Voices from the Northern Forest Canoe Trail

The Official Blog of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail :: Paddling – or dreaming about it – in the Northern Forest

NFCT Stewardship Machine

Categories: Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Trail Stewardship - Tags: , , , , , , ,

By Walter Opuszynski
Trail Director

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail field season is winding down and we are shifting gears towards fall projects. But first, holy smokes, it’s hard to believe all the work that was accomplished this summer! Over the years we have developed a stewardship machine that professionally improves the paddler experience, mitigates user impact, and works to help keep our waters in good shape.

Like all machines there are a number of moving parts. Two highly efficient gears this summer have been our regional field coordinators, Noah Pollock (NY-VT-QC) and Will Jeffries (NH-ME). Starting in early spring they helped with hiring and planning, and then led our Stewardship Intern Crew and many volunteers through a flurry of field projects, including several we have been working on for a number of years.


Regional field coordinator Will Jeffries on the aptly named Moose River Bow Loop.

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Spring canoe trip on the Allagash River, May 10–15, 2016

Categories: Northern Forest Canoe Trail - Tags: , , , ,

By Chris Gill
Volunteer Trail Maintainer & Section-paddler

sunset_Allagash River May 2016_ChrisGillLocation: Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Maine
Put-in: Indian Stream
Take-out: Town of Allagash

The Allagash River is an iconic section of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail. If you go during the first week of May right after ice out you get your choice of campsites, there are no bugs, no thunderstorms, and no crowds. You also get snow in the woods, mud in the campsites, cold howling headwinds, below freezing nights, and maybe hypothermia inducing rain. I wouldn’t send a neophyte paddler on this trip at this time of year but it’s a wonderful time for more experienced canoeists.

Day 1

Our group consisted of six people and a dog in three canoes. After shuttling, everyone eventually ended up at the Indian Stream put-in, ate lunch and headed down the narrow but lively brook to Eagle Lake. An added bonus this time of year is plenty of water in the streams. Read more

Canoeing and portaging with kids on the East Branch Penobscot River, August 22-24, 2016

Categories: From the Executive Director, Northern Forest Canoe Trail - Tags: , , ,

By Karrie Thomas
Executive Director


Location: East Branch Penobscot River, Maine
Put-in: Matagamon Wilderness Campground
Take-out: Lunksoos Basecamp

I could tell the river was rising. I built a cairn at the waterline while washing our dinner dishes. It was not big, only three rocks and maybe a foot tall. When I checked it an hour later, it was under water.

I was with my family at the Upper East Branch tent site on the East Branch Penobscot River in Maine. Deciding to do this trip had been a long process with advice from several friends. My husband and I are skilled whitewater paddlers, but we wanted a canoe trip where we could bring our 7- and 4-year old boys. People who know the river told us we would be fine. People who have kids thought we were crazy!

My particular concern was having too much water. Big water is pushy and in my mind it would only add to the portaging we would have to do with two kids in tow. I was sure we could make it safe, but I was not looking forward to walking all of the rapids that would be part of the 20-mile stretch of river we planned to paddle with two canoes.

After a month of little rain, northern Maine got a deluge in the days before we started. The river went from 500 cfs to around 2,000 cfs in 12 hours. It had settled back down by the time we put-in, but as we went to bed on our first night, the river was rising. Read more

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