Association hopes to raise Thompson Lake awareness

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OXFORD – Anyone up for a self-propelled boating expedition?

The Thompson Lake Environmental Association will hold its fourth annual I Did a Paddle on Saturday. The event, which kicks off at 9:30 a.m., will send a flotilla from the Thompson Lake marina in Casco to Pismo Beach in Oxford.

Joe Kiley, a board member with the association, said none of the boats participating in the event may be motorized.

Sharon Rice, the organization’s chairperson, said the boaters will travel approximately 11 miles, but may shorten the distance if they like.

“People can put in anywhere along the lake,” she said. “A lot of people put in from their own docks.”

Registration for the event, which is free, will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the marina. The paddle is not a fundraiser, nor is it a competition.

“The whole purpose of it is really awareness of Thompson Lake,” Rice said.

A barbecue featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, soda, watermelon and cookies will be held at Pismo Beach after the trip. The cost of the barbecue is $5 per person.

The event was postponed from last Saturday due to high winds in the morning. In the event of inclement weather such as high winds, the barbecue still take place at noon. Rice said severe weather will cancel both events, and neither would be rescheduled.

“God willing, we’ll have both,” she said.

Rice said the association is asking all participants to register so they know who the participants are. Four motorized committee boats, identified by large orange flags, will accompany the flotilla for safety purposes.

Each registrant will receive a whistle as well as a white flag to alert the committee to an emergency or in case a boater does not wish to complete the route. Boats will also be identified by numbers on the paddlers’ life vests.

“Everyone, of course, must wear a life vest,” Kiley said.

The Thompson Lake Environmental Association is a nonprofit organization with a goal of protecting the lake – parts of it are in Casco, Poland, Otisfield and Oxford – and its watershed, which includes Norway and Raymond.

I Did a Paddle is the first of three summer events the association holds. The annual meeting will take place at 9 a.m. Aug. 4 at Camp Kohut, which is on Kohut Road off King Street, and a pig roast and barbecue will be held at Agassiz Village Camp in Poland on Aug. 18.

For more information, phone the association’s main office at 539-4535 or Sharon Rice at 998-2088.

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