There was an issue validating your request. Please try again later.

Recent storms have affected many of our trails. Please refer to the Trails page for closures and cautions.

The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

The Power of Water

Posted by | January 16, 2024 | Filed under: Observations

Record-setting water levels have done a lot of damage along the southwest coast of Maine. Flooding has hit homes, businesses, roads, and everything else within the Gulf of Maine's growing reach. Ready or not, here it comes.

The Wells Reserve's critical infrastructure stands well above its sea-level low points, but some of its most popular spots were within grasp of the ocean's churn last Saturday. Some boardwalks and overlooks are closed. Some accessways are risky to maneuver.

As we assess, recover, and repair, we beg patience and common sense. For an idea of what's ahead, both in the coming weeks, and perhaps the coming decades, here are some views from a day afield.

The Laird Norton Overlook around the time of high tide. Photo: Paul Dest.
Damage to the Laird Norton Overlook has forced its temporary closure. Photo: Paul Dest.
The Laird Norton boardwalk is scheduled for significant work in the next year-plus. Repeated exposure to ultrahigh water has taken its toll. Photo: Paul Dest.
The Little River (left) and Webhannet River (right) estuaries mix over the Barrier Beach Trail at high tide. Photo: Paul Dest.
The aftermath of estuarine exchange is clearly apparent on the earthen dike that cuts through the salt marsh on the Drakes Island end of the Barrier Beach Trail. Photo: Paul Dest.
Cobbles from Laudholm Beach are strewn over Old Farm Lane, complicating access to the beach. Photo: Paul Dest.
The facilities staff and volunteers have learned a lot about strengthening stairs to the beach over the years. This short boardwalk is closed for repair, but its a starting point at least. Photo: Paul Dest.

More Information

We will update the Helpful Info and Trails pages with current conditions and cautions.

Our science team is looking into its environmental monitoring data for historical context and assessing effects on marsh-deployed equipment.

Our coastal training team continues to collaborate with coastal communities to encourage resilience planning.

Our stewardship team is actively involved with its partners on CoastWise Approach recommendations for coastal planners.

← View all Blog Posts