Mount Desert Island Environment Notes

a project of
V. F. Thomas Co. - P. O. Box 400 - Southwest Harbor, ME 04679
info@vfthomas.com


(updated 26 December 2014)

Welcome to the Mount Desert Island environment notes website. Visitors to and most residents of Mount Desert Island see a beautiful place to visit or to live, and this is certainly true, but there are unseen and unthought of issues that need to be raised. The purpose of this website is to raise awareness of environmental issues that are unseen (e.g., automobiles abandoned in the woods) and to ask questions that most people never think of. This website will be constantly evolving, and you participation is welcomed.

How to contribute to this website: All information should be sent to info@vfthomas.com or mailed to "MDI Environment Notes; c/o V. F. Thomas Co.; P. O. Box 400; Southwest Harbor, ME 04679". And, of course, please report all errors. Thank you for your help.

A little work by each of us will save a lot of work for all of us.







For thousands of years, Native Americans spent a portion of each year on Mount Desert Island. During that time, they had an impact on the natural history of the island, but it was generally a sustainable impact. They respected the natural world and lived in harmony with it. Then in 1761, Abraham Somes moved to the island, followed soon by a Richardson family, and then hundreds of others. We hear stories reverently told about how the early settlers of European origin "bravely carved a livelihood out of the wilderness". Actually, they carved up the wilderness, living not in harmony with their surroundings but in domination of it. (I laugh [sort of] about how those settlers were excited when a ship arrived with "necessities" such as tea and sugar. There were, and still are, dozens of plants on the island that make flavorful and healthful teas, and, for a little work, maple syrup and sugar are abundantly available.) The wholesale destruction of the land—euphemistically called "land development" by some—continued until a group of people in the early 1900s organized the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations, with the purpose of acquiring land to protect it. We can all imagine what Mount Desert Island would be like today if those folks had not begun their work. But even with thousands of acres on the island protected from complete destruction, we are still far from living sustainably on this small piece of land.

Below is a list of categories of environmental issues concerning Mount Desert Island.

Trash in our Woods
Trash Along our Roadsides
Observations You May Not Have Considered






TRASH IN OUR WOODS

Here are some images of what is in our woods. Click on an image to enlarge it.

  Southwest Harbor, a peninsula of fill (mostly branches and leaves but also concrete, some rusting metal, and at least one bottle) in low, wet woods, just south of Hio Road and near the Seawall Campground end, in Acadia National Park (UTM: 19T 0554953, 4899386; Lat./Long.: N 44°14′44.3″ x W 68°18′42.2″). Seen on 26 December 2014.

  Southwest Harbor, car parts in woods just north of Hio Road, on private land recently logged (UTM: 19T 0554165, 4900546; Lat./Long.: N 44°15′22.1″ x W 68°19′17.3″). Seen on 25 December 2014.

  Bar Harbor, rusting piece of metal not far from old quarry on Dan Brewer's Mountain, in Acadia National Park (UTM: 19T 0560038, 4914228; Lat./Long.: N 44°22′43.8″ x W 68°14′46.8″). Seen on 13 November 2014.

  Bar Harbor, culvert beside Breakneck Road, in Acadia National Park (UTM: 19T 0559314, 4915465; Lat./Long.: N 44°23′24.1″ x W 68°15′19.0″). Seen on 12 November 2014.

  Bar Harbor, oil drums, in woods near Whitecap, in Acadia National Park (UTM: 19T 0561101, 4912611; Lat./Long.: N 44°21′51.1″ x W 68°13′59.5″). Seen on 27 July 2014.

  Bar Harbor, miscellaneous items rusting in woods near Whitecap, in Acadia National Park (UTM: 19T 0561101, 4912623; Lat./Long.: N 44°21′51.5″ x W 68°13′59.5″). Seen on 27 July 2014.

  Bar Harbor, rusting pieces of metal, in woods between Cadillac Mountain Road and Cadillac North Ridge Trail, in Acadia National Park (UTM: 19T 0561155, 4912584; Lat./Long.: N 44°21′50.2″ x W 68°13′57.0″). Seen on 28 June 2014.

  Bar Harbor, top of oil drum, in woods northeast of Aunt Betty's Pond, in Acadia National Park (UTM: 19T 0557931, 4913494; Lat./Long.: N 44°22′20.7″ x W 68°16′22.3″). Seen on 14 September 2013.

  Bar Harbor, culvert next to east side of Breakneck Road (south of where it passes between the two ponds), in Acadia National Park (UTM: 19T 0559271, 4914363; Lat./Long.: N 44°22′48.5″ x W 68°15′21.4″). Seen on 31 July 2013.

  Bar Harbor, pipe next to east side of Breakneck Road (south of where it passes between the two ponds), in Acadia National Park (UTM: 19T 0559280, 4914401; Lat./Long.: N 44°22′49.7″ x W 68°15′21.0″). Seen on 31 July 2013.

  Bar Harbor, culvert next to east side of Breakneck Road (south of where it passes between the two ponds), in Acadia National Park (UTM: 19T 0559288, 4914404; Lat./Long.: N 44°22′49.8″ x W 68°15′20.7″). Seen on 31 July 2013.

  Bar Harbor, car parts beside trail leading to/from west side of Breakneck Road (south of where it passes between the two ponds), in Acadia National Park (UTM: 19T 0559130, 4915226; Lat./Long.: N 44°23′16.5″ x W 68°15′27.5″). Seen on 31 July 2013.

  Bar Harbor, oil drums northwest of Lower Breakneck Pond, in Acadia National Park (UTM: 19T 0558857, 4915799; Lat./Long.: N 44°23′35.1″ x W 68°15′39.6″). First seen (left image) on 26 November 2011. Returned on 31 July 2013 and, without snow covering the ground as in first visit, discovered three more drums for a total of seven (middle and right images).

  Bar Harbor, sign at the south end of Breakneck Road, in Acadia National Park. Seen on 31 July 2013.

  Bar Harbor, oil drum near the south end of Bubble Pond, just east of the carriage road, in Acadia National Park (UTM: 19T 0560985, 4909668; Lat./Long.: N 44°20′15.8″ x W 68°14′6.0″). Seen on 30 July 2013.

  Bar Harbor, miscellaneous items between Birch Bay Village and Lake Wood access road. Seen on 20 March 2012.

  Bar Harbor, Hulls Cove vicinity, miscellaneous trash on bank near stream that drains wetland at north end of Breakneck Road, in Acadia National Park. Seen on 19 March 2012.

  Southwest Harbor, vehicles north of Hillcrest Circle and east of Mount Height Cemetery. Seen on 24 March 2008.





TRASH ALONG OUR ROADSIDES

  Maine Revised Statutes Title 17 (crimes), chapter 80 (litter control), §2263-A (littering) reads: "1. Prohibited acts. A person may not throw, drop, deposit, discard, dump or otherwise dispose of litter in any manner or amount: A. In or on public highway, road, street, alley, public right-of-way or other public lands, except in a container or receptacle or on property that is designated for disposal of garbage and refuse by the State or its agencies or political subdivisions." Today, 5 November 2013, I walked the approximately one-half mile (at most) to the town office to vote. Along the way to and from voting I picked up 33 pieces of plastic trash that I found along the side of the road. (Click on the image to enlarge it.) The state law says that littering is prohibited. I wonder who owns those large orange trucks that place these reflectors in the middle of the road and which relatively soon become roadside trash.





OBSERVATIONS YOU MAY NOT HAVE CONSIDERED

  This sign tells us that we should not remove rocks from a natural seawall ... but it seems ok to pave over it. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)



  The National Park Service has (1) built and/or maintains more than 25 buildings, (2) created a permanent 98-acre clearcut (= approx. 30-foot-wide x 27-mile-long loop road), (3) paved enough land to create more than 1000 parking spaces (plus the non-parking portion of each parking lot), including more than 125 spaces on the top of Cadillac Mountain, which is still home to several rare plants species, ... and then asks people to "leave no trace". (Click on the image to enlarge it.)