LINCOLN, Maine ― The town’s new children’s pond is all about people like 11-year-old Lukas Cropley, and he likes that.
“There are older kids who come fishing [at other places] I go who think they are all cool because they have beer and cigarettes,” Cropley said Wednesday. “We won’t see that here. Here it is for children.”
Town leaders formally named the Edwards Family Children’s Fishing Park and placed a sign at the pond Wednesday with a short celebration that featured game wardens helping fifth-graders from RSU 67’s Mattanawcook Junior High School stock the pond with several hundred fish.
Built on wetlands considered undevelopable off River and Airport roads just east of the Penobscot River, the pond is for children age 15 and under, though adults can fish if they bring along children, town Economic Development Director Ruth Birtz said.
“It’s a fabulous idea,” Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said of the pond, which is on land the Edwards donated to the town. “It was a nice tribute to name it after the family. You can’t say enough about them for their generosity.”
About 4.87 acres of the total parcel was donated to the town by the Edwards family. The town bought the rest of the land and town and state workers developed it as a pond with help from a state grant. The donation, in-kind service donations and the grant created a $90,000 value that only cost town taxpayers about $6,500, Birtz said.
Lincoln is home to 14 bodies of water, including 13 entirely within its limits, and the town has dedicated the pond and Rocky Brook, which is located off Transalpine Road near Enfield Road, to children’s use, said Jeramie Littlefield, a town resident who attended the ceremony.
“It’s good that they will have ice fishing here, too,” Littlefield said. “It’s also an easy place to get to and fish. There’s no slogging through the woods here like you do at Rocky Brook, so parents who don’t fish can bring their kids here to do it very easily.”
The pond and surrounding park area also have volunteer caretakers. Mattanawcook Junior High School fifth-graders taught this year by math, science and health teachers Tracie Murchison and Betty Bickford have pledged to clean up litter and clean the pond’s filter, Murchison said.
“The kids have signed contracts that they will be responsible for all of those things until they have grandchildren,” Murchison said.
The teachers used the pond to demonstrate the interdependence and biodiversity of nature and the impact of pollution, both natural and man-made. They suggested and helped town workers install a stone fill of a trench through which runoff flows into the pond that naturally filters sediments, Murchison said.
The teachers hope to have succeeding fifth-grade classes adopt a town water body until all 14 have caretakers, or eco-heroes, as the teachers call them, Murchison said.
“They know ecosystems, they know pollution and what causes it,” Birtz said of the children the teachers taught this year. The teachers have “done a very nice job.”