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by Pete Kallin
Summer seems to be in full swing, with long lines at Day's Store and more out-of-state license plates than Maine plates on the cars parked in the village. The 7 Lakes Alliance (formerly the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance) and the Friends of Messalonskee Courtesy Boat Inspectors (CBIs) have been on duty since Memorial Day weekend at the public boat launches in the Belgrades, doing their part to prevent the spread of invasive plants into our lakes. Last year, these CBIs inspected over 15,000 boats between Memorial Day and Labor Day and made multiple "saves" of invasive plants entering (and leaving) our lakes. Please help in this effort by inspecting your own boat, especially when they are not on duty. Check out this video to learn how.
Every spring I act as a "Fish Friends" mentor for the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF). I work with several schools (and the Maine Lakes Resource Center) to help students raise Atlantic Salmon fry in refrigerated tanks in the classroom from eggs we receive from the National Hatchery at Green Lake in Ellsworth. The students study salmon life cycles and migrations and the fish are eventually stocked into the Bond Brook in Augusta to help restore this Federally-listed endangered species. This year the MLRC and students from Readfield Elementary School, Winthrop High School, Messalonskee Middle and High Schools, and the Arts After School Program at Snow Pond Academy released nearly 800 salmon fry. This is a great program and gets young people excited about this critical species. Emily Roderick, mother of Analise at Readfield elementary, arrived at the release site a few minutes before the school bus arrived. She told me her daughter was "so excited she has been talking about this for weeks," and had "learned so much about fish" during the semester.
The weather has been a bit cool, windy, and damp but the fishing has continued to be productive. Mike Guarino, who used to write this column, has been doing very well on Messalonskee Lake, where he recently guided Hal and Hank Hutchins, up from Massachusetts to do a little fishing. On Memorial Day my older daughter and I hiked French Mountain, where we met Christina Gavoni from Industry, who was hiking with her kids Abigail and Michael and the family dog, Lexie. The kids told us it was their "first hike." French Mountain is the perfect spot to take young kids on their first hike.
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-LA at the Maine Lakes Resource Center. Get out and explore! Sign your kids up to learn to sail through the Great Pond Yacht Club. 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.