Wednesday, August 16, 2017

WHO OWNS THE LAND ALONG THE MAINE COAST?

So a few days ago I had a local kid ask me if a landowner could prevent him from walking along the shoreline in the area between the high tide mark and low tide mark.  I laughed and replied that the area between the high tide mark and low tide mark is open to the public - case closed, right?
Not so fast.......I got to thinking about it, and not wanting to get a kid in trouble by giving them bad advice, I decided to play it safe and look up exactly what the law says concerning the shoreline at low tide.  Was I in for a surprise, in 44 states the public does indeed have the right to access the area between the high tide mark and the low tide mark, but six states, including Maine, hold that the area between the high tide mark and the low tide mark belongs to the homeowner.  In other words, the people who live in six states have no legal right to walk along the shoreline, period, if the landowner tells you to leave.
But it is not as clear cut as it sounds, because there are a few instances where you can indeed walk along the shoreline and have the law on your side.They are as follows;

1.  When the tide goes as low as it can go, you can put on a pair of waterproof boots and walk along the shoreline as long as your feet are in the water, that would place you below the low tide mark, where the public has a right to access.

2.  Your bird hunting - the law says anyone who is hunting foul can walk along the area between the high tide mark and the low tide mark, it is anyone's right as long as they are bird hunting.  Note; this does not include bird watching.

3.  You have a right to access the area between the high tide mark and low tide mark if your in a boat, and have a need to beach your boat along that stretch of shoreline.  In one court case a suba diver placed his boat along the shoreline and went out into the water to scuba dive, the homeowner took him to court and the scuba diver won the case, since he arrived at the shoreline in a boat.

4.  Anyone in Maine has a right to walk along the coastline between the high tide mark and the low tide mark as long as they are doing so to fish.  For you to not run into trouble with the law, make sure you are carrying a fishing pole as you cross the shoreline by someone's property, and make sure you paid a $1 registration fee with the state of Maine to fish in salt water.  Under fishing, the law allows anyone to fish from the shoreline as long as you are within the high and low tide mark, or to cross a stretch of shoreline as long as your heading to a place further along the shore to fish.
Note;  the law does not allow you the right to cross over private property in order to reach the shoreline of coastline.

So in theory one could walk along the shoreline, or coastline, carrying a fishing pole and staying within the high and low tide marks, and have the law on their side.  I would suggest if your simply crossing some one's property along the high and low tide marks, and they do call the police, tell the officer you are walking along the shoreline in search of a good place to fish, even if your not.  That is exactly what the kid I was talking about said he was going to do.

Friday, August 4, 2017

WHAT IS THE MOST DANGEROUS TRAIL IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK?

The Precipice Trail by far is the most dangerous trail in the park, though it is not a trail as much as it is a climb.  Hikers make their way up the mountain side along very narrow ledges  with sheer drop offs, making their way from one such ledge to the next by means of iron ladders and hand rails.
Long before the Precipice Trail was ever built, way back in the mid 1800's, the first recorded death took place on this trail when a 12 year old girl attempted to climb it and fell to her death.  Since that time a number of hikers and climbers have fallen victim to the narrow ledges, falling to their deaths.  I have documented a number of these deaths in my blog DEATHS IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK.
The trail is so dangerous the Park Service had a section put in just to discourage people from making the climb.  The added section is named THE TURN-A-ROUND and is a massive boulder with two iron rungs, which make the boulder had to get over.  The turn-a-round was needed because so many people would pass the large warning signs without even reading them, signs that still warn how dangerous the climb can be and how lives have been lost on the climb.
But back when the Precipice was first built, the Park Service wanted people to come and climb the trail.  They even built a side trail to a site called THE GREAT CAVE as a way to lure more people there.  Today the trail to the Great Cave has been abandoned.
The once popular HANGING STEPS - a series of large stone steps that seem to hang in mid air, was also built nearby to attract more people to the Precipice.  The Hanging Steps Trail has also since been abandoned.
Acadia National Park does not keep records on how many people have died in the park from falls and other accidents, so to learn more about people who have been killed while vacationing in the park, check out the blog below by clicking on the title -

DEATHS IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

Monday, May 16, 2016

WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO SPOT A BEAVER IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK?

About 15 to 20 years ago you would not have had any problems spotting beaver in the park, that was before the park service began rounding them up and removing them from the park.  It is my understanding that the park service no longer does that, and that only distructive beavers are removed.  Sadly the damage has already been done and beaver sightings are way down.
The waters over by Duck Brook Bridge still have a few active beaver, the waters right behind that small building before the bridge.  You can see the nice beaver lodge out in the water.
One half of the Duck Brook Bridge Road is now closed to cars so to reach the area of the bridge by car you need to drive out  on the Eagle Lake road, route 233, and look for The Duck Brook Bridge road on the right..

WHY IS THERE A HELICOPTER AT THE BAR HARBOR BALL FIELD?

Nearly once a day throughout the Summer and Fall a lifeflight helicopter is called to the island - usually because someone has had a bad fall on a mountain in Acadia National Park or had a bad bike accident.  The Bar Harbor ball fields, the one closest to Main Street, is the landing zone for the helicopter.
If you are in downtown Bar Harbor and hear or see a low flying helicopter passing overhead, it most likely is Lifeflight either heading to the Ball fields or leaving the Ball Fields.

ARE THERE CAVES IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK?

Yes, the mountain sides have a number of caves in various sizes, some are old bear caves while larger caves were once used by Native Americans.  Perhaps the most famous of these caves is called the Great Cave, a cave located along an abandoned loop off of the Precipice trail.  It has an opening that is 100 feet high and the cave goes back into the mountain side about 100 feet.  Even though it has been abandoned by the Park Service, a number of sites on line tell how to reach The Great Cave.
The second most famous cave in the park is yet another abandoned cave, Anemone Cave, an ancient sea cave that can only be entered at low tide.  People have become trapped and drowned in this sea cave so pay close attention to the tide.
The Bear's Den is an abandoned bear cave within sight of the Park Loop Road and hundreds pass it every day without ever knowing its even there.
There are many other caves you can find on line, including the caves of Day Mountain.

WHERE CAN I GO TO LISTEN TO LOONS IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK?

Next to Whales, Loons produce the most beautiful sound, and can be found on many of the lakes and ponds in Acadia National Park.  To listen to Loons, the best time is at dusk, but you will want to bring along some good insect repellent as the bugs at dusk can be thick.
My favorite place to listen to Loons over the years has been at Bubble Pond.  Just find a nice spot along the shore and wait.

HOW CAN I GET INTO THE NATIONAL PARKS FOR FREE?

If you are disabled or a senior citizen, you qualify for a free lifetime pass into any of the National Parks.  And the free pass does not only cover you, it covers all the people entering the parks with you, as long as the pass holder is in the car - you don't even have to be the driver.
But the lifetime free pass goes even further - it entitles the pass holder to stay at any National Park campground for half price.  You apply for your lifetime pass by visiting any of the National Park headquarters.  They will give you a short form to fill out and ask to see two pieces of paperwork showing you are either a senior citizen or disabled, that's it, they give you your free pass right than and there.
These free passes have been available for a very long time but the Park Service keeps it low on their radar and most people don't even know about them.