The Story of the Allagash
by Dean Bennett
Maine’s Allagash Wilderness Waterway is a treasure, conserved by Maine people working together. Hear — and see! — the story in three minutes from Allagash expert Dean Bennett. Dean is an award-winning author, longtime University of Maine professor, and an Allagash member of the Natural Resources Council of Maine:
Allagash Wilderness Waterway
The Natural Resources Council of Maine has watchdogged activities in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW) since its creation to ensure its wilderness character is not degraded. Protection of the Allagash River was the issue on which NRCM was founded in 1959. See a timeline of the history of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.
The Waterway is one of Maine's signature natural areas. Following a multi-year campaign led by NRCM, it was created in 1966 by the Maine State Legislature, with a $1.5 million bond issue approved by a large majority of Maine voters, and $1.5 million from the federal government.
Allagash Named Wild and Scenic River
As a result of hard work by Senator Edmund Muskie, on July 17, 1970, the Allagash River was designated a "wild" river area in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. This meant that it would be kept generally inaccessible except by trail. Today, the character of the Waterway continues to be threatened by roads, parking lots, boat launches, and uses that mar the pristine nature of this area's views and peace and quiet.
Allagash Management Plan
In 2011 and 2012, NRCM participated in an advisory group to revise the Allagash Wilderness Waterway’s Management Plan. Our goal in the process was to ensure no further degradation of wilderness character. We also wanted to improve that character wherever there were opportunities. NRCM continues to work hard to fight threats to the area and ensure that the Allagash Wilderness Waterway is managed as a true wilderness area, as the people of Maine intended.
Are You Planning a Trip to the Allagash Waterway?
Let the Natural Resources Council of Maine help!
9 Links to Help You Plan Your Allagash Wilderness Adventure:
- Visit the State of Maine website to find out current conditions and other important information before you head out to experience the Allagash.
- Looking for tips and information as you plan your trip to the Allagash? Visit Backpacker for their "Big Trips Made Easy" piece about the Allagash.
- Map of the Allagash
- Rules about how to use the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (and rules about watercrafts on the Waterway)
- Information about camping costs and campsites along the river. You can also download a map using Google Earth of campsites along the Allagash and throughout Maine's North Woods.
- Find guide services for your trip: North Maine Woods and the Allagash Guide Service.
- Don't know what to pack for your trip? Here's a great list to get you started.
- Get your copy of the "Allagash Explorer" from the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation to help plan your trip.
- Want to hear from others about canoeing the Allagash Waterway before you head out? We encourage you to read this Down East magazine article written on the 50th anniversary of protection of the Allagash, and this National Geographic story about some of the best American adventures.
Banner photo: Allagash River by NRCM member and former executive director Brownie Carson