Gouldsboro’s shellfish committee met on the evening of December 15, 2021, and began identifying high-priority access points for important harvest areas. Bob DeForrest, who works with Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT), attended the meeting and provided an overview of different approaches to protecting shore access. Bob also printed off large maps that identified existing public lands along Gouldsboro’s shore.
The committee spent about a half-hour during this first working session identifying places that they have been using for decades to get access to harvest sites. As the harvesters talked, shellfish warden Mike Pinkham marked each of the access points on the map. Local residents Pauline Angione and Vicki Rea had prepared data entry forms in advance of the meeting and used these forms to record as much as they could about what the harvesters said, including details about whether the access was seasonal, where they parked their trucks, conditions for access that have been worked out with the property owners, and more.
Watching this, I became more sharply aware that numerous access points are required for a large area such as Jones Cove. Different access points are more or less accessible at different tide levels, in different wind conditions, and in different seasons. In addition, a place like Jones Cove is large, and entering it at one end is not workable when the plan is to dig toward the other end.
We also recognized that collecting this information will extend over many months. In the half-hour that we spent we were only able to collect a portion of what the harvesters know about just two harvest areas. Between the monthly meetings, Pauline and Vicki, working with Mike, will combine the notes they both were taking, tie them to particular locations on maps, and look for town properties in these areas that might be used for access. For some places, Mike will work with Bob DeForrest and Kat Deely, of Frenchman Bay Conservancy, to initiate conversations with property owners about preserving access.