Article by Gale Schmidt • Photos by Carol Shearon
Four goals were recorded in the minutes of Eastman’s founders’ annual meeting in 1970, three of which pertain to the social and environmental aspects of a sustainable community:
1. T o create a living environment with a variety of activities with continuing appeal to people of a broad socio-economic
2. T o develop the land so that the impact upon the natural environment is minimized and the beauty of the surrounding
landscape is conserved and enhanced.
3. T o maintain an enviable quality of environment.
Subsequently, the authors of Eastman, The First 25 Years, 1971-1996 clearly interpreted what its founders saw as Eastman’s roots, as evidenced in the following quotes:
• All activity centered on devising ways that would best preserve the beauty of the area. (p. 9)
• Eastman, from its inception, offered a myriad of options for those interested in just about any outdoor activity: Hikes, nature walks and backpacking trips, canoeing, fishing, just being with nature. Overnight camping on the “big island” became a favorite summertime event. (p. 23)
• Eastman offers the possibility of experiencing a broader array of fauna, such as flying squirrels, bobcats, beaver, fishers, ermine, wild turkey, moose and possibly mountain lions. (p. 42)
• The profile of a typical property owner is of a person who enjoys outdoor activity, who respects the beauty of the natural surroundings, who understands the importance of being a responsible steward of the environment, and who appreciates the reward of taking time to pause and smell the pines. (p. 46)
In keeping with this spirit of its founding, Eastman offers an annual five-day kayak/canoe trip to all willing residents. The trip is scheduled for mid-July. The pristine scenic beauty of the destinations has been awe-inspiring: the Penobscot River (Maine), the Rangely Lakes (New Hampshire/Maine) and, most recently, the Saranac Lakes (in New York’s Adirondack Mountains). The accompanying photographs are from this latest trip.
The Recreation-led trips have been likened to “Outward Bound for baby boomers,” and they can be credited with changing city slickers into real outdoorsmen and women. They provide opportunities to see, touch, hear, smell and appreciate what is happening in the natural world and they foster cooperation. They have given many Eastmanites enough knowledge and
experience that they now take such trips on their own.
Working together, participants have learned what it is really like to pack appropriate gear and clothing and fit all of it, along with some “community” gear (stove, pots and pans, etc.) into kayaks. They have pitched tents, made and sustained a campfire, felt really tired, marveled as they have watched a sunset from beginning to end, experienced the full force and duration of a thunderstorm directly overhead, enjoyed solitude, portaged boats and gear, and made a dinner of calzones with flour and water and yeast, cooked on camp stoves. They have been mesmerized by glowing embers, watched darkness settle in, seen nature at its best and less than best, savored awe-inspiring vistas and, above all, have breathed deeply and “smelled” the outdoors.
Participants return refreshed, invigorated, grateful to live in Eastman and fully cognizant of Eastman’s core values, its “roots.”