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The Hand of Man

Humans have a tendency to tinker with the natural landscape surrounding them. These days there are many efforts to restore natural areas to their original, untouched form. On March 28, 2020, I visited a dam. This dam impounds water for Nash's Lake. In a time when dam removals are becoming commonplace, I believe it is important to take a closer look at what some of these areas provide.


Nash's Lake, Calais, Maine

I must confess, my family has a camp on this lake. There are many camps on the lake, and I know I am very fortunate to be able to have that kind of access. You don't have to own property on the lake to enjoy it, as there are public access options available.


Nash's Lake Dam

I believe this dam was constructed in the 1860s to divert water to plaster mill downstream. Today, dams around the world are being removed to restore rivers and streams to their natural condition. I do not believe this dam is being considered for removal. However, the next dam along the water system is planned for removal.


Looking over Nash's Lake Dam to the lake

View of the dam from the lake shore

Looking out to the lake from the picnic area

Nash's Lake outlet (where the water leaves the lake)

Nash's Lake outlet (beyond the dam)

Despite the locations altered form, it is still a beautiful place to visit. It is accessible by ATV trails/dirt roads. The road that we walked to get to the dam was primarily on Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, and the dam itself is owned by the city of Calais. To reach the property, we crossed private, federal, and municipally owned land, all of which were accessible via an extensive dirt road system.


Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge boundary markers
City of Calais Recreational Area sign

In natural resource management, there is no right answer. There is only the best option given the information available. At the time this dam was constructed, it was likely the best option for the people who needed it. Today, the dam creates many recreational opportunities, and the area surrounding it is home to an abundance of wildlife. While "the hand of man" is generally perceived negatively, it can create beautiful experiences for both humans and nature.


My Step Dad left and Mom right, keeping their Social Distance
Calla Lily and I enjoying the view of the stream


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