I remember buying my first fly fishing rod at the Orvis fishing store in Fairfield in 2008. We had just moved to Waterville and I was interested in learning how to fish the Kennebec. Soon after, while fishing from Fort Halifax Park, I met the owner of the Kennebec Café in Fairfield. He told me he only served breakfast and lunch so he had time to fish in the afternoons. My family and I have many happy memories of weekend breakfasts at the café and their heavenly homemade donuts. Sadly, the Orvis fishing store closed because of limited business and the owner of the Kennebec Café moved on to find a new location for his restaurant near a better fishing hole.

Canoeing the Sebasticook from Benton to Fort Halifax in the spring during the alewife run is a wonderful experience. On one trip I counted over 30 bald eagles lining the river looking for fish in just a few miles of paddling. I suspect tourists would pay good money for such an opportunity. This experience only became available with the removal of the Edwards Dam in Augusta and the Fort Halifax Dam at the mouth of the Sebasticook.

The opportunity to canoe our rivers or catch Atlantic salmon, brown trout, or big striped bass in the shallows of the Kennebec will attract many to our locale. Maine is a destination for many outdoor lovers. Not many of them look to Waterville and Winslow as an outdoor mecca. Removing the four Kennebec River dams between Waterville and Skowhegan could change this situation. Improving the health of Maine’s rivers may be for the greater good of our region and could provide different, and perhaps better, sources of revenue for our community.

 

Scott Beale

Waterville

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