Wassumkeag, Penobscot word for “shining water,” is painted on the road that welcomes everyone to Sears Island — beachcombers, families, couples young and old, hikers, bird watchers, butterfly fans, students, teachers, hunters, skiers and snowshoers, artists, driftwood collectors, beach architects, archeologists and historians, scientists, writers, singers, meditators and other seekers of peace. (Did I leave anyone out?) No entry fee required, it’s an easy 10-mile drive north from Belfast, and its 941 acres are an unspoiled natural habitat unique to the entire East Coast.

Maine DOT plans to industrialize at least one third of this island, hauling heavy equipment out on the causeway, erecting 800-ft. tall cranes, blasting to level the shoreline in order to construct a hub for building its site to launch floating offshore wind turbines. They plan to “restore” the wetlands they bulldoze and scrape wide swaths of earth, as well as to cut off beach access from places like the Green trail, crossed by a lively little stream used by teachers and students to study animal life. A new road to the site will most likely be built from the causeway, slicing through what is left of that trail, and the road to the jetty will become a highway.

For years I’ve brought friends, family and dogs to Sears Island. It soothed loneliness from pandemic isolation. This past spring my dog Waldo spotted a young adult Harp Seal camouflaged on rocks at the eastern shore. I’ve seen and heard gray fox, deer, coyotes, ravens and owls. I’ve monitored frogs, part of an international effort to assess their numbers. Hunters have told me they’ve spotted moose. Birders have counted up to 200 species of migrating birds each spring. Each fall students tag monarch butterflies to see if they’ll make it to Mexico.

I think off shore wind power needs to be part of our clean energy future. But Mack Point, already heavily industrialized, is a far better option as a siting choice. Eastport needs to be considered as well, but neither of these alternatives has been adequately explored. Janet Mills and the MDOT must explore those options before moving forward on this project.

Please support efforts to save Sears Island by writing to offshorewind@maine.gov and to sign Friends of Sears Island’s online petition, at Change.org/ProtectSearsIsland.

Beverly Roxby