An expert who helped us understand the importance of protecting the natural resources of our Town of Lamoine has died. Harold “Hal” Borns, Jr., an internationally renowned glacial geologist and University of Maine professor, died on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at the age of 92.
Many of you remember Hal (as he wished to be called) from his several trips to Lamoine over the last 20 years to share his knowledge and insights. At community presentations and public testimony he shared writings, slides, and colorful graphics about the land we live on. He talked about issues of environmental impact, especially on the aquifer, when new developments were being proposed in Lamoine — whether it be gas pumps at the Lamoine store or expansion of gravel pits. When he couldn’t come in person, he wrote letters to our boards and committees and The Ellsworth American. His focus always was on helping Lamoine citizens understand how the decisions about development of our land and services today have significant effects on our future.
His field research in glacial history took him to all world continents, except Australia, and to 28 field seasons in Antarctica. At his home base, the University of Maine/Orono, he documented the glacial history of Maine. His 1985 State Geological Survey map of Maine’s Surficial Geology is still the standard reference. In 2006, he and a cartographer produced the “Maine’s Ice Age Trail: Down East Map and Guide” on which Lamoine’s Cousins Hill is designated as one of the 46 unique Glacial landscape features to be visited.
He loved to show us how these glacial formations of the Ice Age (over 13,000 years ago), make up Lamoine’s current land mass. He would then explain why protecting and preserving these ancient, complex soil deposits is so important for future land use and assuring safe drinking water. His presentations assisted Friends of Lamoine in supporting and defending ordinances that curtail landscape destruction by gravel mining and assure protection of our valuable aquifer lying below. Most recently, a Maine Supreme Court justice cited Dr. Borns’ expert witness testimony during oral arguments of the Friends of Lamoine vs.Town of Lamoine.
A more detailed obituary of Dr. Borns can be accessed at: https://bangordailynews.com/2020/04/01/news/bangor/umaine-professor-with-antarctic-glacier-named-for-him-dies/