As a fishing community, Gouldsboro depends on its working waterfront. Intertidal lands are part of that waterfront. Maine adopted its laws governing the intertidal zone from Massachusetts, including a 1647 law that granted everyone permission to use the intertidal zone for “fishing, fowling, and navigation.” Consequently, subject to other laws governing hunting seasons and licenses for fishing and clamming, anyone can use the land between low tide and high tide for hunting, fishing, clam digging, and other forms of “fishing, fowling, and navigation.”

If they can get there.

Most of the land along the shore is in private hands. Not many years ago, private landowners often worked out handshake arrangements that enabled clam harvesters to get to the shore. But property along Gouldsboro’s shore has been changing hands quickly, a trend that has accelerated since the onset of COVID, when more people began working remotely. The Gouldsboro Shore project is working to keep these arrangements in place whenever possible. Here is the latest news on what we have been doing.

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Learn How to Dig Clams!

Gouldsboro Shore and the Gouldsboro Shellfish Committee invite the community clam digging demonstrations and lessons on Sunday, October 9, at 3:00 PM in Prospect Harbor. Whether you’ve dug your own clams for a while or have never been on the mud, this is an opportunity to learn from commercial diggers about how to spot where clams are and dig them.

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An aerial view of lobster boats in a harbor

Maine Coastal Program Report – Jan-June

Much of the work we do to preserve shore access and prepare for larger storms and sea-level rise is funded by the Maine Coastal Program through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Our most recent report to the Maine Coastal Program provides a brief (4 pages) but comprehensive overview of progress since January. If you want to know what the Gouldsboro Shore program does, this is a good place to start. There’s a link to the report at the end of this post.

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A gravel path leading down to a gravel boat launch. In the background is a bay with boats and an island.

Protecting Shore Access in South Gouldsboro

Over the past few weeks, Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) completed the purchase of a narrow strip of property in South Gouldsboro to provide shore access for clam harvesters and others seeking access to Bunker’s Cove, Stave Island, and the Stave Island Bar.

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