Ideas abound for Snow Marine Park

By Larry Di Giovanni | Jun 20, 2014
Photo by: Larry Di Giovanni Pictured behind the Snow Marine Park community input group June 17 is a hill popular with children for winter sledding. It can be enhanced with natural stairs, group members said.

Rockland — Snow Marine Park is a local treasure for boat, harbor trail, sports recreation, and dog-walking enthusiasts that can become even more user-friendly with some simple additions, community representatives said June 17.

About 15 community members attended the park community input meeting. They represented the Harbor Trail Committee, Parks Commission, Harbor Management Commission, Rockland Main Street, Inc., and Sail, Power & Steam Museum.

Some suggestions made during a park tour involved an enclosed dog park: natural steps added to a popular hill used for winter sledding, gravel walking trails that would become part of the Harbor Trail, covered picnic areas and grills, more trees, drainage improvements, restrooms, concession stands, and a building that would house sports equipment. Snow Marine Park currently has two soccer fields.

"The children of Rockland descend on that slope when it snows," said Harbor Trail Commission member Peter Richardson. "So it's very important that it be safe."

Meeting facilitator John Holden, the city of Rockland's community development director, emphasized that ideas for park improvement are in an early planning stage and have not been funded. The exception is a $6,000 state Shore and Harbor Planning grant from which Baker Design Consultants of Freeport has designed a new boat ramp.

Dan Bannon, a Baker Design Consultants engineer, said it will cost about $200,000 to build a new boat ramp and launch. For such projects, Maine cities typically seek matching funds from the state Department of Transportation's Small Harbor Improvement Program or SHIP.

"How can we maximize the park's uses while preserving its inherent good qualities?" asked Mitchell Rasor of MRLD Landscape Architecture. That is the main reason for gathering community input, he said.

Joe Auciello, a member of the Harbor Management Commission, said defined spaces for dog walking are needed that would keep dog owners separated from the harbor area including the boat ramp.

"A lot of times, you're backing your trailer down (the boat ramp) and a dog walks up right behind you," Auciello said.

Fellow Harbor Management Commission member Samuel Ladley said drainage issues that inundate portions of the park should be addressed before new additions are approved.

Courier Publications reporter Larry Di Giovanni can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 117, or by email at:

John Holden, left, Rockland community development director, discusses a completed Snow Marine Park boat ramp redesign with engineer Dan Bannon of Baker Design Consultants. (Photo by: Larry Di Giovanni)
Following their park tour, the Snow Marine Park community input group gathered June 17 at the neighboring Sail Power & Steam Museum to place park recommendations on a map. (Photo by: Larry Di Giovanni)
Comments (8)
Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Jun 21, 2014 10:08

Unless dog owners from other neighborhoods and towns are willing to clean up after their dogs, the recreational possibilities for any bipeds are quite limited. As it is, most Mechanic Street residents either avoid walking in the park, or have to approach the grassy areas as one might a mine field.

Kendall & Phyllis Merriam

Posted by: Maggie Trout | Jun 20, 2014 18:34

Dogs already run freely in one section of Snow park -  one of those home-grown things. 

Posted by: Richard Randall | Jun 20, 2014 16:29

An enclosed dog park would be an excellent idea. I take my dog to the one in Rockport and both she and I enjoy it. It would be used by many "doggie parents!"

Posted by: Priscilla Ann Shepherd | Jun 20, 2014 12:24

I would really to like to see an enclosed dog park in Rockland.  It would be great to have a place to our dogs run freely without having to travel to Camden or Belfast.  For the size of this "city" not having one is a shame.


Posted by: Maggie Trout | Jun 20, 2014 11:32

Relentless.   The slope is safe for sledding.  Gravel hurts when you fall on it.  But never mind that - this leave no blade of grass untouched business is like a disease.  Maybe it needs 3 or 4 granite sculptures to make it "right."


The first thing I was told about Snow Marine Park, by Ed Glaser, was that it was Rockland's secret gem, or words to that effect.  And, I was told this because I must have said something like, "Wouldn't it be nice IF..."  (and I know better - sunstroke?).  Good, cold water in the face quickly remedied.  I know what happens.  I've seen it happen all over the country.  McKeever's statement is no exaggeration, and at that, it's a minor example of the kind of uprooting that occurs in the name of -- I don't even know what to call it.

In 2008, MacLellan-Ruf organized an neighborhood pot luck to garner support to keep planned parking/walking development - from encroaching on the lovely property owned by a woman in the South End.  The protest signs read, "No Parking on Grass.  This was a good thing.  Later appointment to the Harbor Commission would have MacLellan-Ruf running the Harbor Trail to Nova Scotia.

When  the Sharps first had the idea to start a museum, they were encouraged to just move ahead, with no special plan, nor funding, utilizing the vast resources they held within them.  Hence, the Sail Steam and Power Museum grew organically.  Turning Snow Park into a rigidly-defined, planned area, cannot take the place of better promotion of the Sail Steam and Power Museum if wants wanted is a bigger draw.


Back to the sledding safety - there are no trees near the slopes that a kid, or adult, will crash into.  Adults can park nicely along the street and watch the children, without freezing their feet off.  Safer and more comfortable than that I don't know.  And, as to winter fun, the Rotary's winter carnival, held in Snow Park, within neighborhoods, was a deciding factor in making the move to Rockland.  And then it was moved.


It's okay to just let people muck about and make fun.  To have the opportunity to explore, invent, adjust, and create.  Where every movement isn't dictated.  And, aren't there enough projects in the works -- that need time to do well, rather than just do - to keep everybody sufficiently busy?


Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jun 20, 2014 08:47

This is how the Snow Bowl in Camden started. Small and Families and free with rope tow skiing. Then it mushroomed to affordable and then out-priced moms and pops with mortgages, etc.. Good luck with the influx of neighboring towns and winter tourists. But hopefully, they can afford to pay, methinks.

Mickey Mckeever

Posted by: Peter Rollins | Jun 20, 2014 07:48

If it's such a treasure why change it? Whatever you do tactical urbanism is not the answer.


Posted by: Cathy Baker | Jun 20, 2014 07:35

It's not just Rockland's children who swarm the sledding slopes in winter.  Families come from all over.  It's safely away from the street, but accessible, with good parking -- and the Children's Museum is nearby.  The word is out:  Go to Snow!    Cathy Baker

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Larry Di Giovanni
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Larry Di Giovanni, a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, is returning to his daily reporting roots in order to cover the city of Rockland for The Courier-Gazette. Originally from Athens, Ohio, his family includes one son, Tony.

Di Giovanni has covered news beats ranging from the city of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., to the largest tribal government in the United States — the Navajo Nation. He has also worked as a writer in the public education and higher education fields. He's an animal enthusiast and loves dogs.

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