Franklin Countys First News

Courtesy boat inspections in Rangeley

RANGELEY - For the sixteenth year Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust will be conducting courtesy boat inspections at public boat launches in the Rangeley Lakes region. The inspections are the main part of an educational program that engages the public by teaching them to inspect their boat and trailers to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals. Each year the courtesy boat inspections are funded through voters in local municipalities, grants, and donations.

Inspectors cover launches on the larger bodies of water: Cupsuptic, Mooselookmeguntic, and Rangeley Lakes. “We’ve talked to over 20,000 boaters and visitors over the last 16 summers. Our inspectors are often the first people our visitors interact with in the region. We arm them to be ambassadors and knowledgeable about the community. They are also the ‘front-line of defense’ for invasive plants.

Invasive plants can be devastating on a waterbody and local economy. A tiny fragment or a single seed carried on a boat trailer or fishing gear can start an infestation. Invasive aquatic species are self-sustaining and can double in size within a single year, often outcompeting beneficial native plants. They have no natural predators and left alone can fill in shorelines with mats of thick fronds, making lakes unsuitable for swimming or boating.

Rangeley's lakes and ponds are an extremely valuable economic resource as well as a stunning natural resource. They contribute to the enjoyment of many Maine residents, they help relive property tax burdens on local people in rural communities, and they support substantial economic activity. Protecting water quality is beneficial to everyone who cares for the Rangeley Lake Region.

The Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust’s mission is to conserve and steward the natural and historic resources of the Rangeley Lakes Region for the benefit of the community and future generations. The Rangeley Lakes Region has some of the healthiest water bodies in Maine. RLHT hopes to keep it that way. Their Headwaters Lake Protection Program oversees water quality monitoring and invasive species on 16 waterbodies within the upper Androscoggin River Watershed which are free of aquatic invasive plants.

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