Board Postpones Holt’s Ledge Town Meeting

Valley News Staff Writer
Monday, July 17, 2017

Lyme — Officials in Lyme have postponed a special Town Meeting to discuss the use of Holt’s Ledge after some people worried a summer meeting would draw low attendance.

The meeting, which was initially scheduled for Aug. 1, will now take place in October, according to minutes of the Lyme Selectboard. An official date has yet to be decided.

The town-owned portion of Holt’s Ledge, a popular rock climbing destination, has been the center of debate since last summer. That’s when officials found someone had cut trees, built fire circles and installed bolts — anchors that assist climbers in their ascent — into the rock without permission.

Residents also complained of noise and trespassing on private property, prompting the Selectboard to close its portion of the ledge.

However, rock climbers argued the bolts provide a safer climb, and allow more people to enjoy climbing. Since the bolts already were in place, they also said it could be too difficult to remove them.

But the Selectboard ultimately sided with residents in April, when they ordered the bolts be cut off the rock face.

“Were this not in a residential area it might have been different,” Selecboard Chairman Jay Smith said at the time. “This area will remain open to climbing as it has been for decades, just without the bolts.”

In return, several climbers requested in June a special Town Meeting to discuss the area. Later that month, they asked the meeting be moved to later in the year or next March because of summer vacations, according to Selectboard minutes.

The Selectboard granted a request and moved the meeting to October. After consulting the town’s attorney, they also determined the petitioners would have to rescind their petition for the matter to be discussed during the regular March meeting, according to the minutes.