CAMDEN — In the early hours just after dawn, a man in his 70s parks by Megunticook Lake off of Route 105 and takes a look at the still water as the sun creeps up past the trees. It’s the perfect time to go kayaking before he heads to his weekly Rotary meeting. To the left of the launch is a tier of cedar-constructed racks filled with kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. He unlocks the combination to his orange and yellow kayak and drags it only several feet, placing the bow in the water. Ten minutes and he’s off, enjoying the solitude.
Megunticook Lake is cherished by many who love outdoor sports on the water. But not everybody has the strength, the time or even the car racks to lug a kayak or paddleboard up onto the roof of the car to be able to physically transport it to the lake.
Two local entrepreuners Paddle Sport Rack Co. saw the need to solve this issue and created Paddle Sport Rack Co.
“For about 10 years, the Parks and Rec department has been trying to find a way to provide more people with lakeside storage and access,” said Brian Robinson, one of the local entrepreneurs who serves as a volunteer on Camden’s Parks and Recreation Committee. “We would talk to people and ask them what is preventing them from using the lake. And many told us it was a pain in the neck to unload and load their boat four times just to go paddling. Others mentioned that it limited them to only using the lake on the weekends because they didn’t want to drive to work with the boat on the roof of the car. There is also an aging population in this area and though they love the quality of life in being able to canoe, kayak or paddleboard across the lake, they have a harder time loading and unloading a boat from the vehicle by themselves. We wanted to provide a welcoming solution to give them an easier way to use their paddlecraft.”
Tucked into Barrett’s Cove beach and beside the boat launch over at Bog Bridge on both access points of Megunticook Lake are six well-built three-tier cedar racks holding nine various kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. There’s no sign; may assume they belong to the local outdoor outfitters around here, but they are actually the rentable racks that Robinson and his business partner, Glenn Ruesswick, designed and built for public use.
After building the racks, the town of Camden granted them access to those two spots for a private business as it benefited the community.
Dave Johnson and his family, who have been Camden residents for the past 11 years, live about four miles from Megunticook Lake and rent three stations for their two-person skiff, and two kayaks.
“It’s wonderful because it saves so much time,” he said. “We can’t fit three boats on our car. And it just allows my wife and our two kids to spend more time on the water, rather than taking 20 minutes loading and unloading the boats. The investment of time just means we’ll be able to go paddling more often.”
Almost all of the stations on the racks have been fully rented year-round, although two to three spots are still available.
To keep the boats from being removed, they also secure, easy-to-use locking systems with a combination lock programmed by Paddle Sport Rack Co. A season’s rental costs a Maine resident $125 and a non-resident $150.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org