Homeowners association to open Hampstead pond as new fishing hole DNR to stock bass and patrol area

April 25, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

If you live in Hampstead and have a case of spring fever -- go fish.

The pond at Boxwood Drive and North Woods Trail, which belongs to the Fields Homeowners Association, will be opened to the public for fishing, association President Wayne Thomas said Friday.

"This is a heck of an asset to have," he said. "We could get some enjoyment out of it."

Mr. Thomas, who is also a Town Council candidate, said he does not know when the pond will be open for fishing.

He said he hopes to post regulations and install life preservers before the annual meeting of the homeowners association May 19.

"I'd like to get the signs up with the rules on them before we can let people fish," Mr. Thomas said.

He said the pond contains bluegills and largemouth bass.

He said he found a dead 13-inch bass while cleaning up trash at the pond three weeks ago.

"The [Department of Natural Resources] will stock it for us" with more largemouth bass, Mr. Thomas said.

He said the DNR will also patrol the pond to enforce the fishing regulations.

In addition to the recreation potential, the change may reduce the association's liability for safety at the pond, Mr. Thomas said.

According to Maryland law, he said, if a landowner opens a pond forpublic recreation at no charge, "you're not warranting that the area is safe."

Although the law provides some protection for the association, he said, "It's not going to reduce our insurance rates. . . . You still have people who are going to file suits if they have accidents," although they might not be able to win.

Mr. Thomas said he learned last week that the county has decided that several trees planted on the earthen dam that forms the pond will have to be removed.

Their roots could cause water to escape from the pond, he said.

Mr. Thomas said he opposes cutting down the trees and will contact the Hampstead Tree Commission to see if the trees can be transplanted elsewhere in town.

He said the association's board has signed a contract with Aquatic Management Consultants of Greencastle, Pa., to manage the pond.

The company will treat the pond for algae and monitor water quality.

At a homeowners association meeting Wednesday, Mr. Thomas

said, a woman expressed concern that an influx of fishermen might cause parking or trash problems.

"There's parking all up and down the streets," he said.

As for trash, Mr. Thomas said, "Most fishermen respect the water. They respect the area. They're not that type."

Kip Barkley, who lives next to the pond, said Friday, "I think it's a great idea. . . . Hopefully, it will give the youngsters something to do."

Town Manager John A. Riley also said opening the pond to fishing is a good idea.

"All kids ought to learn to fish."

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