Avery Cottage selected for LakeSmart award

The Avery Cottage on China Lake has won a LakeSmart Award for the owners’ efforts to protect the lake. The Avery Cottage owners maintain a deep stand of mixed vegetation along their shore. This vegetative buffer helps to prevent phosphorus from entering the lake and turning it green. Their buffer includes ground cover, duff (leaves and pine needles), shrubs, young trees and mature trees that form a protective canopy.

Ray and Joanne Kelsey

Ray and Joanne Kelsey, owners of Avery Cottage, on China Lake. Contributed photo

They have kept the buffer as natural as possible and still maintain their view of the lake. Run off from their camp roof is directed to crush stone or vegetation. There is no exposed dirt that could end up carrying phosphorous into the lake. They pump their septic system regularly and their yard is free from signs of erosion.

The founding father, Sherman Avery, had their camp built from local timber in 1929. Ray Kelsey, one of the family members said that his great-grandfather, Solomon Coffin, had the logs to build the camp hauled across the ice on the lake to and from the Massey Mill, in Vassalboro, to build the cottage. During the depression, the family ran the camp as a boarding house of sorts and had a huge garden to help with finances. Boarders came by train to Vassalboro then by boat to arrive at the cottage. What a rich history of five generations the Avery cottage has enjoyed!

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