As I was trying to think of something to write for this newsletter, it struck me that the theme for the Maine Chapter this summer has been “Have Fun on the Water.” AMC started as a hiking club but of course it’s much more than that now. The Chapter has several leaders who focus on paddling and numerous trips were offered, both multi-day and day trips, on the coast and rivers.

I took part in a 15-mile paddle through the 30-Mile River Watershed on July 27. This is an annual event that raises money and awareness for the watershed that begins at Minnehonk Lake in Mount Vernon and ends at Androscoggin Lake in Wayne. This was a great way to experience the interconnectedness of all bodies of water. Maine has scores of local lake associations that work to bring awareness and protection to the waters of the state.

Everything we do at AMC revolves around three core tenets: Recreation, Education and Conservation. We can argue about which of these is most important, but I posit that conservation is the umbrella under which every other facet of the outdoors is possible. And protection and awareness of our most precious resource, water, whether it be the lakes, rivers and ocean, or drinking water on a hike, is absolutely imperative.

In June the Chapter held an event at the Maine Beer Company in Freeport featuring a presentation by Jen Deraspe. Jen through-paddled the Androscoggin River in the summer of 2018 to bring awareness to that watershed and watersheds in general. She spoke about how the river has been cleaned up but also that there is more to do. She opened her presentation by asking everyone in the audience to think of a body of water that has been special or important to them. Everyone had a story to tell.

So, I leave you with the same question and more. What body of water has been important in your life? How has it influenced your life? How would you feel if it was polluted beyond use? What can you do to help protect it?

By being a member of AMC, you are already helping to protect precious resources in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. I urge you to join local land trusts and lake associations to see what they are doing to protect and preserve water in your area.

Happy Hiking (and Paddling)