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Kayaker Threatened With $150 Fine For Bringing Own Boat To Stoneham Pond

By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent
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WBZ-TV's Joe Shortsleeve Joe Shortsleeve
Joe Shortsleeve is chief correspondent for WBZ-TV News weekdays a...
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STONEHAM (CBS) – It came as a shock to one WBZ-TV viewer when he visited Spot Pond in Stoneham with his new kayak and was threatened with a fine.

The signs say “no private boats allowed,” and “boat rentals only.”

And the only boats you can rent, at as much as $30 an hour, are from one vendor who has an exclusive contract with the state.

In fact, that viewer, who did not want to be identified, said he was threatened with a $150 fine for using his own kayak.

Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve looked into it and explains the reason why.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation says there is simple explanation.

And it all has to do with a building just few feet from the boat rentals. It belongs to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.

“The pond is a back-up reservoir. The DCR and MWRA mutually agreed to not allow private watercraft on the pond to avoid the spread of invasive organisms,” the state told WBZ-TV.

“I think it makes sense they don’t want any dirty boats getting in the water,” said one kayaker.

In fact, the only kayaks and sailboats allowed on Spot Pond are scrubbed with a biodegradable agent before they even hit the water.

Jessica Colborne works for the private boat vendor.

“We clean the bottom of the boats, the top of the boats, every part of the boats, even the paddles,” she said. “So nothing can contaminate the water here.”

There are only two gas powered boats on the pond, one operated by the state and the other by the vendor.

Officials say those are needed for safety reasons.

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