Despite the hot August sun, Pam Brackett walked down a dirt lane at Chewonki Campground on a recent afternoon, shaded by about 20 tall white pines hand-planted by her father 53 years ago at the Wiscasset, Maine, campground, the Bangor Daily News reported.
“This is our gateway,” she said of the tree-lined driveway that connects her home to the rest of the 50-acre campground. “When people go through, their shoulders go down.”
In 1961, Brackett’s father, area attorney and judge Donald Brackett, opened the campground off Chewonki Neck Road. Today, Brackett and her sister, Ann Beck, operate the 47-site seasonal business with their two daughters.
Also in 1961, just across Chewonki Neck Road, planes began taking off and landing on the 3,397-foot-runway at Wiscasset Municipal Airport.
Whether the two businesses can continue to co-exist — or, in the case of the airport, expand — appears cloudy, as the town of Wiscasset prepares to negotiate with Beck and Brackett for an easement that would allow the cutting or pruning of several acres of trees at the campground to keep the airport’s airspace clear of obstructions.
In July, the Board of Selectmen approved an updated airport master plan, also prepared by Stantec, that identifies for removal “numerous” 25- to 70-foot conifers and deciduous trees, as well as the towering white pines lining the main lane through the campground. It also calls for navigation lights to be installed on the campground.
The master plan calls for Wiscasset officials, working with the Federal Aviation Administration, to negotiate with the campground owners for an easement that would allow them to clear the trees and install the lights.
Without the easement and the tree work, the airport will not qualify for federal funding to address safety concerns at the airport and, eventually, to expand the runway and build new hangars, as called for in the master plan.
Brackett said the master plan appears to target trees that shade some of her campground’s most precious waterfront campsites, as well as the prominent white pines at the entrance.
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