A Reminder about How to Use Our Lakes Safely

An unauthorized activity at Lake Hamilton this past week seemed innocent enough on the surface, but was a matter of serious concern to the Board of Directors for Hamilton Lakes and Parks, Inc.

We must remind everyone that for public safety and for the protection of our members, it is the recorded policy of Hamilton Lakes and Parks, Inc. that:

  • Only dues-paying members and their accompanied guests are permitted to use the lakes and parks.
  • Our liability insurance prohibits anyone – member or not – from entering the water in the lakes for any reason, unless in a non-motorized watercraft with life preservers for all occupants.

Any requests for exceptions to the above MUST be approved by the Board of Directors in advance of the activity.

Thank you for your understanding and compliance with these requirements. Please help us keep our lakes and parks safe and beautiful!

4 Replies to “A Reminder about How to Use Our Lakes Safely”

  1. We are new residents and paid our dues in February but have received no reply or card or acknowledgement since. We use the trails regularly and enjoy them so much. My husband was stopped by a woman wearing a vest and asked if he was a resident. We are but we thought this was strange and annoying as she didn’t seem to question anyone else, didn’t know who she was and had no way to prove we had paid. Clearly lots of people parked on the street and fishing are not dues-paying members so we were left wondering why she would question my husband with a dog and two children walking.
    Thanks so much.

  2. Hi Emily,
    Thanks for your question on the Hamilton Lakes website.

    First and foremost, we really appreciate your paying your dues this year!

    Gail Roy is the woman with the vest, our security patrol. As you can imagine, things have been much busier than normal at the lake this year, with so many people off work or not in school and looking for something to do. In the past several weeks, we have had a LOT of people who were not members who were fishing on the banks of the lake, and Gail has been instrumental in trying to clear non-members out of our park.

    You’d be surprised at how many people from outside the area have been bringing their extended families down to party at the lake. It keeps our residents from having access to the parks, and they’ve also been creating a litter problem. The only way we know to keep things from getting out of control is to have Gail challenge everyone. It’s a thankless job…and in fact, some of the non-residents have even threatened her. I’ve witnessed that personally, and even had to call the police a couple of times to clear out trespassers.

    I apologize if your husband felt like he was being singled out. That’s most definitely not the case nor our intent. With more than 300 paid households in our association, it’s just impossible for Gail to know every member by sight.

    Your comment highlights something we’ve been thinking about for a while, which is that it we need some way of identifying current dues-paying members without Gail having to stop and question everyone. Right now, the only way she has to verify someone’s membership status is to ask for their address and check her list.

    The Board will be meeting this evening. I’ll be sure to bring up your question and discuss it with the Board to see if we can find a cost-effective solution that will ensure we keep non-members away and yet provide as hassle-free an environment as possible for our residents.

    Thanks again for paying your dues, and I hope you and your family have many happy hours in the park this year!

    Jonathan

    1. Mr. Ward,

      I write with a similar concern. My family have been dues paying members since approximately 2013. My husband has been stopped dozens of times and asked to confirm his membership over the years. He has been stopped twice in the past two weeks alone. On both occasions he was with two of our children. I have never been stopped despite using the parks regularly, generally multiple times per week, for the better part of the past 7 years. After so many encounters it is not lost on us that there is some disparity in who seems to be randomly selected. I hope that my husband is not being randomly stopped every time due to the fact that he appears to be foreign and has an accent. Regardless of the Association’s need to enforce membership, it should not be the case that certain people are disproportionately selected for random auditing. My children have now witnessed their father be questioned on multiple occasions about his right to enjoy the park that we love dearly and pay to support. As you can imagine, such questioning creates an inference of culpability that is detrimental to the experience of the park-goer. The Association needs to consider how to exercise its enforcement authority equitably. I would welcome a conversation about this at the next Board meeting. Furthermore, on the subject of increased use of the park by unauthorized individuals during the global pandemic, I encourage the Board to discuss whether a a more gracious approach might be implemented to enforcement during this unprecedented time. I have found the HL community to be welcoming and generous and it strikes me as sad that during a time of such extensive human suffering we would not be willing to accommodate a temporary increase in pedestrian traffic at the park with the knowledge that most Greensboro residents are suffering some type of economic or social hardship due to the pandemic and a walk around the lake would ease that hardship. While clearly there need to be mechanisms for policing dangerous and/or impermissible use of the lake, nonetheless it would be great to temporarily welcome those individuals from our community who otherwise might not have access. Litter is definitely a concern, but perhaps dues paying members wouldn’t mind putting some of our kids to work on a service outing to mitigate the effects of increased park use.

      1. Hi Ms. Scavone, my apologies for the long delay in responding to your comment. It apparently got caught up in the spam filters. Thank you for your comment, and we hear your concerns loud and clear. I regret the embarrassment and frustration that your husband must feel when questioned, especially in front of your children. Perhaps one tactic is to turn it into a “teachable moment” by reminding your children that your family is doing nothing wrong, that even generals have to show their ID to security guards whenever they go onto a base – that’s just one way that to help keep things safe for everyone. The Board will be holding a meeting this coming week to talk about security in the current extraordinary circumstances. We recognize that when other recreational outlets are unavailable, and especially when the weather was so pleasant in May, that Lake Hamilton is an attractive spot for people to pause and relax. Unfortunately, it also attracted a lot of people who are not faithful dues-paying members of the association, some of whom have not been as caring about keeping the park clean. And your note came before the “hand grenade incident” several weeks ago and then the protests and curfew. We are trying to do our utmost to protect the safety of our members, first and foremost, and to preserve the parks and lakes that have been entrusted to our care. We will certainly take your concerns into our discussions. Thank you for reaching out to us. — Jonathan

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