I grew up in Portage in Aroostook County, which is located on Portage Lake. Every winter we would skate, snowmobile and cross-country ski on the frozen ice. I never did it – because it always seemed too darn cold – but others would haul ice shacks onto the ice every year to fish.
It was a part of life living in the Great Deep Dark North Woods of Maine. And it seemed every year or so someone would fall through the ice, usually while riding a snowmobile or driving a vehicle on the ice.
And the highlight of the spring was the “ice-out contest.” Yep, a local fundraiser where you buy a ticket betting on the time and day that the ice would be “out,” which I believe was determined by whether or not the local game warden could pilot a boat pretty much from end to end of the lake without being impeded by ice. Above is a photo taken from the Portage Lake public beach parking lot. There is a car on the frozen lake and to the right you can barely make out that there are a couple of people on the ice, probably skating. I do not recall when the photo was taken.
Below is the top of a story on the Bangor Daily News’ website about the Maine Warden Service again warning people to stay off the ice. I’ve also included a link to the rest of the story.
By Nok-Noi Ricker
Bangor Daily News Staff
Personnel from the Maine Warden Service dealt with a number of emergencies on Maine waterways over the weekend, but none that resulted in serious injury, agency spokeswoman Deborah Turcotte said Sunday evening.
“We’ve responded to a number of incidents on lakes throughout Maine,” she said. In every case, “the people have gotten out of the water.”
Even though residents are being warned about the thin ice on Maine lakes, especially the deep-water ones that are covered with a thick layer of insulating snow, people continue to break through, she said.
Here’s a link to the rest of the story.