A few weeks ago George Smith, executive director of the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine and a columnist for the daily Kennebec Journal
in Augusta, wrote a column
bemoaning an article in Down East
that focused on his hometown of Mount Vernon. "Down East
magazine has ruined my summer," he declared. We had not only discovered his quiet, uncrowded, quaint village, but we had also told our readership about it. The secret was out.
Just which secrets we should reveal is a problem we wrestle with on an almost daily basis at Down East
. We know Maine better than anyone else, and with that knowledge comes a certain responsibility. Sometimes we find places that just shouldn't be mentioned in our pages or on the website - not because they're bad but because they're so good, so perfect, that we know writing about them will ruin them. Bessie Phillips, who helped protect tens of thousands of acres of Rangeley Lakes wilderness, once told me: "We tend to love places to death, you know."
Yes, the current (June) issue of the magazine reveals nine secret swimming holes - including Donnell Pond, darn it! - and profiles the forgotten lakes of Acadia. And July's magazine will feature a dozen secret saltwater beaches that we guarantee include some unsuspected gems. But those are places that can't be hurt if a few hundred or even a few thousand readers decide to visit.
We don't tell all we know. Editor-in-chief Paul Doiron exercises veto power over a short list of favorite fishing spots. I'll take the secret of the best campsite on West Grand Lake with me to my grave. And to honor George Smith's request, I will never identify the North Woods lake where he has his summer camp.
Some secret places should remain secret. But feel free to mention some of your own favorites. We can always use a good tip.