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March 26, 2015
Maine Sporting Camp Heritage Foundation Logo
Preserving the “Sporting Camp Experience”
deer at sporting camp in winter
Top Five Requirements for Preserving a Sporting Camp

What does it take to "preserve" a particular sporting camp? The answer is not always simple, as each sporting camp's needs are unique, just as its character and owners are unique.

But there are several key aspects that must be in place. They are:

  1. Strength in Numbers
  2. A Willing Landowner
  3. Significant Funding
  4. A Large Coalition of Supporters
  5. Time & Patience

What do these actually mean? ...

Farewell "Snow Moon"

Thirteen full moons appear during each year. We have just lived through the "Snow Moon" as taught by the Wabanaki people.

The "Snow Moon" usually brings the heaviest snow falls and coldest temperatures. Wildlife hunkers down to keep warm and save energy. Moving through the woods over deep powdery snow to hunt becomes very difficult. Hence, this time is also known as the "Hunger Moon" and "Starvation Moon."

The Snow Moon of 2015 turned out to be an extra cold one, and one that lets us fully see how Wabanaki legends have been used to pass along important knowledge about living in Maine. Knowledge that is still vital today.

Each moon has its own Wabanaki spirit, and the spirit for the snow moon is a harsh one. Known either as the chenoo, the giwakwa, or the kiwakwa, you should avoid it no matter what. The word "kiwakwa" means "going about in the woods." If you don't want to see one of these monsters, then stay out of the woods during the winter. READ MORE...

Wabanaki Kiwakwa
An artist's depiction of the Wabanaki "Wendigo" or "Kiwakwa" - Evil spirit of the winter "Snow Moon"
How Many Sporting Camps in Maine?

Such simple questions - How many are there? Where are they located? Which ones are able to survive well into the future? Which ones are in danger of being lost? What do they need for resources and assistance?

These questions have been asked many times, yet no one has the answers! Not the State agencies that issue the business permits, building permits and drinking water permits! Not Maine's tourism and economic development agencies.

Therein lies a major problem. One that must be solved before effective action can be taken to strengthen the entire industry or to preserve individual camps.

The Maine Sporting Camp Heritage Foundation has begun to create a database containing all that information. This task involves a vast amount of research, and involves several State agencies, major forest landowners, other nonprofits and the sporting camp industry. READ MORE...

New Board Members

The Maine Sporting Camp Heritage Foundation is currently meeting with persons (and groups) who might be interested in supporting our mission by joining our Board of Directors.

Perhaps you are interested, or know of someone who might be, and would like to hear more. We would love to meet with you and fill you in on all the possible ways you might get involved. Please contact John Rust at (207) 337-5858 or send an Email to us at info@sportingcampfoundation.org.

Traditional Log Cabin
Traditional Cabin Style
Building a Coalition

One of the most important programs to support our mission is building a coalition of individuals and organizations who can help us to preserve Maine's sporting camps.

That mission involves conserving land around sporting camps, and assisting on common business and marketing issues. We are very fortunate that Maine's large outdoor and tourism communities are very experienced in these tasks. Our challenge is to focus them on sporting camp issues.

One of our coalition building opportunities is the "Roundtable" event hosted by Maine Woods Forever. The Roundtables were started in 2004 to foster collaboration between those who are devoted to conserving our forests and woodlands for today and for future generations.

John Rust of the Maine Sporting Camp Heritage Foundation volunteered to chair a Maine Woods Forever committee that recently announced the first-ever recipients of the "Teddy Roosevelt Maine Conservation Award," at Maine Woods Forever's 30th Roundtable event, held at Unity College.

READ MORE About the Award Winners...

For more about Maine Woods Forever and the "Roundtable" please visit www.mainewoodsforever.org.

fly fishing in summer
John Rust (L) presenting the "Teddy Roosevelt Maine Conservation Award" to Mathias Deming (R)
By the way...

Survival of wintering deer, as shown above near Eustis, Maine, depends on many factors. While all winters are difficult for deer, 2015 has not brought extreme snowfall to our northern forest. But it has been a record cold and long winter, with few occassions to let the snow melt. Deer survival is highly influenced by when the snow melts and plants start producing nutritious buds and greenery - we call this "Green Up." We will soon see the outcome.

Coming Up

Many sporting camps are located on the shore of a lake whose water level was once controlled by a dam. Virtually all of the dams were originally built to hold water for use in flushing logs downstrean in early spring. Now, over one hundred years later, logs are no longer transported via streams and these old and unmaintained dams present a troubling predicament for sporting camps. How do these dams affect sporting camps, and what should be done? Should they be removed or maintained? Look for more info in our next newsletter.

Alien Infestation?
Most of Maine's sporting camps enjoy the sights, sounds and scents of our northern spruce-fir forests. But trouble is on the horizon. It comes from Mother Nature in the form of the spruce budworm, whose population is now in a rapidly growing stage of their cycle. Budworms are actually native to Maine. They feed on fir and spruce needles. In large enough numbers, this will kill a tree. Worse, when budworm populations grow very high they can kill thousands of acres of trees. How has this affected sporting camps in the past, and is there anything that might be done to minimize that in the future? Look for more info in a future newsletter.

Photo Credits: Tim Pond Camps