BPL reopens 2 island state parks

Posted Aug. 31, 2011, at 3:12 p.m.

AUGUSTA — After two days of cleanup, Maine’s two island state parks are open again, according to officials with the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL), under the Maine Department of Conservation.

Eagle Island State Historic Site, the summer home of explorer Admiral Robert E. Peary, located off South Harpswell, opened Wednesday morning after repairs to its boat float were completed, according to Gary Best, BPL assistant state park regional manager.

Warren Island State Park in the Penobscot Bay off Lincolnville, once again is staffed and open, according to Mike Leighton, BPL state park regional manager.

The two island sites were secured and evacuated before Tropical Storm Irene hit on Sunday. Access to the islands was limited on Monday because of the remaining high seas, but park staff members were able to return and finish cleaning up on Tuesday.

The Peary house and museum was shuttered prior to the storm and the boat ramp removed, Best said. Two mooring lines on the boat float broke under the force of Irene, and all of the float’s four lines were replaced on Tuesday by a diver from Falls Point Marine, a private contractor out of Freeport, the BPL official said.

There was no other damage to the site, Best said. “We really put a lot of effort into buttoning up the place,” he said, adding that there had been minimal tree damage at the island site as well.

Best reported that the three regular tour boat operators from Harpswell, Freeport and Portland also were informed, and one already has resumed tours. Visitors once again on Wednesday were exploring the island and enjoying picnics, he said.

“I did see an osprey flying around,” he added. “The seas are calm, the sky is blue and the sun is warm. We are back in full swing.”

Leighton reported Wednesday that Warren Island “is open for business as usual.”

The regional manager said that returning staff found “very minimal damage”; that the floats and pier to the island were in good shape; and all buildings were undamaged.

“We had a few blow downs on the trails, and they all have been cleaned up,” Leighton said.

Both parks will be open and staffed for the upcoming Labor Day weekend, BPL officials said. Campers already are staying at Warren Island’s campsites, Leighton reported. Campers can stay at one of the 12 campsites or the three Adirondack shelters for accommodations.

For more information, go to: www.parksandlands.com

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/08/31/outdoors/bpl-reopens-2-island-state-parks/ printed on August 22, 2014