One of the state’s longest-running ice fishing events will return for its 59th edition this weekend, as anglers flock to the Milo area for the Schoodic Lake Ice Fishing Derby.

The derby will be staged on Feb. 13 and 14, with proceeds benefiting Milo Fire Department charities and events.

Fish can be caught from Schoodic, Ebeemee, Seboeis and Boyd lakes during the event. A $10 ticket includes entry in the derby and drawing chances for shore prizes. Participation in the derby is not required in order for a person to win the grand prize or any of the shore prizes.

Back in 2014, one of the organizers of the event called it “The Fourth of July of the winter,” and said thousands of anglers regularly show up to compete for top prizes and enjoy the camaraderie at the festive derby. Those anglers also have the chance to catch some hefty fish, with five-pound salmon and 10-pound togue sometimes being weighed in.

A 2020 Polaris Sportsman ATV is this year’s grand prize, while a variety of shore prizes worth more than $5,000 will also be up for grabs.

Fish prizes include $400 to the angler who catches the largest salmon, trout or togue. Second place in those categories is worth $200, while third place pays $100.

In addition, prizes to those who register fish are worth more than $2,000. Among those prizes: An ice auger and a portable ice fishing shelter.


Mike Brissette of Vassalboro shows off a lake trout (left) and a landlocked salmon he registered during the 52nd annual Schoodic Lake Ice Fishing Derby on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. Credit: John Holyoke / BDN

To help sustain a deer herd through winter, Brownville created a deer pantry where hoofed friends can stop by for a snack. With daily feedings at 9 a.m., the webcams show off six views of the pantry from right at the trough to a wide shot where you can see all the deer gather.

This is part of the Three Rivers Community webcam project that has more than 20 webcams providing views of the region, which includes towns such as Milo, Brownville, Sebec and more. The project was started by a high school sophomore nearly 25 years ago to show how rural Mainers are finding new uses for technology to stay connected.

Check out the deer pantry from all the angles.

More than 700 acres of Wabanaki Territory in Piscataquis County have been returned to the Penobscot Nation through a land stewardship agreement, the tribe said in a joint statement with the Elliotsville Foundation Friday afternoon.

The land is located in Williamsburg Township — west of Brownville — and sits between two parcels already in the Penobscot Nation’s stewardship.

The 735-acre parcel comes from the Elliotsville Foundation, which owns 125,000 acres of timberland throughout northern and central Maine.

“The Penobscot Nation is extremely grateful to [the] Elliotsville Foundation for this generous restoration of land stewardship to our Tribe. We take our land stewardship responsibilities very seriously and appreciate the opportunity to once again have this parcel within our present-day landholdings,” Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis said.

“Through this gesture, Elliotsville Foundation has shown its commitment to strengthen and honor their relationship with the Wabanaki Tribes and recognize our long-standing cultural connection with the land and water,” he said.

John Banks, the tribe’s director of natural resources, said the land and neighboring Pleasant River — which is a tributary of the Penobscot — is “sacred ground to many people.”

“For the Penobscot people, this return expands our existing land base and also actually extends between, and connects, two of our existing Penobscot Indian Territory tracts, making both more accessible,” he said.

Lucas St. Clair, representative of the Elliotsville Foundation, said that he was compelled to “use his platform to tell a different narrative,” after learning about Maine’s history of land ownership and its relation to the state’s indigenous people.

“I learned the Wabanaki believe that they belong to the land and the western perspective is that land belongs to individuals and this is at the root of the misunderstanding of the way we treat land in Maine and around the country,” he said.

St. Clair said the foundation hopes to show confidence in Maine’s Native communities and the Penobscot Tribe as sovereign nations that can take on the responsibility to steward the land.

“While this is not the start or the end of a long journey of [reparations], it is what I can do now and what I hope to do more of while encouraging others to join us,” he said.

The Elliotsville Foundation is also part of First Light, a group that aims to “learn the history of Wabanaki land dispossession and to work together to expand Wabanaki presence in and relationship with their ancestral territory.”

“This is just the beginning of long work at making amends in real ways,” First Light Representative Peter Forbes said.

“After 350 years of colonization, the Wabanaki in Maine now have access to less than 1 percent of the land that once supported their place-based cultures. Maine’s rivers and mountains may carry some Wabanaki names, but the people and the stories that those names belong to have been relegated to small reservations out of sight to most Mainers.

“In the last 50 years, land trusts in Maine have come to work on [or] have relationships with almost 23 percent of the land in the state, which includes countless places of great importance to Wabanaki people and once stewarded by them. First Light exists as a bridge between conservationists and Wabanaki people to reconcile this history by expanding Wabanaki presence and relationship with their territory that we now share together.

“This is good for all of Maine,” he said.