A Conversation With PRCC Advisor Sue Pate
Calling the Penobscot River the center of her family’s life, PRCC advisor Sue Pate has been an ardent supporter of the revitalization of the river since she and her family moved to Orrington in 1987. For over 30 years, Sue and her family have watched the river restoration efforts and seen the wildlife return to their backyard. We sat down with Sue to chat about the history of the river, the changes she has seen living on its banks, and her role as our of our community advisors.
What is your connection to the Penobscot River?
Our family has lived on the banks of the river in Orrington since 1987. We renovated an old cape that had been used as the office and dormitory for the Union Ice Company, which was founded in 1882. We are nestled among the pines, enjoying the peace and tranquility Maine is known for. We watch the eagles soar year-round, catch stripers off the dock in the summer, and in the winter, we listen to the thunderous cracks of the ice flows in the river. We are so lucky!
The Penobscot River really is the center of our lives. During the summer months we are out in our Boston Whaler nearly every day, using the river as a “highway” to Bangor and Bucksport. We visit area restaurants, take in concerts from the water, cruise the different tides and, of course, go fishing. Our sons’ love fishing and their love of the outdoors was nurtured here. Hunter, our youngest, was a state champion high school bass fisherman for 2 years. Both our boys are now tournament bass fishermen.
How have you seen the river change over the years?
The Penobscot is remarkably clean. Since we first moved here, the wildlife, waterfowl and fish, have returned and are flourishing. We were some of the first people to notify the University of Maine of the abundant sturgeon population in the river. For many years, the University has used our property as a staging area for the tagging and tracking of sturgeon and stripers in the river. We’ve also seen commerce grow. Cianbro uses the river as their water highway, delivering their building modules to destinations around the world.
How did you become involved with the PRCC?
I was introduced to the PRCC a number of years ago and was immediately impressed by the concept of uniting the communities along the Penobscot River. We are bound by a common, rich history and have a mutual interest in promoting our assets and growing the economies of this very special region. The excitement and passion of working with the committees is evident in the progress that has been made. We are all so fortunate to be living, working and playing in this beautiful part of Maine. We might be a little off the beaten path, but we are on the right path!
Lucas Meyer has been extremely helpful with our Orrington Old Home Week (OOHW) celebrations in recent years. For the past three years, he has manned the Orrington Historical Society’s SedgeunkeDUCK Regatta, a rubber duck race that not only raises funds for the Historical Society but educates kids on the water quality of the stream and river.
What do you have planned for projects this summer?
In the fall, a few of us from the OOHW committee met with folks from the Bucksport area and launched the Penobscot Maritime Heritage Association. This coalition of community-minded people has grown enthusiastically, and this summer we are coordinating a spectacular event that will celebrate Maine’s 200th birthday and bring families from all over to the region. Visits by tall ships, schooners, Navy patrol craft, and a number of special maritime events will take place in the four historic ports of Bangor/Brewer, Bucksport, Castine, and Searsport during the week of July 8-14. It will be the first time in 39 years that the white sails of the tall ships have cruised up the Penobscot! We’re excited to be utilizing the collective energy of citizens from the Penobscot River Basin to create educational programs and bring tourists to our beautiful coastal Maine towns!
For more information on the 4-Port Loop, visit their website.