Grand Lake Meadows



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American Bittern, courtesy of Brigette Noel
American Bittern, courtesy of Brigitte Noel
Moose, courtesy of Brigette Noel
Moose, courtesy of Brigitte Noel
Bridges at Jemseg River, courtesy of David Hamilton
Bridges at Jemseg River, courtesy of David Hamilton
Motorboat on the Shores of Grand Lake, courtesy of David Hamilton
Motorboat on the Shores of Grand Lake, courtesy of David Hamilton
By the mid-twentieth century, community change was very evident in the Grand Lake Meadows region. One by one the numerous family farms began to disappear as the population migrated to opportunities elsewhere or replaced farming with blue and white collar jobs in urban areas. Family homes became weekend or summer retreats or disappeared altogether and smaller camps and cottages sprang up along the lake shores.
In the last part of the twentieth century there was one beef cattle operation on the Meadows, which required special consideration during spring flooding. Also some market gardeners began to grow crops like cabbage, pumpkins, corn, tomatoes and even potatoes on the interval. The land was rich and these operations appeared to be successful but with the decline in farming this practice has stopped. Current use is seasonal and is to a large extent recreational although some firewood, fiddleheads, and muskrats are harvested there. Duck hunting, bird watching, snowmobiling and some cross country skiing take place within the Meadows, and there are splendid opportunities for boating on the adjoining waterways.
Modern transportation needs have also impacted the uses and historical views of the Grand Lake Meadows. Major construction projects in the 1960s and 1990s forever altered the landscape with substantial bridges crossing the St. John and Jemseg Rivers and a ribbon of four-lane highway along the southern tip of the Meadows.