A Maine hiking destination to visit before its too late - Sears Island


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Super Moderator
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Sep 3, 2003
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Gorham NH

Large undeveloped coastal islands in Maine with walk in access are pretty rare in Maine. Sears Island in Penobscot Bay was bought by the state of Maine in the past when the land rush for coastal maine real estate was far less than currently. At one point it was seriously considered as the site for a second nuclear power plant that would be a twin to the Wiscasset plant that was intended to be tied into the huge DIckey Lincoln Pumped hydro project in NW Maine on the St John River, When it was bought by the state, it was represented as a way of mixing economic development to part of coast that was depressed and also a way of protecting the frontage on the bay from the inevitable subdivision into shore front lots for out of state vacation homes. Maine is also "all in" on renewable power and its "niche" is planned to be floating windfarms located way out in the Gulf of Maine (far from shore and out of sight). The federal government has recently assigned a large offshore area for what could become a very large set of floating windfarms capable of powering New England. Floating wind farms are already being deployed in Europe and take advantage of more consistent winds offshore that cannot economically be accessed by wind turbines mounted on stationary structures. The potential impact to the sea bottom is lower. The problem is in order to build floating wind farms, there needs to be a large somewhat protected on shore manufacturing and assembly area with deep water access. Sears Island fills the bill and the state governor has started the wheels turning to get a lot of federal money to build out that area. This would be year round work in skilled trades in an area that really has no major industry. The trade off is in order to build that assembly area, a portion of the island will get developed. https://www.pressherald.com/2024/04...ption-to-allow-wind-terminal-on-sears-island/

There is opposition to the project and the political winds in Maine do shift on occasion, but the combination of new industrial jobs typically supported by conservatives, in combination with support from liberal green folks (not living on the bay) is pretty powerful. My guess is it may be a couple of years before the actual project gets started on the ground.

In the meantime, if you have never hiked along the coast, its a different experience made a bit more challenging that the shoreline disappears during high tides so tidal charts need to be consulted. The length of the potential loop fits into a daytrip and there are ways of cutting it short. It is not heavily publicized as its not a state park and using the Route 3 "shortcut" from Augusta skips the worst of the summertime RT 1 traffic south of Searsport.