Great Maine Outdoor Weekend

February 13, 2016

About 125 hearty souls braved the freezing cold temperatures for some fun outdoor adventures at this year’s Great Maine Outdoor Weekend event at the TREE Center in Sanford. Located on Bauneg Beg Lake, the TREE Center offered a day of winter activities to get people outside and active.

Free fishing day for the state of Maine meant no licenses were needed and over 80 people took to the ice and tried their luck at ice-fishing. Quite a few fish were caught – including one that was promptly cooked over the Center’s lakeside campfire by the adept fisherman who caught it!

Many of the visitors tried out the new ice-skating rink adjacent to the Welcome Center or put on snowshoes to walk the trails. New this year, letterboxing added a treasure hunt component to a hike in the woods.

Members of the Sanford Fire Department performed a cold water rescue with firefighter and paramedic Kevin Lambert as a mock victim of an ice-fishing accident that submerged him in the cold water through a hole in the ice. Lambert first demonstrated a technique to climb out onto the ice without help and then got back into the water to allow the emergency team to extricate him. Many thanks to firefighters Steve Langelier, Richard Earle, Steve Vincent, Jack Bogard and Ryan Goodreau for this impactful demonstration.

SFD Captain Dubois said, “We’re always interested in supporting this type of event and helping to educate the public.”

Cold Water Rescue Demo

Onlookers bundled in warm winter attire watch as firefighter/paramedic Kevin Lambert demonstrates how to climb out of a hole in the ice and roll away during a mock rescue by the Sanford Fire Department at the TREE Center’s Great Maine Outdoor Weekend event.

Maine Game Warden Carlton Richardson, who you may have seen on North Woods Law, a television series on Animal Planet, came by to meet GMOW participants, observe the cold water rescue demonstration and sign autographs. TREE Center Director, Mark Diedering said, “We were very happy to have Warden Richardson take the time to attend the event. For some local fans the highlight of the day was having the chance to meet him in person and have their picture taken with him.”

The TREE Center offered refreshments in the Commons Café, inside the cozy Visitor Center and free hot chocolate to warm up during the day’s activities. Play It Again Sports from Biddeford provided gift certificates for two raffle winners.

Diedering said, “One of the most enjoyable parts of the day was seeing so many participants try these winter activities for the first time.  This event really provided an opportunity for visitors to try something new, and it was great to see so many people take advantage of that opportunity here at the TREE Center.”