ACADIA NAT’L PARK — The boat launch at Jordan Pond will be built up and smoothed out to make it easier to get boats, including the park’s rescue vessel, into and out of the water.
As a result of soil erosion over the years, large rocks that used to be entirely underground now form something of an obstacle course on the approach to the pond. And the rear wheels of boat trailers can get stuck behind the rocks.
“It’s probably one of the major areas where we launch boats for rescues when people get hurt along the trail around Jordan Pond,” Chief Ranger Stuart West told the Mount Desert Board of Selectmen last week.
“So, we want to make sure it’s safe enough to launch our boat and for anyone else. We don’t want to make it fancy, just easier to get boats in the water.”
He said the plan is to spread washed gravel to build up the areas between the rocks and to chip the top off one of the rocks.
Deputy Superintendent Mike Madell said he expects those improvements to be made very soon, “certainly this season.”
Jordan Pond is the water supply for the village of Seal Harbor. Because of that, no swimming or wading is allowed. Boats can have no more than a 10-horsepower motor.
Paul Slack, general manager of the Mount Desert Water District, said he understands Acadia’s need to have a useable boat launch at Jordan Pond, but he is concerned that a better launch will encourage more boating.
“We’re not really interested in having a major boat launch there and bringing a whole bunch of milfoil on boats and destroying our drinking water,” he said. “That’s a major issue for all surface water systems in Maine.”
Milfoil is a fast-growing, invasive, aquatic plant that chokes lakes and streams. It easily can be transferred from one body of water to another on boats.
“The only way you can successfully get rid of milfoil is physical removal, and that’s very expensive and very hard to do,” Slack said.
He said he and park officials agreed on a plan for improving the boat launch at Jordan Pond that, it is hoped, will meet the park’s needs and protect the water supply.
Asked if he thinks that will prove satisfactory, Slack said, “Until we actually do it, we’re not going to really know.”
He said that most of the boating that is currently done on Jordan Pond is with canoes.
“That’s really what the [boat launch] was designed for,” he said.