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East Grand Lake | Low Cost Maine Waterfront Properties

East Grand Lake | Low Cost Maine Waterfront Properties

East Grand Lake, one super location for low cost Maine waterfront properties.

Like most Maine lakes, summing up each takes more than a couple lines of ink. Unfortunately, all you can find on many of Maine lakes is a Wikipedia snippet or whatever the folks at inland fisheries and wildlife have for documentation. East Grand Lake is like a two nation vacation due to it’s International boundary layout. That was hammered out in several treaties leading up to the dotted line. To use for determining just where to divide the two countries sharing East Grand Lake.

east grand lake maine waterfront properties
Like A Bottle. East Grand Lake Is Not Always So Smooth And Calm.

How deep, what kind of fish, and where are the public boat launches on the Maine lake is not enough information for even craftiest of East Grand Lake anglers.

Fishing is one use of the lake, but what about loon life, other wildlife on each Maine waterfront option? The clarity of the water, what’s the bottom line for swimming, does the lake have milfoil? Anyone truly interest in a Maine lake better do more research before making a purchase based on too little information.

So back to East Grand Lake, what can I tell you about this 16,000 plus acre waterfront recreational option?

This blog post will share more than the basics numbers and details on East Grand Lake in Washington and Aroostook Counties. East Grand Lake is an international waterway that spans into the province of New Brunswick Canada. The boundary line between counties and countries is a watery one. Don’t be surprised to see a US Border Patrol white or gray boat with a green stripe pass by. When out in your own Maine watercraft.

Often locals dub “East Grand Lake” in a shortened form. Dropping the compass direction. Just saying “Grand Lake”, that’s what the destination is referred to for many heading there for the day out on the water. For those who already own family cottages, camps, homes on this larger than most Maine waterfront location.

Dropping the East Grand Lake from the title opens up the possibility of confusion over another Maine waterfront choice for fun, West Grand Lake and the stream of the same name.

Maine has so many lakes, ponds already. And West Grand Lake is an entirely different body of waterfrontage. To discuss in another blog post article for another day. The two Maine lakes are not identical waterfront twins. But for this hunt and peck blog post, East Grand Lake will get all the press. Let’s hit the basics. To make sure the highlights are not lost in the desire. To share even more about East Grand Lake than is typically found online.

East Grand Lake Time
What Time Is It? East Grand Lake Time.

So the basics quickly recited first on East Grand Lake.

Before moving on to the less known facts about the Maine lake. East Grand Lake is twenty two miles long, up to four miles wide. With a maximum depth of one hundred and twenty eight feet, East Grand Lake is one incredible playground. Yes she is filled with sport fish. Landlocked salmon, lake trout, horn pout, chain pickerel, white and yellow perch are found swimming in East Grand Lake. Troll for them. Drill a hole five times to put in the ice fishing flags. Watch for them to trip in and from an ice shack village shanty.

Lake round and white fish can be angled for as you float your boat or cast your fly line. You will also be able to fish for small mouth bass, American eel, chub, golden and common shiners, brook trout and more species. Study the other types swimming around and living in the East Grand Lake fish stock. In winter, ice fishing shacks do dot the frozen surface of East Grand Lake. The abundant smelt fish population helps East Grand sustain other species in Maine’s eighth largest lake.

East Grand Lake is nearly 79 miles long around all the ins and outs of the zig zag waterfront property shore land.

The Southern Aroostook County, Northern Washington County, Western New Brunswick Canada lake is 434 above sea level in elevation. The Chiputneticook Lakes is another earlier name for the International waterfront chain. The Chiputneticook Lake chain includes East Grand, North, Spednic, Mud and Palfrey water bodies.

East Grand Lake lies in the townships of Orient on the north, next Weston in Aroostook County. Then further south the Maine lake extends into Danforth and Forest City in Washington County.

East Grand Lake is part of the chain forming the headwaters of the St Croix River. This waterway follows the International boundary. Due south to Passamaquoddy Bay as you head into the Downeast region of Maine. The Maliseets first named the chain that’s hard to pronounce. Even more difficult to spell. The East Grand Lake Association uses the original Maliseet label for this set of natural waterfront components.

east grand lake photo
Clean, Private, Pure And Natural. Welcome To East Grand Lake!

Dams regulating the water level of East Grand Lake are in place on both the US and Canadian sides of the International border.

If removed, water levels would return to pre-1840 levels. Over the last few years, fear of what that would do to the lake chain has property owners highly concerned.

Very rocky shorelines and lots of sandy beaches make East Grand Lake interesting to explore. Numerous islands, the irregular shoreline make it big, beautiful and challenging. You do not want to find yourself out in the middle of East Grand Lake when a summer thunderstorm rolls overhead. The white caps and swells are not fun to wrestle with as you high tail it to your safe harbor cove.

The rocky reefs, excellent water quality make Est Grand Lake ideal for sport game fishing. It’s sheer size provides for ideal conditions for sailing your boat by harnessing the wind. Or to pull a water skier, a tube, to jet ski or paddle a canoe or kayak.

The easy boat access to East Grand Lake has two official options.

Heading south of Danforth on US RT 1, turn left on the Greenland Cove Road a little more than two miles out of town. There is a parking lot on the right just before the end of this paved road as you approach the boat launch. To park your vehicle and any boat trailers so they will be out of the way for others to access East Grand Lake.

Where else to put your boat into East Grand lake for a public landing? 

Butterfield Landing in Weston is accessed as you head south of the Million Dollar View on your left. In a half mile as you begin your descent down off the highly touted scenic turn out with views off water, into Canada to the east, look for the Living Water’s sign on your left. Turn by the East Grand Variety Store to proceed easterly on the Butterfield Landing road to the public boat landing.

Butterfield Landing East Grand Lake
Fishing At The Butterfield Landing On East Grand Lake Boat Launch.

These two official boat landings for East Grand Lake get lots of use. But other options over the years beside private property access to East Grand Lake have been used. On the Boundary Road before the port of entry at the US Canadian border crossing was one such access.

Every lake in Maine over twenty acres in size is supposed to have a designated boat land access.

But when you are a private property owner next to one, it can be one of the best kept secrets except for the locals where the heck those small lake boat landings really legally are located. Ask a local, get the inside tip on such matters as lake access on whatever waterfront adventure you have planned for the day and save yourself delay or confusion.

Islands on East Grand Lake include Half Moon, Sand, Burnt, Five Island, Greenland Island and more. Here is the list and map locations of all the East Grand Lake islands. I had listed Greenland Island, roughly six acres in size, for sale and it was purchased by a local conservancy group able to raise the bank funds to purchase and protect. More on this Greenland Island real estate sale on East Grand Lake.

Thought of buying an empty Maine lake lot to build on and wondering about shore land zoning regulation do’s and don’ts?

Whether it is East Grand Lake or any waterfront real estate, check with the local town hall. Study your Maine shore land zoning rules and regulations to be a good steward around the precious natural resource.

A town can beef up, go beyond the state waterfront building restrictions. Modifying existing shore land property can be less restrictive. Property grandfathered in and built before the early 1970’s is handled much differently than building from scratch on a vacant lake lot. Locating the lake lot high water mark to determine where the 100 foot set back is to build  requires a soil tester.

Soil augering a test pit hole to design septic system design is critical before buying the Maine lake lot. You don’t want to find out after the real estate closing that the property on the Maine lake is not buildable. Or requires purchase of additional adjacent land that is not for sale but for a king’s ransom could be if needed for a septic leach field.

Boundary line East Grand Lake
Where East Grand Enters Or Leaves The USA And Canada. It’s A Zig Zag Line Border Patrol Follows.

Whether building on East Grand Lake on an empty lot or renovating an existing waterfront home or cottage, check with the local communities.

Whichever towns of Orient, Weston, Danforth. Forest City is unorganized which means dealing with a higher level of shore land protection. The LUPC (Land Use Protection Commission) administers the paperwork and permits for plantations, unorganized townships in Maine and her sixteen counties.

Back in 1887 Forest City, which shares the same name with it’s Canadian neighboring community border counterpart, was created as a plantation. Forest City originally part of what was not annexed by the town of Danforth from the original land grant called Eaton, On March 1st, 1934, Forest City surrendered local municipal control to that state by deorganizing.  Many other small Maine plantations and townships are faced with the same move to deorganize. Due to dwindling population and rising property taxes which is a dangerous combination.

Down south, Forest City, like Orient on the northern end of East Grand Lake is a US port of entry.

Forest City is nearly surrounded by water with the St Croix River on the East. The Arm on the west is a long narrow bay section of East Grand Lake. Forest City also is home to a dam that affects water levels in East Grand Lake. Fears that Woodland Pulp, owner of the Forest City dam could remove it is a one huge concern to East Grand Lake property owners and fishing, hunting, lodging businesses.

Turning the dam in Forest City Maine over to the state is not unlike how many public lake landings are administered. On Drews Lake, our property owners association bought the acreage around the dam and boat launch. And took over maintenance of the dam, the policing of the use and any debris from the public left behind.

What complicates the East Grand Lake raising and lowering of water levels is half of the St Croix river dam exists on the Canadian side of the International border. So working together between the powers to be in both countries and cool heads are needed to protect and preserve the East Grand Lake precious natural resource.

Low cost Maine waterfront properties have always be lower in supply and wore a higher price tag.

When water is attached or is your neighbor, the real estate commands a greater return value than properties not on a lake, pond, river, brook or the ocean. East Grand Lake can be accessed at a cheaper rate. Just like concert tickets or the admission to a sporting event, where you are parked around the venue makes a difference in pricing. In the past, leased land on Little River Cove that was not easily accessed and lacked power could be purchased at a lower waterfront property rate.

The land on Little River Cove, and lots on the Sandy Beach Road could be leased but not purchased for the longest time. But as waterfront and respective back lots on East Grand Lake property owners were given the option to purchase, most did. The leases back when $75 or up to $300 a year did not cause the stir to own not rent the lake area land.

east grand lake photo
Islands, Coves, Wide Open East Grand Lake. Get It All At This Top 8 Largest ME Waterfront Vacation Destination.

The properties for fun on the water were not hard to handle when family members divided up what was owed the paper or lumbering companies for an East Grand Lake lease.

Everyone was a happy camper. But as the per front price for waterfront land on East Grand Lake increased, so did the lease amounts passed on to the camp owned on rented ground. Plus the owner of the camp cottage or home had to pay the property taxes assessed on the structures and any improvements.

Now on top of the higher recreational leases, the camps on the property improvements were not all simple cottages anymore. Palatial homes, folks wanting to use more than for seasonal camping caused the push to own your waterfront property not lease or rent it.

As the East Grand Lake property structures became more expansive and valuable, the thought of just removing the “camp” or “cottage” if you decided to stop leasing became harder or impossible.

And banks making loans on the East Grand Lake waterfront properties wanted the lease terms to match the financing mortgage loan length to protect their collateral position. The large timber companies and old family land holdings around the lake also were whittled away and sold off as the owners wanted to liquidate their holdings on East Grand Lake.

How to own now for less money on East Grand Lake if you are juggling other debts? Most folks wrestle with college loans, household overhead, the funding of retirement accounts and monthly repair, grocery, etc expenses. So purchasing an East Grand Lake waterfront property on a local smaller wage is becoming increasingly difficult. The attraction of out of state waterfront property buyers used to higher priced real estate is where the pendulum has swung in recent years.

Hop In. I Have The Lures, Picnic Lunch, Hot Thermos Of Coffee In My Boat.

If you wanted a lower cost, cheaper Maine waterfront property in today’s market, on East Grand Lake my advice is to consider a back lot.

You don’t have to be on the sidelines of enjoying a top ten largest lake in Maine.

On Sandy Beach Road in Danforth ME the one row back lots have a right of way lake access area. Most provide for a private lake right of way access lot measuring 25′ wide. It might not be cleared or a well beaten path to the water’s edge. But it is on the survey maps every so often. Pick the one closest to your Maine back lot.

All the right of way easement lots are in place. To provide access to East Grand Lake in several locations along the roadways. That separate the shore land lots, the much deeper back ones. And the Greenland Cove boat launch is not far away. To slide your boat in and out quickly. If only a long weekend is what you have for time to enjoy East Grand Lake. That will do the R and R trick. Until you can do more free up of calendar time.

The surveyed and pinned, blazed back East Grand Lake lots are deep, over 400′ in depth, nice and wide.

Most back lots are not so hilly steep like the front ones in the Sandy Beach area. Or on both sides of the Boulder Road or Fifield Lane area of East Grand Lake. Those front lake lots are more expensive, smaller sized with tighter shore land zoning building restrictions to maneuver. The challenging smaller front lots. They just make the larger, cheaper rear ones with right of way lake access look like a smarter investment. For anyone tight on cash. That is not planning to spend more than a handful of times on East Grand Lake.

You could save up to $100,000 in the East Grand Lake waterfront property buying budget.

Just don’t make what you do build on the far side of the road too fancy smancy. Those high end waterfront property buyers demand to be parked smack dab on the front row of the lake. The closer the bette. For those with the ability to put their money where their heart is. But development and room for all the water toys, the garage, visitors with campers. Way way more space on the large helping of land back lots.

Maine Lakes
When The Maine Lake Is Large, The Amount Of Low Cost Waterfront Properties Increases.

If you work in the Houlton area or have family there, the north end of East Grand Lake in Orient township is very appealing. It is less travel time and gas up to Walmart, the shopping, movies, library or hospital. Which saves time and money for Orient ME East Grand Lake waterfront property owners.

Heading down to Danforth. Winding in the Greenland Cove Road. To access the Arm and other areas of this southern section of the lake> All adding to the time behind the wheel. But for those coming up from the south of Danforth. Then it’s cutting over in Chester near Lincoln ME off I-95. That’s where you put on the turn signal blinker. To head diagonally into Danforth to access East Grand Lake via Rt 169, 170.

Old Bark Landing, Cedar Point, Peters and MacAllister Cove, the Gold Coast peninsular, Madigan, Caribou and Chadwick Point on East Grand Lake.

All popular spots to enjoy this Northern Maine lake outdoor resource. The Thorough fare heading up from the top of East Grand into North Lake. That is if the water levels are high enough not to rip your engine prop off in the channel. Look down into the water as you proceed slowly. See lower units, props, lots of boating paraphernalia. Let’s take your boat fishing this morning okay? Big rocks in East Grand Lake can stop up a boat very quickly if you make contact. You keep moving forward. But your boat stops in its tracks hooked to a rock just below the water surface.

Picnics on the Canadian side with sandy island beaches. Start off if new to the area by camping at Greenland Cove Camp ground, or staying at Rideouts, Cowgers or any other recreational fishing, hunting lodge options. East Grand Lake weighing at over 16,000 acres is one drop dead gorgeous for low cost Maine waterfront property real estate buying option.

I’m Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers, ME Broker 

207.532.6573 |  [email protected]  |  

MOOERS REALTY 69 North ST Houlton ME 04730 USA 


Andrew Mooers

Welcome to our Maine real estate website. I am the father of four grown children, have listed, marketed, sold properties for over forty years. Lots of changes in the real estate industry over that many decades and daily we re-invent our job. I grew up on a Maine farm that I bought from by three older brothers. My youngest son continues in the tradition on that same Maine farm. Here to help with property searches for homes, farms, land, waterfront, multi housing rentals, small mom and pop business listings.

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