By Julia Bayly, BDN Staff
Bangor Daily News news story
BATH, Maine — Close to a half-century after its creation, the entire 92 miles of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway is now in the hands of the state.
On Monday, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation, based in Bath, announced the 40-acre Lock Dam section connecting Chamberlain and Eagle lakes had been purchased through a private sale and subsequent donation to the state.
“The Lock Dam lot is historically significant to the Allagash River and Maine’s cultural history, especially that of northern Maine,” Bob McIntosh, president of the foundation, stated in a news release. “The dam and lock system comprised one of several infrastructure elements that reversed the flow of Churchill Lake southward.”
The Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation purchased Lock Dam directly from Katahdin Timberlands LLC in September.
The foundation worked with the Lock Dam Preservation Association to secure funding from the Butler Conservation Fund in completing the purchase.
“Over the last 50-years many people and organizations have collaborated in a shared vision for the Waterway,” said McIntosh. “Everyone’s hard work and goodwill have assured that the Waterway, listed among the National Geographic’s America’s 100 Best Adventures, will forever retain its wilderness character and mystique.”
The Allagash Wilderness Waterway stretches from Telos Dam in Penobscot County to the village of Allagash in northern Aroostook County.
In 1970, it became the first state-administered river approved for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic River system as a Wild River Area.
The state of Maine purchased the land along the waterway after voters overwhelmingly approved a $1.5 million bond issue. The bond money, together with matching federal dollars from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, provided the funds necessary for acquiring the restricted zone — land within 400 to 800 feet of both sides of the waterway.
“Thousands of visitors from around the world visit the Waterway each year,” McIntosh said. “We are pleased, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Waterway in 2016, to protect this last out-holding.”