So, it’s nearly Independence Day. You’ve got no plans, a full tank of cheap(er) gas, and a three-day weekend off. What’s an adventurous soul to do?
Here’s a suggestion: Pack your tent and set course for the neatest little Maine town you’ve never visited, where you can join the locals in an event that’s part celebration, part reunion, and all fun.
After more than a year of planning, the first “Moosestock” will be held in Allagash from Friday through Monday. The event will mark the town’s 125th anniversary, and a varied slate of activities is on tap.
Always want to march in a parade? On July 4, you can do that. Or you can ride your bike. Or haul your boat. Or tap dance. According to the event flier, everyone’s welcome to not only attend the parade, but become a part of it.
That’s the same philosophy that will rule the entire weekend: Show up. Find an event that intrigues you. Meet some old friends, if you’re an actual “Moosetowner.” Make some new ones, if you’re just stopping by for the first time.
Just be aware: Getting from Fort Kent to Allagash might take you awhile, as you may feel the urge to stop … and stop … and stop at some of the homes taking part in what’s being termed a “30-mile yard sale.”
Once in town, however, you’re sure to find something to do. Stop by and introduce yourself at one of the reunion barbecues. Visit the craft fair. Toss together some scraps that will float (duct tape is a handy accessory) and enter the anything-that-floats river regatta. Toss a frying pan. Cast a fly. Compete in the horseshoe tournament. Learn to knit.
Race an outhouse. Yes, I said “race an outhouse.” Didn’t I tell you Moosestock sounded cool?
And on Sunday, attend one of the church services in town, if you choose. Townsfolk are understandably excited that all three local parishes will be open for services for the first time in years.
If you’re interested in learning more about Moosestock before heading off into the Maine woods, I understand. Organizers have set up a Facebook page that you can check out before your journey. Go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Moosestock/266096682682 and ask all the questions you want.
Whatever you do, don’t spend July 4 weekend saying you’ve got nowhere to go. Moosestock awaits.
Alewife restoration meeting set
Richard Dill of the Maine Department of Marine Resources checked in late last week to share some information about a meeting you may want to attend Thursday.
Dill, a fisheries biologist, explained that the DMR will outline a proposal to restore a population of sea-run alewives to Pushaw and Little Pushaw lakes. The meeting will be held at Herbert Sargent Community Center in Stillwater from 6 to 8 p.m.
Dill said a meeting held last week was not well attended but was hopeful that more folks would show up in Stillwater.
And while the mere mention of the word “alewife” can raise hackles in some corners of the state — a well-documented fight about reintroduction still simmers in Washington County — Dill said that has not been the case in the Penobscot valley.
The biologist said some have misconceptions about the fish but most seem satisfied when they hear the DMR’s restoration plan.
Dill said alewives traditionally returned from the sea to spawn in many area lakes — including Pushaw — before their passage was blocked by dams.
According to a fact sheet provided by the DMR, alewives were once one of the most abundant fish in the Penobscot River and as such the species played an important role in the vibrant ecosystem. Alewives are eaten by birds, mammals and other fish and are often used as bait for the lobster-fishing industry.
Any-deer permit process open
Deer hunters who want to increase their odds of filling a tag this year can get a head start on that process: The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is accepting applications for its any-deer permit lottery.
In response to a harsh winter and new data that was gathered during aerial surveys of the deer population, the state’s deer biologists recommended a reduction of any-deer permits from 48,825 that were allotted in 2010 to 26,390 for this year.
Hunters who do not possess an any-deer permit are limited to targeting deer with antlers. An any-deer permit allows the holder to shoot a buck, doe or fawn.
The DIF&W divides the state into 29 Wildlife Management Districts, but any-deer permits are only available in 11 of those WMDs this year.
Applicants can enter the lottery at www.mefishwildlife.com or by printing and mailing back a paper application. The deadline for paper applications is July 29. Online applications must be completed by midnight on Aug. 15.
Entry in the lottery is free and a drawing will be held in September.
According to the DIF&W, 18,378 of this year’s any-deer permits will go to Maine residents, 6,599 will go to landowners, 232 to Superpack license holders and 1,181 to nonresidents.
Dates to remember: Youth Deer Day will be held on Oct. 22, Maine’s residents-only opener is Oct. 29 and the regular firearms season on deer stretches from Oct. 31 through Nov. 26.