Where I grew up in Mid-Coast Maine, cars would sometimes turn off the road, cross our hay field and drop over the hill toward the cove. Other people parked at the old logging road and vanished into the woods. Clam diggers. Worm diggers. Deer hunters. On paper the land belonged to my parents. By tradition the woods and the ocean were open to whoever needed them.
That changed in the land rush of the 1970s, when outsiders began buying up the coast. As the “No Hunting” signs popped up my parents painted “Yes Hunting” signs and nailed them to the telephone poles. But the “No Trespassing” signs multiplied, the mansions multiplied, the tax bill multiplied. My mother, now single, had to sell the farm and move us inland.
Eight years ago I moved to South Portland and found myself back by the shore. There, among the kayakers, sailors, swimmers, joggers, picnickers, first-daters, sea glass hunters and dog lovers I found something that felt like home.
Now a few people are asking the voters of South Portland to post the equivalent of “No Trespassing” signs on our beach. Our beach. South Portland’s beach. Maine’s beach. Really, the whole world’s beach.
Unlike my mom, I won’t be forced to leave. I’m voting to share. I’m voting against the dog ban.