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What centuries of ice-out records can tell us about climate change on Maine’s lakes


Along the shores of Moosehead Lake, Roger Paradise revs the engine of a small 1964 Cessna 180 seaplane.

Paradise is the chief pilot for Currier’s Flying Service , which has been calling the ice-out on the 40-mile-long lake since at least the 1990s.

This story is part of Maine Public’s “ Climate Driven: A deep dive into Maine’s response, one county at a time ” series.

“I doubt there’s any ice left,” Paradise said from beside the plane. “Anything that has been broken up, we’ve had some pretty big wind and rain.”

It’s early May, and Paradise said the ice was officially declared out about a week ago — on April 28th, a bit earlier than usual. To make the declaration, Paradise flies over Moosehead to see if there’s enough open water for the steamship Katahdin to cross the lake, from Greenville to Northeast Carry.

“If the boat had to maneuver a lot, it’s not out,” he explained. “There’s still too much ice out there. It has to be able to go up there, smooth sailing, the entire way up.”When Currier’s took over the job, it was continuing a nearly 200-year tradition, one that began in 1848. According to Sue Currier, anticipation […]

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