National Park Service Plans Special Activities for 403rd Anniversary
Contact: Meg Scheid, 207-454-3871
June 26, 2007, marks 403 years since Pierre Dugua Sieur de Mons founded a French settlement on Saint Croix Island here in Calais, Maine. In recognition of this important date, park rangers at Saint Croix Island International Historic Site have prepared a day of interpretive programs and activities to help visitors and community members appreciate the history and significance of the short-lived settlement, and highlight the meeting of the French and Passamaquoddy.
The day’s events will be held at the site’s mainland interpretive trail, located near the parking lot. “Visitors and community members can join the fun. Everyone is welcome,” said Meg Scheid, park ranger and lead interpreter at the historic site.
On Tuesday, June 26, from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm, a bilingual costumed National Park interpreter dressed as Pierre Dugua, will be available to answer questions – in English and French - about the history of the 1604 expedition and his experience on Saint Croix Island. Throughout the day, a National Park Ranger who is Passamaquoddy will be conducting the site’s first basket making demonstrations to highlight the living culture of the Passamaquoddy people today. To help children ages eight to twelve understand the story of the Saint Croix settlement, hands-on activities will be offered by a Student Conservation Association intern at 10:30, 1:30, and 3:00. Adult accompaniment is required. Also throughout the day, “Ho là là – Île Sainte-Croix!” an interpretive program introducing the story of St. Croix, will be offered at 11:30, 2:30, 4:00 and 5:30. The grand opening of the site’s new book sales area will be held in the Ranger Contact office located in the big yellow house at 76 Saint Croix Drive. Look for the National Park Service office sign at the end of the driveway. Sales items include: the English translation of Samuel Champlain’s journal in which he describes the 1604 expedition and winter on Saint Croix Island; Saint Croix post cards; bilingual Passamaquoddy children’s books and music CD; and more.
The shoreline interpretive trail is wheelchair-accessible. Installed in 2003, the trail depicts life in 1604 and features displays and bronze sculptures of French settlers and the region’s First Peoples—the Passamaquoddy. A bronze model of the French settlement is located at the trail’s end, overlooking Saint Croix Island. The park is open until dusk.
Programs times are in Eastern time. The international historic site is located on U.S. Route 1, eight miles south of Calais, Maine. Questions can be directed to Meg Scheid at 454-3871.
Did You Know?
Native Americans helped the French adapt to life on Saint Croix Island. Several Native parties even made temporary camp on the island and assisted the colonists in various endeavors. The island is protected today as part of Saint Croix Island International Historic Site.