ATV and snowmobiles sit near the frozen boat launch on Wilson Lake at the Hollandstrong Ice Fishing Derby, which took place on Saturday, Jan. 27. Several vehicles have made their way onto the ice, some of which stretch the weight restrictions recommended for the level of thickness for the ice, prompting concerned resident Louise Hiltz to speak to the Select Board. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

WILTON — During the public comment portion of the recent Wilton Board of Selectpersons meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 6, Wilton resident Louise Hiltz shared her concerns about the level of activity on Wilson Lake and the thickness of the ice.

“We aren’t able to predict what kinds of winters we will get in coming years,” Hiltz stated. “With that in mind, I’d like to encourage the town to prepare for these unknowns. It’s already common to measure ice and decide accordingly, how much weight can be brought out.

“However, different people making different observations about those conditions often reach different conclusions,” she added.

Hiltz referenced the recent Hollandstrong Ice Fishing Derby, which took place on Wilson Lake on Saturday, Jan. 27. While the event went off without a hitch, event organizer Deb Roberts shared concerns over the level of freezing that would need to occur on Wilson Lake to allow the event to take place.

Roberts had provided updates on the event through the Facebook page, writing on Saturday, Jan. 13, “The big question once again this year is whether or not we will have enough ice by derby day – at this point we are moving forward with planning as though we will. With that said, however, we are constantly monitoring ice conditions and will make a final decision based on the ice conditions on [Wednesday, Jan. 24].”

Hiltz suggested ideas to the Select Board, such as requiring flotation devices for people using heavy equipment and weight limits on what kind of vehicles people can bring out onto the frozen lake bed.


“I’m not saying that any of these ideas are feasible,” Hiltz stated. “I just offered them to illustrate the concept of thinking about ways to ensure that frozen lake activities are done responsibly so that people can enjoy them as much as possible.”

“I certainly get your point of seeing lots of vehicles, heavy vehicles, 10 and a half pickups, all in a small area,” Vice-Chair Mike Wells stated. ” And I’m just surprised they didn’t go through. I’ve heard that we’ve only got about eight inches of ice out there.”

On their website, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife listed the minimum permissible weight for light trucks [at two and half tons] at eight inches, with heavy trucks [at ten tons] requiring 15 inches.

Wells stated the Select Board could reach out to MDIFW to provide more signage to better illustrate the level of thickness required to bring certain vehicles, whether they be snowmobiles or heavy trucks, on to the ice.

“It’s better to be proactive than reactive,” Wells stated.

In other business, the Select Board has selected the replacement for Frank Donald as director of Wilton Parks and Recreation. However, the announcement was tabled to the next meeting due to an illness that prevented the new director from appearing at the meeting.

Donald announced he would be stepping down from the role in November of last year. Donald’s last official day in the role was on Friday, Feb. 2, but he will still be around in some capacity.

“I would certainly be very interested, if it is deemed appropriate, to come back and work under whoever and, you know, mow a field now and again, do a little weed whacking, referee some soccer games or a basketball game and be involved,” he said at the meeting in November.

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