Belgrade, Maine, sits in a regional watershed composed of seven lakes, known collectively as the Belgrade Lakes, along with many streams and wetlands. Twelve other towns share those lakeshores. The lakes and inlet/outlet streams offer several species of fish for anglers, water surface for boaters, and excellent bird-watching. With targeted forestry and strategic land management expanding -- and former farmland reverting to tree growth -- water quality is improving. As an added result, deer, moose and birds have become more plentiful for people to enjoy.
Protecting the lakes
To ensure the Belgrade Lakes remain the natural treasures they are for locals and visitors alike for generations to come, we offer the following suggestions.
- Bathe in a bathtub rather than a lake. Shampoos, soaps and detergents contain phosphorus that contaminates lakes.
- Carry-in and carry-out rather than using the lakes as a trash can. Any waste dropped into the lakes cause their deterioration.
- Enjoy the public Fourth of July fireworks versus lighting your own. If you do shoot off fireworks, do so away from the lakes; pyrotechnics add to the phosphorous that harms a lake's ecology. Also, in shooting fireworks, please be considerate of neighbors and their pets.
- Inspect watercrafts and fishing tackle for invasive plant fragments before they enter and after they leave the water.
- Avoid fishing tackle with lead, opting for steel shot instead. Lead kills loons, whose populations are sensitive to the environment.
- Contribute to efforts to preserve the lakes. Organizations such as the 7 Lakes Alliance, the Belgrade Lakes Association and the Friends of Messalonskee are actively working to protect and improve the health of our lakes. They and other lake associations would appreciate your financial support.