Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust’s community skating rink, a fixture of Damariscotta’s winter landscape since 2011, is on hiatus for this season.
According to Coastal Rivers Executive Director Steven Hufnagel, time is needed to raise funds to replace the worn-out liner for the rink, as well as to recruit many additional volunteers to keep the rink in shape for skating.
The rink consists of plastic boards and a rugged plastic liner that is filled with water once the weather becomes cold enough to freeze it. The liner is expensive and wears out after several years, or more quickly when people skate on the ice when it is not fully frozen. Though volunteers monitor the ice daily and close the rink when conditions are not right, skaters often ignore the closure signs, resulting in tears in the liner.
In addition to the expense of a liner, maintaining the ice rink each winter requires hours of labor. To keep the rink free and available to the community, Coastal Rivers relies on committed volunteers to set up the framework in the fall and lay out the liner, fill it, clear the snow after every storm, monitor the rink daily to determine whether conditions are right for skating, keep the ice smooth and skatable, and disassemble the structure in the spring.
Coastal Rivers is also looking to find a volunteer coordinator for the ice rink. Since the rink’s inception, volunteer Matt Filler has been the driving force behind the project. Filler recruited and coordinated the teams of volunteers, checked ice conditions daily, and participated in much of the clearing and maintenance. Filler stepped down from his role this year, leaving big shoes to fill.
The temporary absence of the skating rink is a disappointment to many, including Hufnagel. “I love the rink,” he said. “Not only do I take pleasure in seeing it used throughout the winter, but I also enjoy it with my family. Taking a year off is no small decision. It’s a beloved community asset. With some changes, new volunteers, and a new liner, we should be up and running again next year.”
Coastal Rivers will organize a meeting this spring to begin planning for the 2020-2021 skating season. Volunteers will be needed to help with rink setup, breakdown, and maintenance, as well as one volunteer coordinator. Anyone interested in being involved is welcome to participate. To learn more or to volunteer, please email Jim Grenier at email@example.com or call 563-1393. To contribute to the purchase of a new liner, please email Hufnagel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust, formerly the Damariscotta River Association and the Pemaquid Watershed Association, is a nonprofit, membership-supported, and nationally accredited land trust and conservation organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the natural, cultural, and historical heritage of the greater Pemaquid peninsula and Damariscotta River region.
Coastal Rivers has active programs in the areas of land conservation, stewardship, community education, water quality monitoring, marine conservation, and cultural preservation.