Yes, indeed, the eastern end of Higgins Beach is now officially closed. Not just to off-leash dogs. Not just to leashed dogs. But to us good ol’ human beings as well. Yup… BEACH CLOSED.
On or about April 4, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (“MDIFW”) staked off the eastern end of the beach and installed “No Trespassing” signs. No dates were specified so one can only assume that this piece of beach has permanently entered “Sanctuary Beach” status.
Admittedly it is not a large portion of the beach. And it is State property. Although as State residents and taxpayers, shouldn’t we have some say in the matter? Or at least get notice that this was going to happen? No, that’s not the way MDIFW works. Like the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the Federal level, MDIFW is a law unto itself. It is, you must remember, all about the birds.
The Bird Extremist’s Continuum of “Beach Management”
So now all that talk of a “slippery slope” seems a bit more real, doesn’t it? Last year we saw privately-owned Western Beach become no-dogs-all-summer, apparently as part of the beach nourishment/golf course protection deal. Now a chunk of Higgins Beach is closed to all. Chalk up another one for the bird extremists.
It will be interesting to see what steps MDIFW takes on Scarborough Beach, the majority of which is State-owned property. Or perhaps they’ve already closed it and I just don’t know about it…
Poetry Contest Announced
[Editor’s note: Given the highly creative and literate leanings of many of this blog’s readers, we are pleased to offer this outlet for those talents.]
Robert Frost famously wrote: “Good fences make good neighbors.” Well, maybe. Some Scarborough residents might take issue with that sentiment. Nevertheless, to celebrate “good fences” and the arrival of spring, ScarboroughBeachesAlert.com is pleased to announce our first contest for readers. We are looking for the best limerick on the theme “The $8,000 Fence.”
The Grand Prize is an email subscription to the Maine Audubon Society’s “News and Notes” and a copy of my email to former Town Councilor Judy Roy that earned me a stiff rebuke. (Based on her public comment at the last Council meeting, one might speculate that Ms. Roy is at the beginning of a quest to join the Council again. Do we need another Councilor who values MDIFW/USFWS guidelines over the voice of the people? But I digress.)
Entries must be in standard limerick form, be suitable for family reading and be free of libelous content. Entries should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org and are due by 5pm on April 15. The decision of the judges is final. No purchase necessary. Residents of New Mexico may not participate. All entries become the property of CloudMedia LLC. Rules and deadline subject to change.
Stay tuned for the next exciting chapter. Topics will include:
• The Year of the Dog
• Ordinance or Resolution – You Decide
• Western Beach Project Update
• Are You Prepared for a Plover Emergency? Five Things You Should Know.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (“MDIFW”) staked off the eastern end of the beach and installed “No Trespassing” signs. This area is well defined and should be the only area that should have dog restrictions. There is not any need for 35% or more on Higgins Beach to have any other restrictions.
In short at Higgins Beach, MDIFW has done the work for the town council.
Two questions how is paying to enforce these rules, and will they pay for the towns (police) court time, including travel time?
Thanks for your comment. I’m afraid, however, you have fallen into the easy trap of being TOO LOGICAL. We’ll have none of that here!
Enforcement? What is this “enforcement” you speak of? That’s just a detail that we really don’t need to worry about. All we have to do is get a good ordinance… er, resolution… er, ordinance/resolution… on the books and the enforcement will take care of itself. That’s the approach that worked so well for the past ten years. Why change now?
Can fishermen access the lower part of the beach where the river dumps into the ocean? This is usually only fished in the last few hours of the outgoing and below the high tide line, where there would be no birds nesting anyway.
I’m not certain of the answer to this question, but I think access for fishing will not be impacted by the current closure.
However, note that pedestrians are one of the identified groups of villains in the USFWS’s Guidelines for Managing Recreational Activities in Piping Plover Breeding Habitat… (1994). And remember, the “little guys” often feed in the tidal wash area, so fishermen in waders could disturb them. And, as we have all come to know, piping plovers have very sensitive psyches and are very easily disturbed. So while fishermen may escape this round of restrictions at Higgins, one cannot guarantee that USFWS will not determine at a future date that fishing is really too much for the little guys to endure.