There has been a good deal of discussion lately on the future of the Montgomery Dam on the Megunticook River at the head of the harbor. The falls over the dam have always been one of the beauty spots in Camden, but the dam has been allowed to deteriorate to the point that the sluice gate is jammed, and the water no longer flows over the dam, but flows to the side of the dam, out of sight of the harbor.

To me the solution is fairly simple: fix the sluice gate and repair the dam to its original structure and appearance.

There is much talk of a fish ladder, but to what purpose? There is no mention in the historical record going back to the founding of Camden in the late 1700s of there being ocean fish (salmon, etc.) migrating up the Megunticook River. The only exception is the elvers (baby eels), which still manage to get up over the dam to reach adulthood in the river. Putting in expensive fish ladders won’t help any migrating species.

There are also warnings about the effects of global warming on the harbor and river. The Montgomery Dam stands at least 20 feet above the high-water mark in the harbor. Other areas downtown (like the Public Landing) might flood as a result of global warming, but the dam will remain high and dry and will not contribute to any additional local flooding.

The Montgomery Dam Falls not only add an element to Camden’s beauty, but to its economic base in tourism. Many visitors are awed by the beauty of the falls and the neighboring Harbor Park. They mark a special memory in visitors’ minds, memories which encourage repeat visits and more dollars spent in local shops and other facilities.

Indeed, put money into repairing the dam, but no purpose would be served by tearing it down.

Jo Ann Simon