Big Pond Association Mission Statement
A 501C3 Organization
The Big Pond Association will protect and preserve the ecology of Big Pond in Otis, Massachusetts including the well being and environmental protection of the lake through testing, education, observation, and communication.
Benefits of Membership in the Association
Membership and participation in the Association is open to all friends of Big Pond. Below, please find some of the many opportunities for you to get involved in advancing our Mission Statement and preserving Big Pond for generations to come.
Association Volunteer Efforts
Weed Watcher Program
The BPA has been a charter member of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Weed Watcher program since its inception in 2002. Several times during the summer trained volunteers from the BPA check strategic areas of the lake for any non-native invasive plants. The BPA works hand in hand with the DCR with periodic educational seminars to train more and more Association members in weed identification techniques. We are proud that we still have not detected any Eurasian Milfoil or any other non-native invasive weed species in the lake. There are two invasive wetland species that occur along the shoreline. Phragmites can be found along the east shore of the lake by Iced Tea Brook. In 2005 there was an opportunity to have this substantial stand treated via a grant from DCR, unfortunately the property owner at the time refused permission. Another stand of Phragmites was treated in 2005 via a DCR grant acquired by the BPA in the mouth of the creek and this treatment was successful. From time-to-time Purple Loosestrife can be found along the shoreline and property owners have been very receptive to pulling or having this invasive plant pulled by the BPA.
The Big Pond Association also organizes an Adopt-A-Boat-Ramp program. Each weekend volunteers will go down to the boat ramp at the end of the creek and make sure that there is no litter in the area and to be certain that the information board that was erected by the BPA is stocked with informational brochures on how boaters can avoid introducing non-native invasive species to Big Pond. The effectiveness of this program has been confirmed by a DCR Boat Ramp Monitoring Survey where it was found that boaters launching at Big Pond and the Otis Reservoir had the greatest awareness of exotic invasive species in the state.
Camp Bonnie Brae work project
Camp Bonnie Brae is the oldest continuously operation girl scout camp in the nation and recently celebrated their 100th Anniversary. They occupy over 4,200 feet of shoreline along the north shore of Big Pond. Each summer the Big Pond Association sets aside a Saturday morning to paint, hammer, and saw at the camp to pitch in with the maintenance of the camp. This experience has proved to be very rewarding over the years to both our volunteer members and our neighbors at the camp.
Winter Shoreline Inspections
On three occasions during the off-season (later November, late January, and March) the Big Pond Association conducts shoreline/cottage inspections to make certain that there has not been and storm damage or vandalism. Property owners are notified of any problems via telephone or email.
Water Quality Monitoring
The Big Pond Association maintains a water quality monitoring program utilizing state of the art equipment and procedures. This ongoing program assesses several key parameters of water quality and the results are being used to monitor the health of Big Pond over time. The goal of this important program is to be able to identify and prevent water quality problems before they occur.
The EES Group was contracted by DCR to assess the conditions and water quality of Big Pond during the 2004 season. The data that we use in our Water Quality Monitoring was derived from this study. The full study can be viewed on the Big Pond Association website at bigpondassociation.com.
Boat Ramp Improvement
As a part of a DCR Demonstration Grant, a concrete plank boat ramp system was installed at the boat access at the end of the creek in 2005. This system has helped to eliminate erosion and has also made it easier and smoother to launch boats.
The Big Pond Association holds annual meetings to discuss the Association’s operations and to educate members in ways to protect and preserve the water quality of Big Pond. Guest speakers are brought in to inform members of the latest threats to water quality and ways to mitigate those threats. As a result, most members have an elevated awareness to be on the lookout for invasive weed species, zebra mussels, and anything else that might pose a danger to Big Pond. They have also put into practice the many ways that they have learned to protect and preserve our water quality. Many members will come early to the meeting so they can shop at the “Big Pond Store” and pick up the latest Big Pond themed apparel, glassware, calendars, and other assorted items. All proceeds from merchandise sales go into the lake management fund.
Canoe/Kayak Poker Run
This event is one of the highlights of the summer season for both participants and station tenders of all ages. This event regularly draws between 150 and 200 participants who paddle for prizes. Anyone is invited to participate so long as they are in or on a self-propelled craft. Participants work their way around the lake where they stop at 10 well marked stations and draw a card. There is an educational station at one of the stops where participants may draw an extra card if they can identify an invasive species. Bring your best hand to the Pot Luck Supper held that evening at the Magovern complex and play for prizes in each of three divisions; Kids division – under 18 – and adults. A grand prize is awarded to the individual with the best hand, regardless of division.
Pot Luck Supper
This is an annual highlight for both young and old. Bring the whole family, your best hand from the poker run, and don’t forget to bring a dish for the pot luck. The Big Pond Association provides hotdogs, hamburgers, and soda/water. Everyone on the lake is encouraged to attend whether or not they participated in the poker run. You will not regret coming! This is a great way to meet new friends from around the lake and renew old acquaintances. The “Big Pond Store” is also open at the Pot Luck Supper so don’t forget to bring your wallet and help us add the lake management fund.
Big Pond Rocks
The newest of our events, this is just like Tanglewood coming to Big Pond. The concert is held at the Magovern complex. Bring your blanket, folding chairs, picnic basket, and beverage of choice and enjoy a great evening of entertainment featuring Crossroads from West Hartford. Donations at this event go to pay for the band and to add to the lake management fund.
Big Pond Regatta
Come and sail away with your neighbors on a leisurely afternoon cruise around the lake. Sailboats of all types and sizes (sailboards, too) are encouraged to participate. This is a great photo opportunity for land lubbers, as well. Take pictures of your neighbor’s colorful sails set against the backdrop of the Big Pond shoreline.
Fourth of July Boat Parade
Recently revived by the Big Pond Association, decorate your boat in a patriotic theme or let your imagination run with any other decorative theme that you like. Join in a parade around the perimeter of Big Pond to show off your creativity to everyone on the shoreline. Last year, over 20 boats participated in the parade and a great time was had by all participants and spectators alike.
Big Pond Golf Tournament
Make your way over to the Blandford Country Club for the annual Big Pond scramble with your neighbors on Big Pond. When you sign up for the event you can request to be on a specific team or we can pair you up with other participants. This event continues to grow in popularity, so please sign up early. After golf, retire to the clubhouse where there will be a presentation of awards, a raffle, and where hors d’oeuvres will be served. A cash bar is also available at the club house. Proceeds from this event go to the lake management fund.
The Big Pond Association publishes a spring and winter newsletter to inform, entertain and educate the Big Pond Community. Newsletters are emailed to everyone in our database and can also be found on our website.
The Big Pond Association maintains a website at bigpondassocitaion.com. This is the source for all things “Big Pond”. You will find all of the information that you are looking for about events, volunteer opportunities, lost and found items, as well as links to all sorts of Berkshire destinations if you can manage tear yourself away from the lake.
Big Pond Association keeps a robust database of individuals that want to stay informed
about Big Pond news, events, and activities. If you are not in our database but would like to receive Big Pond related information please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be included in our email blasts.