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‘Golden Pond’ Gravel Pit Plan Wins Approval

September 26, 1991

BELGRADE, Maine (AP) _ State environmental regulators have recommended the approval of plans to carve out a gravel pit near a lake that inspired the play and movie ″On Golden Pond.″

Tilcon-Maine Inc.’s plan to dig 525,000 cubic yards of gravel from the site, about 250 feet from a bog connected to the lake, has sparked opposition from longtime residents of cottages dotting the shore of central Maine’s Great Pond.

At a hearing earlier this year, many wore buttons bearing their rallying cry: ″Golden Pond, Not Golden Pit.″

Neighbors say the pit operation would be too noisy. They also say huge dump trucks that will make 44 trips a day along a narrow road leading to the 8.6- acre site will endanger people who jog, ride bicycles and walk in the area.

In recommending approval of the project, the Department of Environmental Protection attached 11 conditions, including requirements that Tilcon make additional plans for noise and erosion controls.

The state Board of Environmental Protection is scheduled to decide Oct. 23 whether to accept the staff recommendation.

At a hearing, Tilcon President David Boston told the board that rock crushers would run 12 hours a day Monday through Friday, and sometimes on Saturdays. He said it would take as long as six years to mine the site near the 13-square-mile lake and reclaim the land.

A 35-foot-deep pit on the site has been abandoned since before Tilcon took it over in 1979. Much of the site is grown over now. Tilcon wants to dig 78 feet deep.

The view of Great Pond inspired Ernest Thompson to write the play ″On Golden Pond.″ The 1981 film, which earned best acting Academy Award honors for Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda, and a screenwriting Oscar for Thompson, was filmed at a New Hampshire lake.

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