Don’t get me wrong. I”m all about indoor plumbing. In fact, I’d rank it right up there with the wheel, red hot dogs, and disposable contact lenses on my “what would we do without” list.
But we can, in fact, live without red hot dogs. And disposable contacts. And yes, we could even do without indoor plumbing. If we had to. I think.
In that spirit, the BDN has unveiled its “Original Outhouse Contest,” which is being sponsored by Whitten’s 2-Way Service of Brewer and by 304 Stillwater Avenue Furniture of Bangor.
We first told you about the contest in weekend editions, and eager entrants have already begun sending us photos and essays about their grand outdoor lavatories.
To be entirely truthful, not all are so grand. And that’s exactly what we expected … and hoped for.
Whether your privy is a tiny, utilitarian shack or a spacious, well-maintained three-holer, we want to hear about it. Win the contest and we’ll give you a trophy that is being created by Atlantic Awards. We’re also giving away some gift sets from Poo Pouri (I didn’t make this up) bathroom sprays.
I can tell, you’re interested. I can tell, you have to share your outhouse with the world. I can tell, you’re already picturing that trophy sitting right next to the copy of Uncle Henry’s in your own favorite outhouse.
Here’s how you can put your outhouse into the running for worldwide fame and glory (or something like that): Send us one to four color photos of your outhouse online at bdn.to/out. Your words count, too: Tell us what makes your outhouse so darned cool. If you must, you can send your entry to us at Bangor Daily News Original Outhouse Contest, 491 Main St., Bangor, 04401. Or, if you’re in the neighborhood, you can drop entries off at the Buck Street entrance to our office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. We need entries by Aug. 23.
Char facing trouble at Big Wadleigh
A few weeks back we told you about an ambitious effort to reclaim Big Reed Pond, where Arctic char were in danger of being wiped out after the illegal introduction of smelts.
Today there’s more sobering news from the Maine woods, according to biologist Tim Obrey of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
In his Moosehead Lake fishing report, Obrey said a similar situation has developed at Big Wadleigh Pond in T8 R15 WELS, in northwestern Piscataquis County.
“It has been about 10 years since the illegal introduction of smelt and we are already documenting changes in the char population similar to those at Big Reed Pond,” Obrey wrote. “The population may be in danger.”
The really sad news: Obrey and his colleagues don’t think the introduction of smelts into Big Wadleigh took place inadvertently.
“We believe many recent illegal introductions are not random or accidental acts, such as spilling a bait bucket,” Obrey wrote. “In fact it has been illegal to use live bait at Big Wadleigh for many years. More than likely this introduction was a deliberate act, either in an attempt to grow bigger trout or to establish a place to dip smelt.”
In preparation for a possible reclamation effort at Big Wadleigh, fisheries staffers have already spent time at the pond, implanting radio transmitters into 10 mature Arctic char earlier this year. Their goal is to track the fish to their spawning sites and then capture large numbers of those mature fish.
“We hope to remove eggs [and] brood fish this fall (and next fall if necessary) then chemically reclaim the pond,” Obrey wrote. “Progeny of those native fish will be re-introduced the following year.”
The cost of the reclamation project will likely top $100,000, according to Obrey, and Clayton Lakes Woodlands Holdings LLC has stepped up with a cash donation to aid the project. Grants and other funds will be sought.
Unfortunately, a situation has arisen where money that could have been used elsewhere is being spent on cleaning up a preventable mess.
“No matter what the reason, introducing non-native fish is always at the detriment of the resident native fish, and it is illegal,” Obrey wrote. “There is a $10,000 fine for those who get caught illegally stocking fish and there is a $2,000 reward for those providing information leading to a conviction. In most cases, the impacts are irreversible.”
Here’s wishing the DIF&W luck in this reclamation project.
And here’s hoping that someone steps forward with information that leads to an illegal-introduction conviction, either in the Big Wadleigh case or in one of the dozens of other unsolved cases that have plagued Maine waters in recent years.
Boy Scouts looking for a cook
If you know your way around a kitchen and have worked in a professional kitchen, there’s an interesting job opportunity available deep in the Maine woods that you may want to check out.
Al Cowperthwaite of North Maine Woods checked in Tuesday with some urgent news: It seems that the cook at the Boy Scouts of America’s Maine High Adventure facility has left, leaving a bunch of increasingly hungry staffers faring for themselves.
Therefore, Maine High Adventure is looking for a new cook, immediately.
Here are the particulars: Pay is $345 per week through mid-August. The cook must be able to provide a weekly food list; that food will be ordered and picked up by a staff member, then delivered to Maine High Adventure.
Each day the cook will prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner for between five and 16 staff members. Living accommodations will be provided and families are welcome.
So, where is Maine High Adventure? I’m glad you asked. It’s on Mattagamon Lake, which is near the northern boundary of Baxter State Park.
If you’re interested — or if you know anybody who is — you can contact Dan Flammini at 949-5260.