Wassumkeag, the Penobscot word for “shining water,” is painted on the road that welcomes everyone to Sears Island: beachgoers, families, couples young and old, hikers, bird watchers, butterfly enthusiasts, students, teachers, hunters, skiers and snowshoers, artists, driftwood collectors, beach architects, archaeologists and historians, scientists, writers, singers, meditators and other peace seekers. (Did I forget someone?)
No entry fee required; it’s a 10-mile drive north of Belfast, and its 600 acres are an unspoiled natural habitat unique on the entire East Coast.
Maine’s DOT plans to industrialize at least a third of this island, transport heavy equipment on the causeway, erect 800-foot-tall cranes, blast to level the shoreline to build a hub for the construction of its site to launch floating offshore wind turbines.
They plan to ‘restore’ wetlands which they are bulldozing and scraping large swaths of dirt, as well as cutting off beach access from places like the Green Trail, which has a bustling little stream running through it. used by teachers and students to study animal life. A new road to the site will most likely be constructed from the causeway, cutting through what remains of this trail, and the road to the pier will become a highway.
For years I have brought friends, family and dogs to Sears Island. He soothed the loneliness of pandemic isolation. Last spring, my dog, Waldo, spotted a young adult harp seal camouflaged on some rocks on the east shore.
Saw and heard gray foxes, deer, coyotes, crows and owls. I monitored the frogs, as part of an international effort to assess their numbers. Hunters told me they spotted moose. Ornithologists have counted up to 200 species of migrating birds each spring. Each fall, students tag monarch butterflies to see if they will make it to Mexico.