Guest column: July 23 celebration to mark Allagash Wilderness Waterway’s 50th

CHURCHILL DAM, Maine – In my 40 years of working in the North Maine Woods, I have never seen a Lombard Log Hauler actually run or ridden in a bateau. On July 23, 2016 that is going to change.

A cow moose and her calf near Churchill Dam on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Photo courtesy of Kevin Brown. (Contributed)

A cow moose and her calf near Churchill Dam on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Photo courtesy of Kevin Brown. (Contributed)

As part of the festivities commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW) we will be hosting a celebration event at Churchill Dam, in the heart of the waterway.

When we started planning the 50th anniversary of the waterway, it became obvious that people wanted to come to Churchill Dam. Churchill Depot, once the hub of logging activities on the headwaters of the Allagash, is now the hub of recreational activities in the waterway.

On July 23rd, we have an exciting day planned. The featured morning activities will be running Chase Rapids and bateau rides on Heron Lake. Two outfitters will be on site with canoes to rent and provide shuttle service back to the dam from the takeout location at Bissonette Bridge. Waterway staff will be providing tours of the boarding house and History Center throughout the day.

The Maine Forest Service will have a fire truck demonstration, helicopter water dropping demonstration, and bring Smokey Bear.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will be describing the fishway and fish trap in the dam, and how they work.

Jason Bouchard, from Chandler Lake Camps will provide ongoing fly fishing lessons throughout the day.

Amanda Barker and her husband Bob Sawyer have volunteered to make bean hole beans. These will be served with hot dogs, coleslaw, potato salad, and biscuits. This delectable fare will be supplemented with the goodies cooked at the open fire baking contest and homemade ice cream.

The day will close with a flag ceremony provided by Boy Scout Troop 184 from Caribou, and music by Larry Hall and the Just Folk Singers of Ashland.

The field next to the ranger station will be open to camping for the event. There are AWW campsites available across the river from the ranger station and water access campsites available at the Jaws, about two miles up the lake from Churchill. See www.mainesportingcamps.com for camps available to rent in the area and www.northmainewoods.org for North Maine Woods campsites near Churchill Dam.

The celebration event at Churchill Dam is open to the public at no cost. The event is sponsored by the following businesses and organizations: Allagash Brewing Company, Irving Woodlands, Clayton Lake Woodlands Holdings, Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation, Landvest, and Friends of Maine State Parks.

The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is managed by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Bureau of Parks and Lands.

For general information on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, go to: www.maine.gov/allagash for an information packet call 207-941-4014; or write to the Bureau of Parks and Lands, 106 Hogan Road, Bangor, ME 04401.

Matthew LaRoche

Superintendent of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway

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