Group plans annual picnic on East Grand Lake

6 months ago

The Chiputneticook Lake International Conservancy will host its free annual hot dog roast on Half Moon Island, aka Old Man Island, at the northern end of East Grand Lake on Saturday, July 8.

The event is slated from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (12 to 2 p.m. New Brunswick time). With the exception of two summers during the height of the pandemic, this picnic event has taken place every summer for nearly two decades.

Last summer, 105 people arrived by boat, sailboat, kayak and canoe to socialize, swim and eat Maine’s famous red hot dogs, along with what some attendees over the years have described as the best french fries they’ve ever eaten. Whether it is because of the taste of the potatoes, the seasoning, or the love with which they are prepared, at the end of the picnic, there are never any potatoes left to be fried. 

The conservancy hopes one or two members of Homeland Security will be on the island to ease the arrival of neighbors from the Canadian shore. The agents have always seemed to appreciate the food and the relaxed atmosphere. 

Last year, lingering concerns about COVID and restrictions led to few Canadians attending the picnic.

CLIC, founded in 1992, is a group of people that advocates for those on and around the Upper St. Croix River Watershed’s five Chiputneticook Lakes: North, East Grand, Mud, Spednic and Palfrey, as well as for those on Deering Lake in Orient and Bracket Lake in Weston. 

CLIC volunteers monitor the lake waters for clarity, put up signs reminding boaters to check for invasive species, place boating safety buoys in spots on East Grand on behalf of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and more. 

In recent years, the group has been leading efforts to keep the Forest City dam in place with operational water gates, opposing all efforts to delicense it. Such an action would drain East Grand Lake, an international waterway, and North Lake in New Brunswick.

The picnic is a way to wrap up the week of the 4th of July. Those attending may bring their own boats to the boat ramp in Orient, which is on Public Landing Road. Anyone who doesn’t have a boat, kayak or canoe should contact a friend who does and join the festivities.