Allagash River ME

In this day of reservations and quotas, this is one area that requires neither…moreover it seems each year its less used.

Used to be quite the populated canoe route 25 years ago…not any more…more moose than people for sure.

Perhaps its irrational but I know that the department that manages the area is running low on funds and I fear that the campsites on it will not be as pristine as they once were…and I wonder how long the ranger will be able to run a portage service

However this 100 mile route will still be there!

We had a six day trip and saw seven other folks.

Low on funds not a bad thing IMHO
I thkn I have a weird take on the subject but suffer through it if you will.

You are very lucky to have run into so few paddlers. That is good news. Ten years ago the place was so overrun that it spoiled the trip for many a group. So many people were coming to the area that the sound of motors and the demand for campsites made the experience miserable. Maybe the lack of funding is translating into a better paddling experience for future groups? Sounds whacky but maybe I am not too far of kilter here.

The National Park Service and the Maine Department of Conservation signed an agreement that reaffirms the state’s responsibility to manage the Allagash as a wild river and requires a review of its 1999 management plan. The Allagash Wilderness Waterway has long been a premier destination for those seeking a remote river adventure, but that remote quality has been in severe danger of slipping away. Once only accessible in a few places, the river now has 14 vehicle access points all along the Wilderness Waterway. As a “wild” river under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the Allagash is meant to be “generally inaccessible except by trail, with watersheds or shorelines essentially primitive.” However, the State of Maine, which has managed the river since its designation in 1970, has increased vehicular access points, spending goodly sized chunks of tax payers money to increase it’s “management” capabilities, which have eroded the once-remote nature of the river. Somehow the politicians have sold the idea that raising money to manage the Allagash was a good idea. I often wonder if “managing” wilderness areas like the way Maine has “managed” the Allagash would be possible if people hadnt let the liberal democrats of Portland and Augusta raise money through taxes in the name of some whacky need to “manage” an area that truely needs no intrusion on it to be what it was supposed to be. It seems as though when our governments have more money to “manage” things they just screw it up.

So I am glad the funding isnt there and I hope someday to paddle the Allagash and find it completely overrun with anything but people. I would love to walk on the new access roads and find trees growing on them. Like it use to be. Perhaps Maines budgetary problems are a good thing for paddlers.

I would gladly give up my pick up truck portage around Chase Rapids in exchange for my choice of campsites because fewer people were making the trip. Am I way out there?

At one time it was a lot of work to paddle from Greenville to Allagash Village. I would imagine it was beautiful then. I hope the budget dries up. Maybe then they will stop “improving” the Allagash.

Anyways, just had to through in some early morning thoughts. Sorry bout that.

Nice post ScottB
You brought up some valid points, I paddled the Allagash with my 2 brothers in 78. We had a great time, even got the trip on super 8 film, not too many folks except around Allagash Falls, not a great place to camp. Other than that, it was a very good trip.

What it was
I did the trip from Greenville to Fort Kent twice.In 1970, my father and I saw one other paddler (one strong solo from NYC) and a Great Northern drive manager. He was making sure that the camp on the Penobscot was “ready to go” for one last drive. When we got to Chase Rapids, we had a meal at the lumber camp kitchen before we ran the river the rest of the way. There we met two honeymooning couples that the road brought in. They lasted about 10 minutes. We later found their gear for miles.

In 1972, my friends and I met someone on Mud Pond Carry and a few more folks farther up the river. It was as it should be, quiet, remote, a wilderness challenge. Now there are homes for sale on Chesuncook, trees slash cut for miles, roads to get anywhere you choose. I remember it as a Wilderness Waterway. It’s not that anymore.

trying to count the access points
havent got the map though right here; it seemed like less than fourteen being used; some have lapsed into disrepair or disaccess.

…yah there is alot of potential for access, but save for the Round Pond road there is NO logging going on in the area and when there is no logging there is no road or bridge maintenance. Umsaskis, Chamberlain bridge, and the infamous John’s bridge road are in relatively good shape. Churchill Dam is getting rough and Bissonnette-well dont try to back up or move over for someone else.

I wasnt just lucky on one trip not to find anyone. I have done four trips there in a year and have not yet found the crowds that were there twenty years ago.

The flip side is that Chesuncook (not on the Allagash route but close) is getting alot of development because of people who have too much money from away.

The lumber companies arent our enemies its the city folks looking to escape to their million dollar “camp”


– Last Updated: Aug-08-04 10:49 PM EST –

great posts all...
Augusta's policymakers(land use/water & wildlife)are such short term, political/financial turns my stomach....when I see what could opposed to what is happenning with land, water, wildlife, overall wilderness, and economic/jobs issues in this state, and the state government has no thought about taking a role in changing values when/where they should.... Some people at the lower levels have a lot of good ideas, yet many REALLY need to travel around the country an observe how other states are creating success stories....when starting with much less natural wilderness.