One hot day last summer four other swimmers and I were evicted from Jamies Pond at the hand-carry boat launch area managed by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. At the time I thought that the eviction efforts were just local, but I have since been informed that the department is “in the process of installing new rules signs at our boater access facilities” statewide, including notifications that swimming is not allowed.

It is insane that IF&W is escalating its swimming ban even as many Maine communities have Get Out! campaigns urging people to get outdoors in order to cope with the pandemic. Pandemic? What pandemic? To defend its ban IF&W highlights one of its rules, “No person shall swim at a boat launch except in designated locations,” oblivious to the possibility that many of its approximately 65 hand-carry boat launch areas could very well be designated as swim areas.

Since last summer I’ve tried without success to dent IF&W’s armor. I’m now hoping that a sympathetic reporter will pick up the gauntlet and write about the situation- delve into the reasons IF&W gives for being so determined to ban swimming at all boat launch sites.

If, come swim season 2022, there is still a no swimming sign at Jamies Pond, I will ignore it  and hop in the water.  If  someone drives to the parking area in an IF&W truck and starts waving and calling to me, I won’t be able to hear the person because I don’t wear my hearing aids while swimming. I’ll just wave back and politely call, “Thank you. You have a nice day, too.”


Fern C. Stearns


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