Keoka Lake Dam.jpg

Dam Status

Keoka Lake got a new dam in 2005.   It was installed by a group of volunteers. Sounds simple, right; --just purchase a new dam gate mechanism and install the dam thing over a couple of weekends, using volunteer labor, right?

That's what Kilton and Andy Tabor thought. Kilton volunteered to take on the dam installation as his Eagle Scout project, after supplier problems delayed the original dam installation plan. Kilton, a Life Scout, is a senior at Cape Elizabeth High School. He meticulously planned the project, from purchased parts to volunteer labor, and all steps in between. Then the trouble began.

First, the manufacturer fabricated the gate in the wrong size. This delayed shipment and prevented a Fall 2004 installation. When the gate finally arrived in December 2004, it was too cold to begin the wet-work.

Fast-forward to May 2005. Andy Tabor ensured the gate was delivered to Hamlin's property, adjacent to the Dam. On May 10, Kilton organized a group of volunteers to start building a cofferdam around the sluiceway. It took twice as much time and more than twice as many sandbags as expected to complete the temporary structure. Rain and high water were continual complications.

Then the rains came (or continued). Work was washed out over Memorial Day weekend, as the lake rose 14" and swamped the cofferdam. It was two weeks before the erstwhile crew could continue their task.

The crew spent three consecutive weekends in June cutting and clearing cement and granite from the opening - in order to make the gate fit. Cutting cement is hard work. Cutting granite is much harder. Glen Merrill loaned tools and pitched in to help with the cutting. At times, Glen's family believed that the noise of jack-hammering would never cease.

Over the July 4TH weekend, the dam gate mechanism was fitted into the enlarged opening and bolted/cemented into place. At last, after two years with an inoperable dam, the water level in the lake could be adjusted to an appropriate summertime level.

At the Keoka Lake Association (KLA) meeting on July 9, KiIton and Andy, together with 28 of their all volunteer crew were given a standing ovation and recognized with certificates of appreciation for their contribution to the project. The dam gate mechanism itself was funded with donations from KLA members, together with a generous appropriation from the Town of Waterford. Thanks to the all-volunteer effort, managed by Kilton Tabor, the cost for the project came in right on budget.