The Downeast Lakes Land Trust (DLLT) in partnership with the Maine Guides Education Fund was pleased to present “Introduction to Guiding in Grand Lake Stream” to five excited students on the weekend of July 13.
Students began with a discussion of the laws and ethics surrounding guiding with Sgt Dave Craven of the Maine Warden Service and the chair of the Maine Professional Guides Board. The students listened gravely to stories of what can happen in the woods with a client, and the level of knowledge and responsibility expected of guides. They then walked to the Grand Lake Stream Historical Society where Maine Guide and and 4th generation Grand Lake Stream resident Louis Cataldo regaled the students with tales of the local guiding legends Pop Moore and Woodie Wheaton.
Educators and guides Sue and Al LaPlante met the children on the ball field, and helped them cook a traditional guide’s lunch of fried potatoes (with a side of potato skins) and hamburgers. The students also prepared chocolate cherry pudding cake in a dutch oven and a blueberry cake in a reflector oven to accompany the ubiquitous guide’s coffee. Students wrapped up their first day in the fields and forests learning the art of hunting from long-time hunter Lee Whitely and map and compass skills with Al LaPlante.
Day two saw the students and guides bright and early at the boat launch at the end of Water St. slathering on sunblock for the water portion of the program. Joined by teaching guides Andy Buckman, Kim Vose and Bret Vose, students split up– some heading to the stream to flyfish with the Vose’s, and the others to the Grand Lake Canoes to fish for bass on Big Lake. After trading fishing techniques mid-morning, every student had caught a fish and each guide demonstrated their own filleting techniques. A few students took up knives and gave it a try themselves.
The long sunny afternoon was spent learning canoe and kayak paddling and rescue techniques. Students explored Gardner Brook and circumnavigated several islands.
Wet and happy, the students were still up for more as the canoes and kayaks were loaded up for the day. “I wish we could come back tomorrow!” said one 10-year old participant. Her smiling father agreed, “I wish we would have had something like this when I was a kid, I learned so much just getting to ride along.”
“Frankly” said parent another parent, “I was thrilled we got in, I figured a program like this would fill up fast, and my wife and I both committed ourselves to getting our son here to be part of something as special as this.”
“I think it was a huge success” said Sue LaPlante, “The first time, you never really know how things are going to go, but we had a great time, and I think the kids did too.”
“I was thrilled to see that the students enjoyed the program,” said Tanya Rucosky, the DLLT Education and Communications Manager. “We couldn’t have done it without the commitment of all the guides who shared their knowledge and skills with us. They were phenomenal!”
If you would like to see this program offered again, or have ideas about different formats, please contact Tanya Rucosky at the Downeast Lakes Land Trust and share your thoughts.