Sunday, January 22, 2017

Open Letter to NJ Boat Regulation Commission Chair about Proposed Lake Hopatcong Rules

January 22, 2017

Dear Mr. Harrison:

This comment pertains to proposed rules under 13:82-3.11(l), the comment period closing on February 3rd, 2017.

First I want to say I understand that the feelings people have about parties in Byram Cove must be very strong to have come this far. My opposition to the measure proposed is not in disrespect. However, as often has happened down the line of what largely amounts to our unfortunate history going back to the ancient Romans, the measure in response to the complaint creates more suffering than the grievances that led to it, and for people completely innocent of the situation in question, because what amounts to governmental power takes a sweeping approach convenient to its own status quo, not a measured approach specifically addressing the real problem.

I speak for Lake Hopatcong anglers like myself. Far and away, most of us respect property owners’ privacy and don’t crowd anyone’s presence by anchoring close, and besides, many acres of Lake Hopatcong shoreline don’t involve openly visible property concerns such as decks, backyards, and boathouses. Our motives are innocent. We come to Lake Hopatcong as on religious pilgrimage, to escape the stresses of a secular world increasingly hostile to human life. Here on Lake Hopatcong we find this world and planet open to free activity that makes us more who we really are, and so we return to everyday stresses better enabled to make positive differences, rather than to further succumb to what increasingly suggests destructive demise. By and large as we fish, we never run into qualms with property owners. On the contrary, curiosity expressed between property owners and fishermen tends to be friendly, as we expect of a community, but perhaps less and less of institutions under duress of other burdens.

So we oppose the measure to limit anchoring 200 feet or further from shore between May 15th and September 15th of a given calendar year.

The best anglers understand that people from all walks of life, including the most burdensome, are human beings like themselves. And to err is human. A wise observation of Shakespeare that goes to the very root of his tragedies. We, however, are Americans. We recognize that we err, but we do not easily buy into tragedy. Why is this? Because unlike earlier ages that suffered errors they did not recognize and correct, we like to think mistakes needn’t incur guilt, so long as corrected.

Bruce Edward Litton 

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