donate.
Sadulsky's Camps, founded in 1948, offers completely furnished housekeeping cottages on the lake where guests cook their own meals. Such camps became very popular with the advent of the family automobile and improved roads. Sadulsky's has received a LakeSmart Letter of Commendation for work accomplished in preventing runoff.
Camp Manitou, founded in 1947, is an overnight camp for boys with an emphasis on sports and waterfront activities, camping, arts and enrichment programs. While providing memories of a lifetime for innumerable campers, Camp Manitou is also providing the standards of LakeSmart. Although there are and have been — one historic count lists a total of 20 — other camps on East Pond that are a vital part of the lake community, the award recipients at the lake association meeting this summer are especially significant because, following last summer's alum treatment to prevent algae blooms, East Pond — and all of the Belgrade lakes — are entering a new era.
As presented by Mel Croft, Director of LakeSmart for East Pond: the alum treatment is done; what do we do next? We do LakeSmart, which includes installing buffers, creating canopies, diverting runoff, mulching bare soil areas and pathways and updating septic systems. Being LakeSmart is keeping phosphorus out of the lake. And, being LakeSmart is helping the alum treatment to last.
LakeSmart, according to Mel, is about recognition. Some properties on East Pond are already LakeSmart, many are close, many more are being worked on and three camps received recognition at the annual meeting: Alden, Manitou, and Sadulsky's.