2018 Official Maine Camping Guide - 73

DOWNEAST & ACADIA

Digging Clams in Downeast
Maine - By Crystal Hitchings
I love mud between my toes on a
summer day, at the edge of the sea,
pants rolled above the knees, up to
the elbows and ankles in mud. Clams
for supper! Imagine stoking coals at
a beachside fire, seaweed wrapped
around fresh-dug clams, steaming up
a scent of toasted ocean as a rising
tide slowly swallows your footprints
in the mud flats.
Most people wear rubber gloves and
boots and dig clams with a 4-tined
rake called a hoe. My father used
one of these, and a wooden slatted
basket called a roller. Digging clams
was his main income during good
weather, along with raking blueberries.
We ate a lot of clams in the 1970's,
when they were a lot more plentiful.
Clam landings drastically declined
across Maine in the 1980's, especially along the Bold Coast. Today, the
clamming industry is kept alive by
the careful management of coastal
Maine communities, including the
seeding of clams to enhance wild
stocks.
The Downeast Institute for Applied
Marine Research & Education, located on Beal's Island, raises between
three and five million seed clams
annually for 60 Maine communities.
The Downeast Institute offers guided
tours of their shellfish nursery. More
information is available at www.
downeastinstitute.org.
Clams are a longtime staple to the
Downeast region's peoples. Shell
heaps from native settlements are
scattered along the coast, including
at Machias, Passamaquoddy, Cobscook, and Frenchman Bays, and at
Bar Harbor (in Wabanaki, the "clamgathering place.")The Massachusetts
Colonial Ordinance of 1641-1647

granted every household"free fishing and fowling as far as the tide
doth ebb and flow." Maine retained
this law when it became a state in
1820. To learn more about clam digging past and present, check out the
Downeast Fisheries Trail at
www.downeastfisheriestrail.org.
Contact Tours of Lubec and Cobscook, for a family-friendly, touchable-tour, try digging at Cobscook
Bay State Park, where campers may
dig up to a peck of clams per person.
Check with park staff for details, or
ask a local if they will take you! To
experience eating clams while on
your visit to Downeast Maine (even
if you want to skip the mud and just
eat them at a restaurant!) contact an
area Chamber of Commerce. Knowledgeable chamber staff will help you
discover your fresh-harvested seafood supper experience of a lifetime.
COPYRIGHT T.J. DIBIASE

MAINE CAMPING GUIDE * 2018

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http://hadleyspoint.com/ http://www.downeastfisheriestrail.org http://www.downeastinstitute.org http://www.downeastinstitute.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of 2018 Official Maine Camping Guide

Contents
2018 Official Maine Camping Guide - Cover1
2018 Official Maine Camping Guide - Cover2
2018 Official Maine Camping Guide - 1
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2018 Official Maine Camping Guide - 3
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