Triggs Island History Paddle and Loons

On July 23rd, people on Triggs Island welcomed a group of paddlers (and one motor boat) for a talk about the history of the island. The island has a history dating from the around 1900 and in 1905 an association was formed. Ministers from Rhode Island started the association and for a time, the island was called Minister’s Island. Celia Garland spoke about the history at length with other wonderful stories added by Steve Snow and others. Information on loons at the end.

Celia Garland on the left and Steve Snow on the right.

The podium for the talk was on a dock with a “garden” with pots of basil and tomatoes.

About 15 boats were present and it was wonderful that the lake was calm so it was easy to stay close enough to the dock to hear about the island. Early in the history, there was no electricity or phone. At that time, ice boxes used blocks of ice delivered that had been cut on the lake the previous winter. These ice boxes are still in evidence in the houses on the island as well as houses on other parts of the lake although now they aren’t used. We were told about how when people wanted to come across from the mainland, they would honk their horns with each family having a separate code such as two shorts and one long. Eventually, they got electricity on the island and later phone lines. Each of these “innovations” were debated by the association membership and were not always approved of by everyone at first.

The ministers had some rules including no alcohol on the island and also things were written into the deeds that if a house sold, other association members could have first refusal on the sale so that properties would stay in the families. The island has house sites around the perimeter and common land in the middle for cutting firewood etc. but it was noted that it also produces a good crop of mosquitoes so people don’t spend much time there in the summer. Some people are now spending a good part of the year on the island with the exception of when the ice is forming and not thick enough for travel and when it is going out and unsafe for travel. None of the houses are winterized so it is sometimes a chilly time on the island.

Steve Snow

Steve Snow added quite a bit of color to the history. He talked of how the island people would use the Wentworth State Park beach for swimming and activities. He talked of how, back in the 60’s, large groups of people would gather to water ski and in a weekend might go through 50 gallons of gas in the process. The wildlife seen around the island was also discussed including when a deer, swimming in the water, was confronted by a loon protecting their chick. The loon flapped its wings in the face of the deer which then decided to depart the area quickly.

People learned a lot about the island’s history and then paddled off from whence they came. A wonderful day on the lake……..

With regard to loons, the loon census was done between 8 and 9 AM on July 23rd. 24 adult loons were spotted and two chicks. There have been groups of adult loons, 4 to 6 in a group, around the lake but only two breeding pairs that produced on chick each. Hugh Crawford and Peter Kent are the loon gurus and analyzed the data from many “watchers”. Some of the problems that they deal with are loons moving from one area to another so they get counted twice. Thanks go out to all the people who participated in the count and the Hugh and Peter.

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