Scouts watch man tumble over Allagash Falls

11 July 2012

ALLAGASH – Fort Kent paramedics brought a man out of the woods after he went over the Allagash Falls while demonstrating an activity for a group of Boy Scouts in an accident that occurred on Wednesday afternoon in northern Maine.


Allagash Falls - image courtesy of the Maine Department of Conservation

Katahdin Area Council Scout Executive Marshall Steinmann confirmed on Thursday afternoon that an accident occurred in front of a group of Boy Scouts on a day trip to the Allagash Falls area.

Steinmann said in an email statement, “During a week long trek at the Maine High Adventure Base, a facility within the Katahdin Area Council, a group of scouts guided by a staff member prepared for an activity which involved floating down the river with life jackets and helmets. However, the staff member chose to demonstrate the proper technique in an unsanctioned area near Allagash Falls instead of the sanctioned area below the falls. During the demonstration, the staff member was injured.”

Details are still scarce at this time, but according to the Fort Kent police log book, the dispatcher received a call for an ambulance to head up to Allagash at 2:59 p.m. on July 11. 

Steinmann said a volunteer leader trained in wilderness first aid immediately responded after the accident and the leader remained with the injured man until paramedics arrived.

At about 4 p.m., paramedics brought the unidentified man out of the woods.

He apparently had sustained injuries to his head. 

The man, though on a stretcher, appeared coherent and was talking to people as the emergency personnel loaded him into an ambulance.

The man sustained some minor injuries. The ambulance transported him to Northern Maine Medical Center where doctors treated the man and then released him.

The Katahdin Area Council is still looking into the incident, but Steinmann said no scouts were involved.

The scouts returned to the Matagamon High Adventure Camp near Patton, Maine. 

Scouting officials are still looking into the incident. The organization has not released the name of the man who went over the falls, but said they have terminated his employment due to “a violation of our safety policy,” said Steinmann.

He added, “The health and safety of our youth and adult members is of paramount importance to the Boy Scouts of America. Scouting provides its members and volunteers with extensive guidelines and policies as well as training opportunities for the safety of its members in scouting activities and programs.”

Phone contact with the Matagamon Camp is infrequent and there is no cell coverage in the area. A recorded response at the contact number says that leaders will return calls in the evening.

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The High Adventure programs of the Boy Scouts of America are popular activities that often take place in remote areas, such as the Philmont Scout Ranch in the mountains of New Mexico, Boundary Waters Canoe Base in northern Minnesota, and the Matagamon Camp in Maine.

It is a common activity to take a trip from Matagamon north to the Allagash Falls.

The Allagash Falls are near the northern end of the Allagash River, just south of the town of Allagash. According to the description from the Maine Department of Conservation’s website, “…after many days on the river, canoe travelers are confronted with the awesome obstacle of Allagash Falls, announced by a persistent low rumble that seems somehow out of place while paddling among the meandering islands that make up the reach just above the falls. The once complacent river becomes a roaring torrent of white that plunges 30 feet into a series of pools.” 


Did they have to fire the guy?

Did they have to fire the guy? I think going over the falls and needing to go to the hospital is punishment enough. What will they do next? Fire someone for breaking a pencil tip?

It sounds good to say, "We fired the person who made a mistake." Ultimately it is society that has to pay for the ex-employee's unemployment, welfare, ACAP, Food Stamps, etc.

Joseph Normand Grinnell

this is a post my father put

this is a post my father put on my face book page.. Stupidity does not cut it ; this guy has tramatized all these scouts for the rest of thier lives . I have seen these falls at there worst and best and this man is lucky . As a guide and a scouting merit badge councilor this was about as stupid as it gets . It would be a long time before he would work with young people again .