The Maine Marine Trades Association sent six volunteers on snowmobiles and snowshoes to help remove derelict canoes in the northern part of the state, the organization said in a statement.
The rendezvous took place at Slaughter Pond in the Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area, managed by The Nature Conservancy in the Pine Tree State’s Mount Katahdin region.
The volunteers started with a 20-mile snowmobile ride, then snowshoed more than two miles to the remote 66-acre pond in search of four unregistered fiberglass canoes.
“I had seen the canoe problem on some of our beautiful, remote wilderness ponds, and raised our hand to help,” said Sandy Keefer, MMTA executive director. “But I didn’t realize quite how bad some ponds were until I reached out to The Nature Conservancy.”
On the February workday, the volunteers hauled out two canoes — one in two halves — and two contractor bags full of other refuse, such as foam, old flotation cushions and plastic.
The effort was supported by the NOAA Marine Debris Program and the Brunswick Foundation.
“We are so grateful to the Maine Marine Trades Association and the volunteers,” said Nancy Sferra, director of land management for The Nature Conservancy. “Hauling these long-abandoned canoes out of the preserve is the start of a multiyear effort to remove derelict boats from our shores.”
The canoes will be ground up at a recycling center and repurposed in cement aggregate.