Thank you for your continued support! There isn't a Soup Chowder Festival this weekend.
We have made tremendous progress since we started the restoration in 2007. We still have work to do on the ladder and to rebuild the walkway from the fish house to the base of the ladder. Our wonderful volunteers are taking a well deserved break this fall - we'll be back next Memorial Day weekend.
(Scroll down for directions to the fish ladder.)
We (and the fish!) are grateful for all the help we've had for the restoration. We couldn't be doing it without the commitment and perseverance of our wonderful fish ladder community! And, we are grateful for grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Elmina Sewell Foundation, the Horizon Foundation, the Davis Conservation Foundation, the Edward Myers Conservation Trust and from support from many individuals and businesses!!
Take the Damariscotta exit to business Route 1. Go straight at the stop sign just past the Congregational Church. Take Route 215 north for approximately 1.6 miles. Look for a parking area just past the Austin Road on the left. Or, take the next left into the Fish House parking lot. Follow the path behind the fish house and you are there. Coming south on Route 1, take the Damariscotta exit and take a right on Rt 215 across from the Louis Doe Home Center. The parking lots decribed above are about 1.3 miles on left.
Welcome to historic Damariscotta Mills, Maine – home of Maine’s oldest fish ladder and most productive alewife fishery. The fish ladder was constructed by the Towns of Nobleboro and Newcastle in 1807 at the state’s request after mills had blocked access to the fresh water falls for nearly a century. In 2007, after two centuries of use, the fish ladder needed a major restoration and the project was initiated by the Towns in collaboration with the Nobleboro Historical Society. Restoration of the fish ladder is critical to the health of the Damariscotta River alewife stocks. Alewives are an important part of the food chain and they contribute to the health of the marine environment and to the lakes and streams where the fish spawn. In the spring, alewives serve as a source of fresh bait for local lobstermen who are setting out gear after a winter ashore. The Towns of Newcastle and Nobleboro have harvested alewives since the 1700s and, by balancing conservation and economic goals, they have carefully tended the Damariscotta River alewife stocks. Today, all funds received for harvested alewives are spent to maintain and restore the fish ladder and harvesting area.