From Telos to the junction of the Allagash and the St. John it is a bit over a hundred miles. There are no hundred miles in America quite their equal. Certainly none has their distinctive quality. They will, I pray, be preserved for all time as a roadless primitive waterway.
– U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, My Wilderness: East to Katahdin, 1961
The Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation created to enhance the wilderness character of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, protect its environment, preserve its historic and cultural values and foster knowledge and understanding of the Waterway.
The Allagash region has a long and proud human history that reaches back 10,000 years. The Waterway was established in 1966 as one of the first Wild & Scenic Rivers in the country. We celebrate the rich legacy of the Allagash from its days as a principal travel and trade route for native people, through the early lumbering days of the 19th century, to its present status as a 90-mile ribbon of remote wilderness that weaves through the managed forest landscape.
Programs & Projects
We raise funds to support youth engagement, land conservation, capital improvements, historic & cultural interpretation, and research & planning.
Although I had worked along different stretches of the Allagash starting when I was fresh out of college in 1979, my first canoe trip down the entire river was with my daughters, my husband, and a few friends in 1999. I’d paddled many rivers in Maine, but never the Allagash. It seemed like an ideal river for a family adventure. We poled through Mud Pond Carry, then spent the next seven days paddling to Dickey. We swam in rapids, fished, visited the locomotives, climbed the Round Pond fire tower, got eaten by black flies, and saw a dozen moose. My favorite memory is of the faces of my then six- and eight-year-old daughters as ...
I probably need to fact check the year, but if memory serves me, then I think 1979 or 1980 (age 20) was the year I made my first trip to the Allagash. I had done a lot of backpacking, some canoeing overnights, and some whitewater paddling, but this was my first multi-night canoe adventure in Northern Maine. I had done some work with the outdoor program at UMaine and bought a damaged Old Town Tripper from that program a couple years earlier. My college friend Mike Curry talked about the trip for a couple of months, and we decided to do it at ...
Most of my initial dealings with the Allagash Wilderness Waterway were work related. While I had read about and dreamed of a trip on the Allagash for years that didn’t really occur until after I went to work for the Department of Conservation as its Personnel Manager in 1984. It was then my job to learn what folks working for the Department really did. That included the special job classifications of Supervisor AWW and Allagash Ranger. My first visits to the AWW were meeting with then-Supervisor Tim Caverly and some of his Rangers and being shown many of the natural and scenic ...
Since 1978, my connection with the Allagash Wilderness Waterway has been more work related than recreational, though I can confess to some very memorable days of fishing, both winter and summer, on Allagash and Chamberlain lakes. As a fishery biologist I was fortunate to have the AWW headwater lakes in my region, and to have spent time there checking anglers and their catch, as well as surveying the waters and their fish populations. The brook trout, lake trout (togue), lake whitefish, and burbot (cusk) populations in AWW waters are native. They exist today much as they have since long before Europeans set ...
My first encounters with the Allagash were by air, with limited time on the water. In June 1955, I accompanied Governor Muskie on a flight to Chamberlain Lake, where he met with Al Nugent of Nugent Camps to discuss Mr. Nugent’s concerns about clear-cut lumbering operations and the threat of shore-land development. Then we flew to Allagash Lake for a weekend of fishing. I didn’t return to the area until the 1962-1966 period, when, as Senator Muskie’s administrative assistant, I was responsible for negotiating on his behalf with legislators, the Executive Director of the Maine Parks and Recreation Commission, Maine Forestry Commissioner, ...