The Expedition

We have been asked what it is about our venture that distinguishes it from any other group of paddlers that decide they want to paddle together on a long trip. Considering that we are asking for financial support and volunteer assistance along the way this is a reasonable question.

In short, our vision is that this is a trip with the serious intent of providing a permanent record of the ecologic and cultural condition of very edge of the Gulf of Maine in a ÒsnapshotÓ sample during a short time period of 2002. We view this in kind with the ventures of the naturalists William Bartram in his travels through the South , John Muir in his observations of the mountains in California, and Henry David Thoreau in his Appalachian adventures. Like them, we plan to travel at a slow pace, taking the time to observe and record the way of nature and men at this place in our times. Unlike them, our subject is the interaction of seascape and landscape. May our record become as valuable and lasting as those of our models.

On the Water
While on the water we will be making observations as we travel along the coast in units of 10-20 miles a day when paddling with days of rest, reflection and journal writing in between. We will keep records of such things as weather patterns, salinity, phytoplankton, water clarity, birds, plants, marine mammals, shoreline type and condition, and human activity. We will stop and talk with people using the water and shores for commerce and recreation to see what they think about the present state of their home areas. We will collect stories and songs and other cultural information.
Our records will include photographs, digital still and video images, drawings and watercolors, systematic records and journal reflections. Much of this information will be transmitted to our web site for the information and use of others keeping track of our progress. We will practice low impact and sustainable recreation techniques in camping. The core group will be joined by other paddlers for ten days to two weeks. These paddlers will share in the above activities.

On the Land
We plan to have at least 10 major stops at cities and towns along the coast where we will provide presentations, workshops and seminars to local students, community groups and the public. A volunteer ground support team will be assisting us in setting up the presentations and providing logistical support. Our coastal stops will be tailored to the local situation and the groups we are visiting. We will be talking about the trip and our observations and experiences to date; showing slides; discussing low impact recreation and eco-tourism; providing information on safety and navigation; and encouraging discussion of local coastal conditions and issues. We envision these stops as periods of concentrated exchange of information. As much a providing feedback to the public we will gain new insight to things we should be pursuing on future legs of the journey.

Beyond the ten major stops we will be stopping each night and sometimes will be held on land by water of weather conditions. These will times when we can interact with people on a more informal basis conveying to smaller groups the extent and importance of the Gulf of Maine and its vast watershed. We see this day to day contact as a way of making more people feel a part of our expedition. While they may not be on the water with us in boats they can be with us in spirit.

We understand that having contact with media and making it aware of our mission is extremely important to our goal of providing greater awareness of the natural and cultural legacy of the Gulf of Maine. The media is our lifeline to the public and its coverage will expand and extend our message to thousands of people beyond those we can personally touch. To that end we will have a full contingent of contacts along the coast and keep them informed of our presence and activities. We think our venture has the unique qualities and human interest that will make this a worthwhile story for radio, newspaper and television.

Permanent Record
Upon completion of the trip we plan to continue to give presentations to naturalist, historical, recreational and other groups. However, in the tradition of the great naturalists, we plan to publish a book of our travels to establish the image of the Gulf of Maine coast at this historic moment. We want our venture to provide written and visual data that will be of significant value to the researcher of 3002. We intend to leave a legacy for the future.

Future Action Plan
The long-term plan is to use the expedition as a launching pad for a Gulf of Maine Expedition Institute. This institute will provide expedition-based environmental learning to provide a forum for students, educators, the public and the expedition team to collaboratively learn about an ecosystem and share that learning using modern technological tools in combination with traditional outdoor adventure. Equipment and resources gained by the 2002 expedition will be used in the programs of the institute. The institute will work closely with other groups and organizations around the Gulf of Maine to fulfill a niche that can make a unique contribution to the environmental, economic, educational, and recreational goals we share in common.