As a longtime friend of the Craig Pond beach area, I have been following the Bucksport pool story with concern. Craig Pond beach is already used at capacity in the summer, and adding a larger population of users from Bucksport’s municipal recreational swimming program is bound to affect the water quality and character of the beach swimming area, along with trampling and crowding the lawn, parking, and boat-launching areas. I’m concerned about carrying capacity and public health.
It’s great that the Craig Brook Hatchery (which owns and manages the public beach area) and Chris Price (owner of the Flying Moose camps) are willing to be good neighbors in accommodating Bucksport Y’s day camp and community swimming programs this summer as a stopgap measure until the new pool is built. But Craig Pond is a small pristine resource, loved by many around coastal Hancock County, and it truly begs the question: With the scarcity of freshwater shorefront access and increasing demand on the limited public swimming access we have in Orland and nearby towns, why can’t Bucksport be a good neighbor by designating a public swimming area on Silver Lake? The town already owns two large shorefront parcels with convenient road access and parking located a safe distance (over a mile) from the public water supply intake. Looking at Branch Lake for comparison, it also is a municipal water supply, but Ellsworth allows public access for swimming and boating in several locations (on both city- and state-owned property), and of course all private property owners around the lake have swimming access.
Surely Bucksport could designate a suitable site for public recreational swimming on Silver Lake, which is larger (630 acres vs. 218 acres), closer, and more easily accessible for its residents than Craig Pond? Motorboats are allowed on Silver Lake; why not allow swimming within convenient reach of the ample launch/parking areas along Silver Lake Road, or somewhere on the Silver Lake trails property off Central Street? Google Earth satellite photos show sandy-bottomed shorefront on both parcels. It would be a great benefit to residents of Bucksport and neighboring towns if Bucksport could designate a public swimming area on Silver Lake.
Jane Crosen Washburn