Thursday, August 11, 2011
Owls Head Transportation Museum, with Moose
A banner week: for the first time ever (that's 16 years' worth of ever, and counting because I don't ever expect to again) I set foot inside the OHTM. Mind you, I don't tour it, just look in on the lobby, and walk around outside a bit where the antique-car-auction action is starting to build for next weekend. Motors aren't quite my thing, a necessary evil at best and often a curse. I'm not surprised to glimpse Model Ts and biplanes and muscle trucks. I am surprised to see a stuffed moose standing by the door just inside the lobby. One wonders who rode him around town, besides deer flies.
Walking back on Museum Road to my car, I'm equally surprised to see a path leading into the woods. It's an Owls Head exploration day so I take it, walking at least a couple of miles in those woods before finding the road again, where a sign enlightens me as to where I've been. It is the Paul Merriam Nature Park, adjunct to the OHTM. Ah, I say to myself, somewhat ashamed at having laughed at a similar sign next to the museum. There's more to this park than just a picnic table, a climbing structure and a quarter acre of trees. There's a couple hundred acres of very nice, quiet, undeveloped woods (and the trails total four miles, as I discover later).
Helluva world we live in. This largish block of preserved woods sits right next to two shrines of development, the OHTM and the airport. A museum dedicated to man's motors contains a moose, no better symbol of wilderness. (I guess there's some law mandating a moose in every Maine museum.) The walking trails, ironically, ban ATVs and snowmobiles. If I had been driving down Museum Road, I would have missed the trails. One doesn't know what exists in one's own backyard.
I applaud the conservation of this land, but is this the future of the environment, development "mitigated" by the setting aside of a few acres here and there, resulting in sterile ecological islands bounded by asphalt? Get out and walk, my friends, while you can.