Using one word descriptions for a place with space like Maine is hard.
Because single, word pairs don’t begin to do the job sufficiently. The highly faceted Maine jewel does lots of things, affects different folks in various ways too. A retreat to recharge. A setting to raise a family with simple living, down to Earth values. She represents a low cost Maine property investment. The drop dead gorgeous surrounding is everything times four too. Because each of the special seasons bring their own unique set of outdoor recreation choices. Assorted high enjoyment leisure options in an unspoiled natural landscape second to none.
But it does not just happen. Maine will not be a unwavering stunning constant without everyone sharing, pitching in to her care. Time in the Pine Tree State comes with responsibilities to take very serious. Being good stewards means respect, awareness. Passing along the place where you tread lightly to loved ones, future generations in as good, or even better condition than you were fortunate to receive it.
Since the early 1980’s I have been lucky to be associated with the Drews Lake Property Owner’s Association. A non profit neat waterfront group started back in the 1930’s. That share the common love, enjoyment of a lake in Aroostook County in the towns of New Limerick, Linneus and the west end in Oakfield Maine. Other lakes like Nickerson, East Grand Lake, many around Maine share strong, sensitive hard working groups of individuals. With “fire in their belly” to protect these Maine waterfront natural gems, treasures.
Over a 1000 acres large, fun, Drews Lake also known in map circles as Meduxnekeag Lake, the headwaters of the river of the same name.
That is Maliseet, Native American speak for “rocks at it’s mouth”. The DLPOA purchased the dam at the boat launch on the east end of the lake for one dollar. The state of Maine was glad to hand over responsibility for the three acres of tall mature stately pines and a rickety dam needing TLC, replacement. Funds for a new dam were raised to assure lake water levels would remain constant. Not up and down which affects the habitat. Especially loons nesting on the four islands, protected shoreline away from boats, wave action.
When the kids were young, I took them along to survey the section of lake around our waterfront home. Others around Drews Lake divided up the shoreline too and with clip board, one by one surveyed properties. Outlined the problem areas that needed addressing with USDA Soil and Water Conversation District highly competitive funding requests. To ease the strain of erosion, other man made pressures on the delicate waterfront quality.
The family put on rain coats, and made note of where undersized or missing roadway culverts were causing silt, debris, organic matter to spill, race to the lake.
Choking fish, causing algae bloom from phosphorous spikes due to many factors. Improperly designed road and driveways that contribute to over fifty percent of the stress, lake strain noted, flagged. Rain amplified the problem areas so one by one the family started to notice problems when quizzed. Areas missed, not so obvious before our hike and field trip in rain gear.
Hillsides devoid of vegetation buffers, shorelines with out the riparian strips of plant, bushes, tree life to stop, hold back the run off.
Before it dumps into the Maine lake where if fish could talk, they would gurgle their distaste for lawns. Prefer tress to weed and feed, pressure treated docks. Upset about winter ice fishing trash, fire burnt log remains left to sink into the water. All hurt the Maine lake water quality and clarity. Make for one tough neighborhood for the fish, Maine loons, anything alive to survive, be healthy. Surrounding the water frontage, islands, any property owner, tax payer to be lucky enough to have a Maine lake for a neighbor.
The kids and I noticed, spied uncovered piles of loam, topsoil that was destined for a raised bed flower or vegetable garden. Or to fill in a bald spot on a lawn ravaged by winter snow plowing. Maybe the hole from dead trees too close to power lines needing plugging, grass or ground cover seeding. During the rain, you could see the brown plum finding its way, snaking down the hilly slope into the Maine lake. Or driveways that did not angle or meander, wind to the cottage, camp, home. But steep, straight in which again causes water racing. Carrying with it silt, dirt, leaves, debris into you know where. It is good to teach kids about the importance of protecting a Maine lake, any natural resource before it’s too late.
Awareness of a cutting, timber harvest operation many miles away suddenly develops as you focus, study, perform a physical on a Maine lake.
And concern over the inlets to the Maine lake that receive the soil erosion, runoff of silt, pollutants that hurt the waterbody’s health. The DLPOA is a member of COLA, the Congress of Lakes Association which has great newsletters, workshops and shares the same love of a lake that won’t be healthy on its own. That will die from milfoil, lack of respect from property owners surrounding it if careless, inattentive, insensitive to its protection.
Learn more about Drews Lake at this link. Consider joining, pitching in on Maine lake clean ups, workshops for funding to help them stay clean, natural, fun for the entire family enjoyment for years to come.