April Fools

sunset on the river, seen through the pines

This post is part of a series contributed by DRA-PWA Trustee Barnaby Porter. Read the previous post here. Of this essay, Barnaby writes, “Some of this piece might read like fiction. It’s not . . . not a word.” April is my favorite month of year, not only for the whisperings and stirrings of spring it offers but for the promises it makes and for the associations it has left me with in my lifetime. I was born in early April, which was perfect so far as I was concerned as a kid. It was the beginning of fishing season,

Purchase of Castner Creek Community Forest complete

wetland at Castner Creek

As of March 15, 2019 over 85 acres of woods alongside Castner Creek, in the heart of Damariscotta, are now permanently conserved. Castner Creek is a major tributary to the Damariscotta River, and improving water quality in the creek will have a positive impact on the river. The forest also offers exciting potential for multi-use trails. Because of the vulnerability of the area around the creek, and its importance to clean water, DRA-PWA has been interested in this beautiful stream valley for many years. The creek carries a high load of silt and sediment, which affects the river and can

Window on the Dawn

sunrise on the river

This post is part of a series contributed by DRA-PWA Trustee Barnaby Porter. Read the previous post here. Every morning as I brush my teeth, I stand looking out the window over my sink at the river, just a stone’s throw across the lawn. It’s not a passive scene – soothing to my dishevelment at that hour, yes – but rather an active scene of the running tide, the new dawn’s weather and creatures beginning their day. A nosy relative once opened my medicine cabinet and exclaimed in a suspicious tone, “What on earth’ve you got binoculars in the bathroom

Summer House

roots, rock, snow and icicles

This post is part of a series contributed by DRA Trustee Barnaby Porter. Read the previous post here. Note from Barnaby: This is a letter I wrote in 1986, 33 years ago, to my friend, Bill Tyne, who spends summers on Merry Island. Dear Bill, I haven’t written in some time, which might give some indication of what sort of winter we’ve been having – it’s been deep. If this is what they mean by “the depths of winter,” I can tell you it takes no small amount of shoveling. I will let that stand as my excuse. It’s been

DRA and PWA move forward toward unification

construction tour at DRA's Round Top Farm

It all begins on February 11! On that date, the two governing boards of DRA and PWA will meet as a single board for the first time, marking the start of joint operations for the new organization. Like DRA, PWA is focused on land and water conservation and education. The two organizations have a history of working closely together in the Damariscotta-Pemaquid region that dates back to 1991, when the DRA and PWA pooled resources to share office space in downtown Damariscotta. This past September, our respective memberships voted overwhelmingly in favor of unification with a start date of February

The Night the River Froze

lobster buoys in a snowstorm

This post is part of a series contributed by DRA Trustee Barnaby Porter. Read the previous post here. Last week it came off cold. Up until then, things had been pretty tame as winters go. The Damariscotta remained completely open, the tide whispering and roiling as always, keeping the old ice-maker at bay. Boat traffic had been regular, for January anyhow, mostly clam diggers and oystermen, and the steady trading of ducks, the swift drifting of ice cakes and the grinding of shell ice around the point all served, if anything, to heighten my awareness of the river’s deep-running power.

Your name here?

DRA plus PWA equals what?

We need your help. DRA and PWA are joining together as a single organization in February, and we need a new name. We are an accredited land trust, and also so much more. We are looking for a name that reflects our commitment to land conservation and stewardship, water quality, trails and outdoor recreation, and educational programs for all ages. Our geographic focus is on the Damariscotta River estuary and surrounding lands, the Pemaquid River watershed and greater Pemaquid Peninsula, and Johns Bay (see map). Our new name should be catchy, memorable, and fresh, and ideally not too much of

Shell Ice

new ice on the Damariscotta River

This post is part of a series contributed by DRA Trustee Barnaby Porter. Read the previous post here. The hoarse whisper of things to come . . . I was eating breakfast. Out the kitchen window, stillness prevailed in the clear dawn except for the titmice and chickadees at the feeder. The river was placid, a coasting sheet of glass reflecting the far shore in the golden glow of first light. The tide had turned in the last hour, the boat on its mooring now headed upriver. The thermometer read eighteen degrees. Three buffleheads beat around the point and wheeled

Whistler

sunset clouds reflected in water

This post is part of a series contributed by DRA Trustee Barnaby Porter. Read the previous post here. As the late fall afternoon wore on, it grew chilly and still, and the river settled into its evening mood. As often happens at that time of day, I looked up from what I was doing to see what the sky had to offer in the way of a sunset over the hills on the far shore. And what I saw was utter perfection – a clear, uncluttered horizon of continuous, unbroken silhouettes of dark pines and oaks on the ridges, backlit

The Parade of Boats

lobster boat at sunset

This post is part of a series contributed by DRA Trustee Barnaby Porter. Read the previous post here. Everyone loves a parade, they say, but then it isn’t always so. I watch this same parade each autumn and come to the same conclusion each time, that the long, stretched-out procession of boats making its way upriver these several weeks is a sad and reluctant affair. They’re headed up to the boatyard of course, to be hauled out and cradled and made ready for winter… to hibernate through wind and cold and enveloping snow, frozen hard and still, swinging on their