From the Senate

Pemaquid historic site worth preserving

Posted:  Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 7:30am
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We have a treasure in Lincoln County that is worth preserving, and are now a step closer to doing that following a vote last week at the State House.

The Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site serves as a window into our past, allowing us to understand what was happening on our shores long before Maine became a state.

Located at the entrance to Pemaquid Harbor, it is one of the earliest sites of European presence in North America. According to the organization Friends of Colonial Pemaquid, the site served as a seasonal fishing station in the early 1600s, and was the location of a permanent village that was settled between 1625 and 1629.

In addition, according to the group, “Extensive archeological excavations have unearthed 14 foundations of 17th and 18th century structures and the officers’ quarters for Fort William Henry and Fort Frederick.” A museum at the site features artifacts from prehistoric times. Visitors can observe items such as musket balls, coins, pottery and early hardware.

But the site is in need of upgrades and maintenance in order to preserve this historical gem for future generations.

Friends of Colonial Pemaquid has secured funding to carry out the upgrades, but in order to do that, they need to lease the site from the Maine Bureau of Parks and Public Lands.

Earlier this fall, I submitted a bill to the Legislative Council, the group of lawmakers who determine which bills will be allowed into the next session which begins next month. The bill “Resolve, Authorizing the Lease of the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site” was rejected at first, probably due to the fact that bills that are considered for the shorter legislative session are supposed to be of emergency in nature.

However, there is an appeal process for those bills that were rejected, and I went to the State House and made the case that funding for this project was dependent on Friends of Colonial Pemaquid securing a lease, and therefore the timing did constitute an emergency. Fortunately, the Legislative Council reversed its earlier decision and voted unanimously to allow the bill in next session.

This is great news for the people of Lincoln County. The importance of protecting this precious resource transcends politics. In addition to having enormous historical significance, the site also offers spectacular scenery and facilities for boat launching and docking. The Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site already plays a significant role in the local economy, and would likely be an even bigger economic driver for the peninsula if the upgrades are made.

The Legislative Council vote is not the end of the story in this process, but it is a significant step in the effort to preserve the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site, and in the next few months I look forward to getting the necessary support among my fellow lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in order to get this done.

If you would like to discuss this or any other legislative issue, please call (207) 287-1505, or email me at Dana.Dow@legislature.maine.gov.

Senator Dana Dow (R-Lincoln) represents Maine Senate District 13 and serves on the Legislature’s Taxation and Insurance and Financial Affairs committees.