History of the Hathaway Island Acquisition
For fishermen launching at the Lower Landing, most only notice the north end of the island on the right when motoring out of the basin, and few will remember the private camps on the south end.
The deed to Hathaway Island dated 1931 notes sporting camps belonging to Harry Brooks operating in the 1920’s, supposedly for 14 years. The Packerts found remnants of those rustic old buildings and for the last 82 years they have owned Hathaway Island.
The Wheaton boys began guiding alongside their Dad, Woodie, in the 1950’s and were known as the Green Grand Lakers often came in contact with the Packerts. Dale developed a mutual friendship with Dick Packert that manifested in a personal dialog with Dick beginning in March of 2013 concerning the future of the island. By August, Dale and Elbridge were discussing an outline of a conservation plan that would extinguish development on the north end while maintaining unencumbered fee interest in the building site on the south end. In October David Cook, an Enfield based surveyor, utilizing updated GPS readings estimated the Island at 13.5 acres, plus or minus, gave estimated fees for a survey and more redrafting ensued a Conservation Plan to incorporate new information, landowner input and deed info.
Estimates for appraisal, strict adherence to IRS standards and expectations, donation rules as well as conformation to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice were core issues. By November an inspection of Hathaway occurred by Elbridge and Dan McConville, for appraisal purposes, and suggested land division had been completed striving to meet the needs of the owners and their Federal charitable deduction.
On the 10th Dale contacted Cook, noting that “Dick Packert had officially decided to convey the easement to the northerly 12 acres, keeping 1.5 acres on the south end unencumbered, retaining ownership in fee to the entire island and that all parties would like to execute the instrument before year end due to some expected changes to IRS rules in 2014.” At this juncture a sense of urgency existed to meet the year-end deadline that necessitated Cook to physically travel to the island to set pins, complete a legal description and delineate on the sketch plan the homestead reserves of 1.5 acres. It is now November 22, a title opinion, a Letter of Intent from Richard and Lucy Packert conveying Draft 111 of the Conservation Plan to WWLT and a special WWLT board meeting must be held to approve a budget to close before December 31, 2013.
On Dec 9th Dale writes to Dave Cook,”Word from Forest City is that Spednic has frozen over near the landing/ boat access to Hathaway is pretty much out of the question unless we have a thaw. It is still possible to get down Castle Road and if we get a few real cold night we might be able to walk over to set the pins.”
The drafted Conservation Easement requires more work to align it more correctly as to what had been ironed out. This takes many hours of edit work between Dale and Dave Fletcher, Atty. It is now December 16, after more back and forth with Cook on details of our expectations, Board member Steve Mine will meet Dale and Cook, Friday the 20th, at the Lower Landing with snow sled to chauffeur them to Hathaway.
Steve Mine gave an account (paraphrased) of that day, “It was dark, dreary and cold, when I arrived at the Castle Road landing with snow sled jammed on a small trailer. The snowmobile quickly bogged down in the slush that covered the ice, so it took about a half an hour to wrestle it out. We decided that Dale and I would drag the jet sled loaded with the surveyor’s equipment the half mile down the semi frozen lake, Dave Cook would use my snowshoes. Finally after slogging through a wind driven foot of deep snow and slush, stopping a couple of times to unload the equipment, turn the sled over and remove the frozen slush which added a lot of weight from the bottom, we appeared to have reached the correct spot. We broke out the GPS, took readings from the mother ship as I cautioned Dale not to stand too close as he might get beamed up. Dale’s response was, “It’s probably a lot warmer and drier there.” It turns out we are about 2.5 feet from the first property corner so we jammed a rebar into the frozen tundra and pounded away, Dale and I switching off, Dale pounding madly so we had it in place in no time. Dave then took a compass reading establishing a direct heading to another point on the opposite side of the island, we grabbed the gear like a pack of mules, fought our way through the gnarliest fallen and standing timber, arriving on the opposite side within 20 feet of the correct spot with pangs of hunger as we hadn’t eaten since breakfast. Dave did his GPS thing, taking longer due to the large pine tree obstructing the signal. This pin was a bit more ornery but with it in place, our stomachs ready to implode, Dale decided to head back to the leeward side, out of the wind, to start a fire for some tube steaks. By the time I got there the fire was going and when Dave arrived to make the line between the two pins, we stood around the heat, had tea and cooked our wieners and tube steaks, tasting better than a filet from a fine restaurant. Lunch completed we hastily packed up, killed the fire and made the trek back. All in all it went well and even though snowy cold and windy with terrible slush conditions we made the best of it.”
Tuesday, December 24th, an ice storm has Eastern Maine in darkness with no near expectation of electricity. Dale is in communication with Elbridge only by telephone, execution of documents is encumbered without fax, and Fletcher is sending PDF versions to Elbridge in Florida. December 26th, Elbridge prints acceptance page, executes and overnights it.
On December 30, Dale says, “I Drove to Calais and Machais and back to Holden to gather the Final CE, get it executed and recorded, got Packerts to sign the final plan, all with Dave Fletcher’s mother-in-law landing in Presque Isle hospital posing additional problems as the emergency caused his wife to leave for PI, and he is home with family of five kids. A foot of snow arrived last night. I’ll do a brief report for the board”.
A tremendous tribute to the stewardship and generosity of the Packerts.