Re: Length of the Maine Coast?
Thu, 14 November 2002 15:35
Yikes! The Maine Office of Tourism is using me as a reference? Now you've got ME worried.
I'm afraid Dann Lewis might have taken my figures out of the context in which they were offered, i.e. that the very measurement of the length of the coast is a nebulous and changing thing, that there is no absolute, meaningful measurement of such a length, as proven by the fact that one method of measuring can find 57% MORE coast than the previous method. In the Preface I was writing about changes along the Maine Coast; the joke was that the length, obviously, hasn't changed.
From that perspective, I wouldn't worry at all about using either figure or any figure in between. If you project the increase in coastal length to future years, we should already have topped 6,000 miles by now!
Be reassured, though, that I did (or do) have a reference for the 5,000 mile figure. Our third edition was updated in 1995-96, so I will have to dig deep to find my exact source. Guessing now, I believe this figure came from the GIS work of the Island Institute, as published, probably, in one of their "Working Waterfront" newspapers. I have no doubts that the figure was in miles, because I was amazed that they could find 2,000 extra miles of ins and outs, even on the Maine Coast. Even taking into account the increased accuracy of satellite imaging and varying states or tides, this seems like a fantastic gain for Maine. Not only does knowledge make us wise, it makes us richer, too.
Now that you've piqued my curiosity, I will make a gallant dive into my reference files for my exact source. I'd hate to leave Mr. Lewis in the hot water for too long!
Thank you for using (and trusting) A Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast.