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2012 Boating Facilities Division Highlights:

Development

State Sites

  • Completed improvements to the Rockwood Pier Boating Facility, Rockwood, Somerset Co., on Moosehead Lake.
  • Substantially completed construction of the Branch Lake Boating Facility, Ellsworth, Hancock Co. Expect to open the facility in the Spring 2013.
  • Have completed construction of the Long Pond Boating Facility off Rte. 182, T 10 SD, Hancock County.

Municipal & Other Sites

  • Awarded a grant-in-aid to the Town of Ft. Kent, which used the grant to improve the boat ramp onto the St. John River, Aroostook County.
  • Awarded a grant-in-aid to the Town of Bucksport, which used the grant to complete construction of a trailer-accessible and a hand carry only boat ramp to Silver Lake, Hancock County.
  • Awarded a grant-in-aid to the Town of Norway, which used the grant to renovate their Pennesseewassee Lake Boating Facility, Oxford County.
  • Awarded a grant-in-aid to the City of South Portland, which used the grant to renovate their boating facility on the Fore River in Casco Bay, Cumberland County.
  • Awarded a grant-in-aid to the Town of St Agatha, Aroostook County, to expand the boating facility on Long Lake. Work is expected to be completed in 2013.

Navigational Aids

The Navigational Aids Program continued on with the expansion that began in 2009. During 2012 staff from this Program marked hazards to navigation in 3 additional water bodies by placing another 283 navigational buoys. The 3 lakes added to the Program are:

  • Salmon Pond / McGrath Lake, Belgrade - 41 buoys
  • North Pond, Smithfield - 49 buoys
  • The Pemadumcook Chain of Lakes (5 Lakes), Millinocket Area - 193 buoys

Since the expansion of the Program began in 2009 the Navigational Aids Program has installed an additional 1026 markers on 16 water bodies throughout all of Maine. This Program now marks lakes in nearly all Maine counties except where there are not any major lakes.

In addition, while working with the Dept. of Environmental Protection, staff installed 10 "Closed Area" buoys in Great Meadow Stream on Great Pond in Belgrade. The purpose of this closure is to eliminate the likelihood of watercraft users coming in contact with invasive plants that are present there.

Website Updates

  • In the Spring of 2012 the Boating Facilities Division launched 3 ongoing web surveys in order to collect feedback from the public using our boat sites and waterways. The Performance and Needs Surveys are reviewed periodically and used to help determine where problems exist so we can prioritize them and plan funding needs if necessary. The surveys also help us to direct concerns to the entity responsible for the operations and maintenance of a specific site. These surveys also ask for the public to comment on the performance of our Boating Facilities staff in their day to day duties both at boat sites and on the lakes marked with navigational aids. A thank you goes out to those who have utilized these surveys to provide feedback to us.
  • Due to the early lake "Ice-Out" of 2012 this webpage did not receive quite as many hits as it did the previous year. However, we continue to get feedback that many users find the information helpful or at least interesting, and will continue the webpage this year.
  • Google Earth applications - Our Google Earth maps continue to be very useful to the public in locating official boat-sites and navigational aids. Through our surveys, users have generally responded they have found them very helpful.

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2011 Boating Facilities Division Highlights:

Development

State Sites

  • Completed Phase 1 improvements to the Rockwood Pier Boating Facility, Rockwood, Somerset Co., on Moosehead Lake.
  • Obtained bids for construction of the Branch Lake Boating Facility, Ellsworth, Hancock Co., but bids came in over budget. We are working on sources of additional funds and alternative methods of construction to reduce costs. Expect to complete project in fall 2012.
  • Will start construction of Phase 2 Improvements to the Rockwood Pier spring 2012 with completion expected in the summer of 2012.
  • Have completed renovations to the Kennebec River Boating Facility, Skowhegan, Somerset Co.

Municipal & Other Sites

  • Worked with the Town of Camden, Knox County, to complete improvements to the Rte 105 Boating Facility on Megunticook Lake.

Navigational Aids

  • Since adding a second Navigational Aids crew in 2009, we have marked navigational hazards on an additional 12 lakes by the end of 2011. The expansion includes a second lake in Aroostook County (Long Lake - St. Agatha), three lakes in Washington County (Cathance Lake, Gardner Lake/Second Lake, and Hadley Lake), our first two in Hancock County (Toddy Pond and Green Lake) and our first lake in Penobscot County (Pushaw Lake). We have also completed on-the-water surveys of several additional waterbodies Downeast and in Penobscot/Piscataquis County in anticipation of marking them in 2012 or 2013.
  • Working with the Dept. of Environmental Protection, we installed 54 navigational channel markers in the Songo River in order to reduce the likelihood of watercraft users coming in contact with invasive plants that are present there.

Website Updates

  • Early in 2011 we began tracking Maine Lake "Ice-Out" conditions in order to provide our lake users a reliable place to locate this information. We have received many positive comments about this service and will continue it during the Spring of 2012.
  • Recently, we setup three separate surveys where our website visitors can comment on our Program performance and needs. Please visit these surveys and share with us your experience in utilizing our State Boat Access Sites and Navigational Aids.
  • We now have available 2 different Google Earth applications that display Public Boat Launch Sites and "State" installed Navigational Aids. If you have Google Earth already installed on your PC, you can launch these applications and learn more about the individual sites you are interested in.

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2010 Boating Facilities Division Highlights:

State Boat Site Improvements:

Municipal and Other Sites:

  • Completed development of Androscoggin River Boating Facility, Mexico, Oxford Co.
  • Completed development of new St Froid Lake Boating Facility, Winterville Plantation, Aroostook Co.
  • Completed development of new St John River Boating Facility, Madawaska, Aroostook Co.

Other Projects:

  • Acquired permits and will start construction of the new state-owned Branch Lake Boating Facility, Ellsworth, Hancock Co. later this year with construction completion expected in the fall of 2011.
  • Acquired permits and will start construction of Phase 1 Improvements to the Rockwood Pier this winter with completion expected in the spring of 2011.
  • Started construction of new boating facility on Long Pond, T10 SD, Hancock Co., on Donnell Pond Public Lands Unit with completion expected in the spring of 2011.

Navigational Aids - Began marking navigational hazards on the following water bodies:

  • Long Lake - St. Agatha - 19 buoys
  • Little Sebago Lake, Windham - 69 buoys
  • Lake Winnecook (aka Unity Pond), Unity - 65 buoys
  • Kezar Lake, Lovell - 43 buoys

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2009 Boating Facilities Division highlights:

  • Secured and renovated an existing boat access site on Megunticook Lake, Camden off Route 52. This site is operated by the Town and was renovated with a grant from the Department of Conservation, Boating Facilities Division. Renovations included repair of the launching ramp, addition of an accessible boarding float system, addition of an accessible portable toilet, repaving a portion of the lot, and painting the lot to improve traffic flow and parking utilization. In addition, some storm water management improvements were made to reduce the transport of sediments into the lake.

In addition, the Division is working with the Town of Camden to secure and renovate the boat ramp to Megunticook Lake on Route 105. The effort here will be to provide an improved boat launching ramp, and adequate parking that will be protective of the lake environment, and to make the site accessible to those with disabilities.

  • Secured and developed a hand carry boat access onto Hall Pond in Paris, in conjunction with Hebron Academy and Hebron Water Company. The facilities are on Academy property and managed by the water company, and include an accessible launching float and portable toilet as well as an expanded parking lot.
  • Secured and developed a trailer accessible boating facility on the St. John River in Madawaska. This is a Town-owned facility and is not completed, but will be available for boaters to use this coming spring. Additional work will be done next year to complete the parking lot.
  • Secured and started development of a new trailer accessible boating facility on St. Froid Lake, Winterville Plantation, Aroostook County. The plantation-owned site will include a concrete planked launching ramp, with handicap accessible boarding floats, and a parking lot. The site has been cleared and rough graded and we expect to finish the work next summer or early fall.
  • Completed the renovation of the Pembroke-owned, Pennamaquan River Boat Ramp. The ramp here had to be replaced to provide a continued safe access. This site provides access not only to the Pennamaquan River estuary, but also access to Cobscook Bay in Washington County
  • Completed the expansion and renovation of the Greenville Junction Wharf Boat Ramp onto Moosehead Lake. This project was part of the Town of Greenville's wharf redevelopment project which saw the wharf cribwork totally renovated. Work still needs to be done to complete the project, but the boat ramp has been completed and was put into service this summer. Additional handicap accessible floats were provided to help alleviate the congestion around the boat ramp.
  • Completed the renovation of the Webber Pond Boating Facility in Vassalboro. This Town-owned facility needed to have the ramp repaired to fill in a power loading hole at the end of the ramp which had caused a few of the planks to shift making launching difficult at low water levels. The parking lot will be paved next spring in an effort to maximize the amount of parking available at this small site. A boarding float has also been added to make the site easier to use and all aspects were made accessible to persons with disabilities.
  • Completed the development of a trailer accessible drift boat launching facility at the Bear River Rips Boating Facility on the Androscoggin River in Hanover. The Division worked with the Mahoosuc Land Trust to add this ramp to what had been a hand carry only facility. This ramp will provide ready drift boat access to the river just below the Bear River Rips, a popular fishing area.
  • Funded the renovation of the Aroostook River Boating Facility in Caribou. The Division worked with the Town of Caribou to add a concrete planked launching ramp and to improve the parking and make the site accessible to persons with disabilities.
  • Completed the renovation of the state-owned Woodbury Pond Boating Facility in Litchfield. This state-owned facility needed to have the boat ramp renovated, to keep it safe for public use, and a number of improvements needed to be made to make the site accessible to persons with disabilities and to address storm water management issues.

Other Accomplishments:

  • We have added a second Navigational Aids crew and are now in the process of marking additional publicly accessible lakes where boating use is high and there are many navigational hazards. During 2009 we marked underwater navigational hazards with state staff on three additional water bodies: Androscoggin Lake in Leeds and Wayne, Pushaw Lake in Old Town/Orono, and Great Moose Lake in Hartland. All three of these lakes were previously marked by lake associations. Due in part to the degree of difficulty and the number of underwater hazards in marking these lakes, it was determined it was in the Programs' best interest to take over the marking efforts. Other water bodies are currently being evaluated in order to develop a list of future marking priorities. We will continue to mark additional lakes until we reach a point where we cannot manage any more with our second crew.
  • We have been working with several other state agencies and an advisory panel of non-governmental organizations to update our Strategic Plan for Providing Boating and Fishing Access to the Waters of the State.
  • We continue to enhance the mapping of our state-owned and state-assisted recreational boating facilities on Google Earth. This has been a joint effort between our agency and the Department of Environmental Protection, whose staff has already developed expertise in placing geographic information on Google Earth. Users are able to search for boating facilities by water body name, county, town or by "flying" around in Google Earth. They can also get driving directions to any site and print directions as well as maps. Further modifications in this application are being developed this winter.

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2008 Boating Facilities Division highlights:

  • Secured a new access site, Mattawamkeag River Hand Carry Access, Island Falls, in 2008. This site is owned by the Town and was built with a grant from the Department of Conservation. In addition to the Town providing the site, they provided gravel from the Town quarry and in-kind labor to complete the work. The project was also assisted by a local Boy Scout who made the development of the site his Eagle Scout project. He assisted the Town with the design and permitting of the improvements. The site is located on Bog Brook Road about 1/3 mile from Rte 159, and includes a small gravel parking lot and concrete plank ramp to the river. This site will be added to our Google Earth maps soon.
  • The Boating Facilities Division is currently designing five new access sites across the state. All five of these sites should be under contract and improved by late next fall.

The Boating Facilities Division completed the renovation of six boating facilities in 2008, extending their useful lives, making them more accessible to persons with disabilities and improving their storm water management facilities. In a few cases we expanded the size of the parking lots to improve capacities. These sites include:

  • Sebasticook Lake, Newport - We replaced and extended the launching ramp to make it usable at lower water levels, expanded the parking lot to add 5 new paved parking spaces, paved and striped the existing lot to improve the utilization of that space. We also made one parking space reserved for persons with disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Finally, we installed a new concrete abutment to improve disabled access to a new boarding float system that will be installed this spring. Make-ready and tie-down areas were developed to make use of the site more efficient. This site is owned by the state and operated by the Town of Newport under a license agreement. The site is located off Elm Street about 4/10 mile from Rte 7.
  • Long Pond, Mt. Vernon - We replaced the 30 year old ramp that had fallen apart from age and use. We fixed a power loading hole at the bottom of the ramp, regraded the parking lot and paved the launch ramp area. We added one parking space to make it accessible to persons with disabilities. We also replaced an old vault toilet with a new accessible portable toilet and made improvements to the storm water management features on-site. This is a state-owned facility located off Castle Island Road about 2.3 miles west of Rte 27.
  • Embden Pond, Embden - We worked with the Town of Embden to expand the parking lot from 4 spaces to about 18 parking spaces, including one reserved for persons with disabilities. The original parking lot was small as the state owned only a very small amount of land. However, the Town owned the undeveloped abutting property back from the lake and agreed to grant the state an easement to allow us to expand the site. We also replaced the boat ramp extended it into deeper water, and added a concrete abutment to improve the accessibility to a new boarding float system that will be installed in 2009. The original ramp was made of concrete planks which were subject to ice movement. We replaced them with ice resistant concrete panels. We hope to work out a three party agreement among the Departments of Conservation, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (who owns the original site) and the Town to turn over the operation of the site to the Town. The Town will operate the boating facility in conjunction with a Town-owned beach on an adjacent site. The site is located off Mill Road about 4/10 miles from Town Farm Road.
  • Alford Lake, Hope - We replaced the old concrete plank boat ramp with a concrete panel ramp and extended it into deeper water. The old planks were prone to movement and damage by ice. The concrete panel design has been used by the Department on such sites and has proven to successfully withstand the enormous pressure of ice movement and thus reduce repair costs and disruption in service in the future. We improved the parking lot; paved a parking spot reserved for persons with disabilities and added a concrete abutment that will improve accessibility to a set of new boarding floats to be installed in 2009. This site is owned and operated as a public access site by the Knox County Fish & Game Club, and is located off Beaver Lodge Road about 7/10 miles from Rte 235 in Hope.
  • Silver Lake (aka Mattakeunk Lake), Lee - We replaced the old, deteriorated concrete boat ramp, repaired the power loading hole at the end of the ramp, installed a new concrete abutment to improve accessibility to a new boarding float system that will be installed in 2009. We also improved the parking lot. Because we try to delay work on existing boating facilities until after the boating season, we ran out of time to complete the paving of the handicapped parking space due to the onset of winter. In the Spring will be back to complete the work. This site is owned by the Town of Lee and is located off Coles Landing Road about 4/10 miles from Arab Road.
  • Moose Pond, Bridgton - This was a project initiated by The Bass Federation of Maine who worked with the Town of Bridgton, Lakes Environmental Associates and the Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District to complete the design and permitting of the improvements. We responded to a request from the Town of Bridgton to provide a grant for materials and additional funds to effect the improvements. We replaced the old 10 ft wide concrete plank ramp with a new 20 ft wide one. Unfortunately, this is an old "traditional" boat ramp that is developed along the side of Route 302 and there was not enough room to provide any off-street parking. As a result, parking is along this busy roadway shoulder and it was not possible to make accessible parking available. The site is located right on Rte 302 about 5.3 miles from Bridgton Center.

Other Accomplishments:

  • We have been working with several other state agencies and an advisory panel of non-governmental organizations to update our Strategic Plan for Providing Boating and Fishing Access to the Waters of the State.
  • We are also excited about a project just completed. Mapping of our state-owned and state-assisted recreational boating facilities on Google Earth. This has been a joint effort between our agency and the Department of Environmental Protection, whose staff has already developed expertise in placing geographic information on Google Earth. Users are able to search for boating facilities by water body name, county, town or by "flying" around in Google Earth. They can also get driving directions to any site and print directions as well as maps.

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For more information contact George.Powell@maine.gov