Source to the Sea Trek
Saturday, Aug. 4, paddlers on the Androscoggin Source to the Sea Trek reached Brunswick, completing a journey that began in the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge on July 6. In its 17th year, locals and tourists alike put in more than 350 paddling days on 18 segments of the river, a 20 percent increase over last year.
The Androscoggin River Watershed Council (androscogginwatershed.org) organizes the event along with its many partners and sponsors to introduce, or re-introduce, people to a revitalized river. After many years of the public and private sector working together to make improvements since the days when the Androscoggin wasn’t much more than a sewer for the factories and towns on its banks, the river is now a wonderful place to paddle and fish, home to wildlife too numerous to list, and an asset to its communities.
The Trek, and our local tourism economy, depends on clean water and public access. In many cases, public access is ensured by conservation, including through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). LWCF fuels a $730 billion recreation economy across the USA, including 48,000 jobs in Maine. The Androscoggin Watershed has benefitted through conservation projects including Stowe Mountain in Newry and Mt. Blue in Weld, in holdings of the White Mountain National Forest, and many popular community parks and trails throughout the watershed. We thank Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, who all recently offered their bipartisan support to LWCF. We must all work together to keep our waterways beautiful.
Jessie Seymour Perkins
Program Coordinator, Androscoggin River Watershed Council