This week’s column may earn me the title of curmudgeon or just another environmentalist trying to take away all of the fun. I don’t believe I am either, though, admittedly, as I age, I am more easily irritated by things such as incessantly barking dogs, and as readers know, I do love to write about the health of Biscay Pond, the flora and fauna, and just life as a year round resident on Biscay.
We are coming up on a pet peeve of mine and that is the personal use of fireworks in the shoreland zone. We read a lot about “cancel culture” these days. I’m not advocating for a complete ban of fireworks, but a strong case can be made for banning fireworks in and around Maine’s lakes and streams and shorelands. Because Biscay Pond is in three separate communities, it would be difficult to enact consistent legislation. As I understand it, Damariscotta essentially restricts fireworks in the downtown area, Bristol prohibits use on town property such as parks and landings, and Bremen has no restrictions. As a result of this, I would like to propose a voluntary moratorium on lake side use of personal fireworks and here is why.
First, fireworks and their heavy metal ingredients are disastrous for all lake creatures — plankton, fish, including the alewives we are trying to attract, birds, and so much more. The heavy metals that are responsible for the beautiful colors end up falling directly in our Pond. Do you recall the elimination of lead weights in fishing? These heavy metals are equally toxic for people and animals.
Second, the sounds and flashes terrorize domestic animals. Dogs cower and need sedatives, cats are known to disappear for several days. Imagine what they do to farm animals, deer, and loons that don’t have humans to comfort them. We wake up each morning now to the cry of the loons and go to sleep at night listening to the hooting owls. Do we really wish to scare these animals from our lake and shore?
Let’s also acknowledge how fireworks impact our brave former servicemen and women who suffer from PTSD. They do not need to be reminded of the devastation of recent wars and wars fought generations ago.
Additionally, and in particular, we are now in a time of a serious drought caused by lack of snow and rain. The fire danger is very real and our volunteer firemen and women do not need our carelessness adding to the stress of their work. We certainly don’t need a Seagull Shop-type disaster here on Biscay Pond.
While I would love to see restrictive legislation passed to protect our shoreland zones, I know enforcement would be impossible for local police and sheriff departments. The answer may or may not be legislative, so, perhaps, we should rely upon the better angels of our nature and remember why we choose to live on a quiet pond, why folks from away choose this as a place to vacation, and why a voluntary moratorium on lake side use of fireworks makes the most sense.
I look forward to hearing your reactions, pro and con!