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

  • Our Purpose

    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.
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  • Allagash History

    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.

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  • Our New Projects

    Storied Lands & Waters of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway is a new, first-of-its-kind assessment of the historic and cultural resources of the Allagash Waterway, and presents a thorough interpretation of the Waterway’s exceptional assets. Learn more about this exciting project, our youth engagement programs, and other ways you can support the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation.

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New Report Will Help Tell Story of the Allagash

The Storied Lands and Waters report was recently released by the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation (AWWF). The report includes a heritage & cultural resource assessment, interpretive plan and sample lesson plans for educators to use in teaching about the Allagash. Storied Lands and Waters of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, was produced over a two-year span as a collaborative effort between the foundation and the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. The principal author of the 300-page book is Bruce Jacobson, the former chief of planning and land resources at Acadia National Park. The report is an important document that will be used by waterway managers to tell the story of the Allagash ...

NEWS!! Allagash Waterway Resource Assessment Released

Bob McIntosh, president of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation, announced release of the first heritage resource assessment of the famed Allagash Wilderness Waterway.  The “Storied Lands & Waters” project marks a milestone in the history of the Allagash and offers a roadmap for action in the years ahead.  The announcement was made Friday, June 15 at the State House in August, Maine. The 300-page volume, Storied Lands & Waters of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway is the product of a two-year collaboration between the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation (AWWF) and the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, with financial support from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and private donors. Principal author is Bruce Jacobson, ...

I Went Fishing on My First Day at Umsaskis Lake

I can remember my first day at Umsaskis Lake back in May of 1977, like it was yesterday. I was so excited to be in a more remote section of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW). I had a new area to explore, new people to meet and potential new fishing hot spots to checkout. When I arrived at the two-room rustic cabin nestled in a small clearing, a stone’s throw away from the shore of Umsaskis Lake I was delighted to find that someone had already been there and lit the gas refrigerator. I didn’t know it at the time, but waterway supervisor ...

Allagash Street Fair is Coming Up and Guess Who’s the Beneficiary?

Allagash Brewing Company is gearing up for another fantastic Street Fair. This year it takes place, Saturday June 23 at their brewery in Portland. The Allagash Brewing Company  Street Fair is an annual event that is filled with music, food, beer, performances, and fun events.  Last year the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation was invited to participate, and we set up a table, spoke to a lot of great people, raffled off a beautiful paddle board, and gave away maps of the waterway. Each year Allagash Brewing Company graciously supports organizations that do great work in the community. This year, for the second year ...

Canada Lynx Doing Well on the Allagash

Northern Maine’s resident wildcat- the Canada Lynx, is doing quite well along the shores of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. In fact, so well, that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which currently lists the lynx as threatened, has started the process of delisting the lynx from the endangered species list. While the delisting recommendation does not remove or negate the Endangered Species Act protections currently in place for the Canada Lynx, the decision does trigger a process to end them. The first step would be for U.S. Fish and Wildlife to publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register, then take public comments and finally draft a final decision. In the lower ...

How the Allagash Changed My Life

My first trip on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway was so powerful that I can say without question that it changed the course of my life forever. I was 23 years old.  Having grown up in a beach town in Southern California, I was athletic (a surfer), but certainly not skilled in canoeing, camping, or fly fishing. I was a novice, but I had a great teacher and I possessed an adventurous spirit. My first trip down the Allagash started at Telos Landing and ended in the Town of Allagash. It was mid-May a little before the hatch. In all, the trip comprised ...

March is the Best Month to Go Ice Fishing on the Allagash

Ice fishing can be one of the highlights of a Maine winter. If the fishing takes place in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW) – it is more like an ice fishing adventure! Ice fishing traps, or tip-ups as they are often referred to, all use the same basic design- when a fish pulls on the line, a flag goes up. When the flag goes up, someone usually yells flag, and everyone in the fishing party hustles over to the tip-up to see what is going on. Excitement builds when you get to the tip-up and the reel is spinning. The faster the ...

Allagash Eases Restrictions, Increases Bag Limit for Trout

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) has adopted new, less restrictive length and bag limits for much of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW). These new rules take effect on January 1, 2018, for: Eagle, Churchill, Umsaskis, Long Lake and Chase Rapids. Fishing regulations have not changed for Chamberlain, Telos or Allagash Lakes. Also, note that - Umsaskis, Long Lake and Chase Rapids are not open to ice fishing. IF&W Fisheries Biologists did extensive research on the fisheries in the AWW during the 2016 calendar year, which included: winter and summer angler counts, winter creel surveys, trap netting, and trapping ...

Connecting Youth to Nature on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway

This year, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation (AWWF) partnered with Chewonki of Wiscasset, Maine, to offer two all-expenses-paid paddling and camping trips on the Waterway for youth living in gateway communities of the Waterway.  With the generous support of local partners, the Quimby Family Foundation, and the Defoe Fund, 18 students from the Katahdin Area and the St. John River Valley took a three-day, two‑night river excursion at the end of summer break and during Harvest Season. The trips were guided by Chewonki trip leaders with significant experience guiding youth trips in remote areas of Maine. The classic canoe trips through ...

Wilderness Guide Gardner Defoe Inspires Fund in His Name

Legendary Maine Wilderness Guide Gardner Defoe led groups of youth down Maine rivers for over 25 years. A recent film called, Defoe’s Way, produced by O'Maine Studios and funded by L.L. Bean, tells the inspiring story of Defoe's life and his many journeys down the Allagash River. The alumni of these programs were profoundly changed by Defoe's trips and their time on the Allagash. To honor their mentor and provide this same incredible opportunity to Maine youth, this group has created the Gardner Defoe Allagash Access Fund. Funds raised will be used to support wilderness trips for northern Maine youth through the Allagash Waterway Foundation Youth ...

Ice Out at Allagash Lake

Allagash Lake is the Holy Grail for fishing in Maine.  With vehicular access limited to a mile or more from the shore, and motorized equipment off limits there, a trip to Allagash Lake is among the last of Maine’s true wilderness adventures. Spring, around the time of ice out, is a very special time for anglers at Allagash Lake.  That’s not to say that all seasons don’t have a special allure, but spring ushers in the rebirth of life in the woods after a long winter.  As the woods shed the last shards of their winter blanket of snow, the lake’s ice sheet changes in color from white to black.  Open ...

I Had Paddled Many Rivers in Maine, But Never the Allagash

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 ...

The First Time I Realized the Allagash Flowed North

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 ...

The Allagash is a Gem That Needs All the Support We Can Muster

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 ...

My Days and Nights on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway

pj_attean-lktSince 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

chamberlain-lake_calmMy 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, ...
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  • How to Donate

    The Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation accepts both unrestricted and targeted gifts to fulfill our mission to support the Waterway.

    Please make checks out to AWWF and mail to:

    PO Box 1211
    Bath, Maine 04530

    Or, follow the link to PayPal.

  • AWWF Clothing

    Tour the Allagash Waterway warm and prepared by sporting our AWWF apparel. Visit our online store to see our wares.

    Shop for AWWF Clothing.