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by Pete Kallin
This past week included some record-setting heat that resulted in a lot of water-based activities over the Fourth of July. One of my daughters, her husband, and a couple of friends came to hang out by the lake. My son-in-law, Taber, rode his bicycle up from Brunswick that morning and was in the lake with a cold drink within minutes of reaching the house.
Last week I talked a bit about the importance of our local sporting camps to our lake community. Another set of camps that introduces new visitors to our area are the youth camps that bring in not only the kids but also their parents. Some of these camps have been on our lakes for more than a century (e.g. Pine Island Camp, and Camp Runoia) and many of their alumni have retired here. Other camps include Pine Tree Camp on North Pond, Camps Matoaka and Manitou on East Pond, Camps Tracy and Modin on McGrath Pond/Salmon Lake, New England Music Camp on Messalonskee, and the Boy Scouts' Camp Bomazeen on Great Pond. Even camps that don't exist anymore such as the former tennis camp on Taconnet Island and former Camp Kennebec on Salmon Lake have sizeable populations of alumni that have settled permanently in our community with friends they have known for decades.
Good water quality is important to all these groups and they are all strong supporters of the local lake associations, and other conservation organizations such as the 7-LA (former BRCA and MLRC). Each of these groups brings a different wrinkle to our unique community and a slightly different sense of place but all help make our community a special place. One day last week I met 30 campers and counselors from Camp Modin, hiking at Mount Phillip, a property that is now permanently conserved thanks to the 7-LA and alumni of Pine Island Camp.
I managed to get out fishing a bit, including a trip on Long Pond with fellow 7-Lakes Alliance Board Member, Tom McCandlish, who has been coming to Great Pond since 1959, first as a Bear Springs camper with his parents, and since the mid-80s as a camp owner on Mountain Drive. We caught several nice fish, including a roughly 30" pike that I managed to land on my ultralight spinning rig despite the lack of a wire leader. Luckily the fish was hooked at the tip of snout and couldn't bring its sharp teeth to bear on my 4 lb. test line. My friend, Dick Greenan, had his son, Jason, daughter-in-law, Devon, and a couple of grandkids visiting for the week. Dick led a successful canoe/kayak fishing trip down the Kennebec River from Waterville to Sidney.
This area offers some great outdoor recreation, whether you like to hike, bike, birdwatch, fish, sail, or paddle a canoe or kayak. Pick up a map of the local trails at Day's Store or from the 7 Lakes Alliance at the Maine Lakes Resource Center. Also, please check the 7-LA FaceBook page for details on some interesting events scheduled this summer. And make sure you take a kid along on your next outdoor adventure.
Pete Kallin is a past director of the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance, which merged with the Maine Lakes Resource Center in December 2017 to form the 7-Lakes Alliance.