Maine water access to lakes and ponds

HA! Good one!
The above-referenced article points out that access is a matter of both custom and law. It appears that traditionally the custom in Maine has been to allow access across private land in some areas of the state, but that this custom has been dying out as lakes become more built up in some areas and as tourism has increased. In other words, in the past the custom has at times been more liberal than the law.

While spending time in Oregon it was a blessing to have full access to the publically owned coast.

I’m not being clear -
Personally I totally understand your point of view - I’m really just wondering about the legal issue - not the right or wrong of it. I would never go on water without asking and don’t advocate anyone else do so. Sorry for my lack of clarity.

no courts in any of those towns
they are all in Oxford county. The courts are in Paris.

It’s not just the tourists
The taxes on waterfront property have been a huge problem in Maine, driving out long term families and allowing a window for new owners, mostly seasonal and wealthy, to come in. It is why anyone visiting should buy seafood from the nearest cooperative, because those are the last bastion of an organized bunch that is holding onto shore access for working fishermen in many areas.

Unfortunately, the new owners often have a very different attitude about allowing access than the original families. The problem is worse as you go further south - thank heavens for awkwardly long drive times - but it is creeping north.

We rented a cabin on Rangeley Lake 2 summers ago. It was awesome up there! We were in Moose country and saw 15 throughout the week, most less than afew miles out of town. Every hike we did we found excrement and tracks in the mud. It was wonderful! We had our kayaks and used them in Rangeley Lake. Our cabin colony had a boat launch. We did a bunch of hiking and geocaching in the area and found lots of little lakes and most seemed to have boat access and many had fishermen on them and access roads. One little lake actually had a public campsite or 2 back there. There was a sign saying permit required to camp and there was even a pit toilet. I was concerned about stickers on our boats (we have PA boat launch permits, but didn’t know their requirements) Turns out you don’t need any permits. They are concerned about invasive plants, however, so boat washing is a must if you are coming from out of the area. We had a blast in Maine and would love to get back again! We were only an hour drive from the Canadian border and spent a day exploring Lac Magentic…a quaint little Quebec lake town.

I live and kayak in Northern Maine. My best advise would be to use only public boat launch locations to avoid any possible conflicts with land owners. The Delorme Gazetteer is a good source, and the State of Maine also has map based resources as well.