Camp Roads


Camp Road PicDo you have a camp road?  We want to help!

To help keep our lakes clean, we provide support to camp road owners across our watershed in maintaining their camp roads, which are among the largest potential polluters to our lakes. Our camp road assistance program provides trainings, technical assistance, and financial support to road associations and private road owners.

Camp Road Surveys

As a part of a two-year project, we are surveying the private gravel roads within the 30 Mile River Watershed. With the help of students from the Environmental Policy and Planning program at the University of Maine at Farmington we surveyed half of the roads in the fall of 2017 (nearly 100!) and will be continuing the project in the summer of 2018.

These surveys will help us identify erosion issues that are potentially harming water quality so that we may better prioritize our efforts protecting our lakes.

How do camp roads affect water quality?

As stormwater flows over camp roads, it picks up loose soil and the attached phosphorus particles. If camp roads are not properly maintained, they can provide a direct path for this polluted stormwater to flow into the lake. An excess of phosphorus can cause algal blooms, which kill fish and diminish overall water quality. As water quality diminishes, the recreational, aesthetic, and economic value of the lake also suffer, causing property values to decrease.


Camp Road Management Plans – Half price for a limited time!

Thanks to a grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, we have partnered with the Kennebec County Soil and Water Conservation District to offer camp road management plans to qualified applicants at half price!

These management plans will identify existing sources of erosion on your camp road, outline Best Management Practices (BMPs) and maintenance recommendations, and provide estimates and guidance for prioritizing the work. Proper camp road management will save money in the long run, as well as result in better water quality in our lakes!

If you are interested in saving money or improving the water quality of your lake, fill out the application below for the opportunity to have a camp road management plan created for your camp road!

The questions that will be on the application are listed in the document below; please look at these questions ahead of time to ensure that you have all of the required information handy before filling out the application.

Application Questions (pdf)


What resources may 30MRWA provide?
  • Road surveys
  • Road management plansCamp Road Survey
  • Workshops* on managing and maintaining camp roads
  • Workshops* on forming and managing a road association
  • Technical assistance
  • Matching funds
  • Online resources


*These two-hour outdoor workshops will consist of touring problem sites and discussing corrective options. Topics will include erosion control, drainage, road surfaces, assessing and scoping need, prioritizing and phasing work, budget planning, communicating needs to contractors and where to get technical assistance.  Targeted event participants will be limited to road associations or other governing landowners living on private, seasonal or year-round roads within the watershed. These sessions are best suited for small groups of about 12 people.

Success Story

Over the years, the 30 Mile River Watershed Association (30MRWA) has worked with the Day Road Association on Kimball Pond in Vienna to help them improve, upgrade and repair many parts of their private camp road. Growing year-round usage of the Day Road had created more costly road maintenance and traffic performance problems for land owners, as well as threatened the health and water quality of Kimball Pond. The Day Road Association took the first step towards improving its camp road and protecting the lake by contacting 30MRWA for help.

Through his volunteer role with 30MRWA, Clyde Walton, 30MRWA board member and former DOT employee, provided free technical assistance to the Day Road Association. Together they completed a road assessment and developed work priorities that included setting new culverts, roadside ditching and vegetation clearing, road grading and gravel surfacing, removal of tree stumps and large stones, and implementing timely erosion control measures. The goal was to create something that would be affordable, fully functional and long-lasting. Last year a formal road association was formed, using the new statutory model as a guide.

With guidance and assistance from 30MRWA, as well as the help of many landowner-volunteers who contributed their time, equipment and resources, the newly-formed Day Road Association has begun making and implementing work priorities and continues to set budget priorities as a planning process for continuing the road work. As a result, the storm water from normal and heavy rainfall and snowmelt is being properly drained, which reduces road deterioration as well as protects the water quality of Kimball Pond from polluted storm water runoff.

Congratulations to the Day Road Association for a job well done!



“We would like to thank Clyde Walton [30MRWA volunteer and board member] for his continued insight and wisdom in the construction and maintenance of camp roads. His guidance has greatly benefited our group by improving the quality of Day Road as well as protecting the health of Kimball Pond. We look forward to working with Clyde in the upcoming year.”

– Scott MacDonald, Treasurer of the Day Road Association on Kimball Pond


“Mud Season and Camp Roads”

–Clyde Walton, Board Member and Landscape Architect

Like black flies, mud season is an annual nuisance.  It signals the end of winter and the presence of the flies begins the advent of summer.  Mud season is a process of thawing frozen ground.  The posting of some public roads with bright red signs serves as a reminder of temporary weight restrictions placed on heavy truck loads travelling over roads with dangerous frost and thawing conditions.  Also, some private gravel roads become impassable and accrue expensive repairs during this season.

Why do seasonal roads have fewer ground thawing problems than those used year around?  Answer: seasonal roads require no snow plowing.  Therefore, the snow cover remains undisturbed and insulates the ground from excessive frost penetration while having a shorter thawing time period.  An early snow cover in November and no “January thaw” are ideal for minimal road damage.

What causes the variety of mud season damages that occur on year round gravel roads?  Answer:  Snow melt and rainfall that cannot penetrate frozen soil. Instead it puddles against snow plow banks and overflows across the hard frozen ground surface in downhill directions.  This is called storm water runoff.  Depending on the duration and intensity of runoff, numerous rills and gullies cut into the ground to create concentrated runoff flow and soil displacement.  The transported soil moves long distances in water/soil slurry that ultimately reaches lakes, streams and other water resources.  The slurry contains soil particles laden with phosphorus, a major pollutant nutrient that enhances unwanted algal blooms in lakes and waterways.  When left unattended, the problem only gets worse.  So do the mosquitoes!

How can we fix the Mud Season problem?  Answer:  1) photograph the damaged site immediately; 2) as the thawing process permits, redirect the runoff off the road travel way and into the roadside ditches; 3) keep culverts and ditches free of debris; 4) trim back roadside tree branches to let in more winter sunlight/heat;  5) add more culverts and ditch turnouts to better apportion runoff flow; and 6) upgrade the gravel road surface with a coarse gravel blanket and crown graded shape.  Utilize professional help where needed.

Camp Road Maintenance Resources