Discover: Katahdin Region 2021

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A special section of the Bangor Daily News • Friday, February 5, 2021

Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN File


Discover Katahdin • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • February 5, 2021



Nestled in the shadow of Mount Katahdin, just south of Baxter State Park, The Nature Conservancy’s Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area (DLWA) is a vital link in nearly 500,000 acres of contiguous conservation land. This preserve is in the homeland of the Wabanaki People. Debsconeag means “carrying place,” named by the Wabanaki for the portage sites where they carried their birch bark canoes around rapids and waterfalls. We respectfully acknowledge these People of the Dawn–past, present and future–and their sacred connection to these lands and waters. The DLWA contains the highest concentration of pristine, remote ponds in New England, as well as thousands of acres of mature forests. First-come, firstserved primitive campsites dot the crystal-clear lakes and part of the famed 100-Mile Wilderness on the Appalachian Trail winds through the preserve. Other hiking

opportunities include a seven-mile loop trail with views of Mt. Katahdin and Rainbow Lake and a one-mile trail to caves that can be explored. Except for some areas around pre-existing camps, DLWA is managed as an ecological reserve. Ecological reserves are areas set aside for conservation and study of Maine’s ecosystems. They are important to scientists studying how nature responds to challenges such as climate change, forest pests and airborne pollution. DLWA is large enough to withstand storms, diseases and other natural disturbances and to provide secure habitat for wide-ranging species like moose, fisher, bobcat, bear and pine marten. The Nature Conservancy acquired this 46,271-acre preserve in 2002 and simultaneously helped secure a working forest conservation easement on 195,000 acres adjacent to the DLWA and Baxter State Park. Nearby, and also adjacent to Baxter State Park, lies the 3,598-acre Trout Mountain Preserve. The forestland here includes the summit of 1,409-foot Trout Mountain. For

many years, the top of Trout Mountain housed a fire tower that now lays in ruins on the forest floor. In 2020, a refurbished tower was erected on the summit. Standing 80 feet tall, the tower is reached by a 2.7-mile trail and provides visitors with stunning views of Mt. Katahdin and forests and lakes in the region. Climb at your own risk and please use caution. The rugged terrain supports a remarkable variety of forests throughout the preserve, including montane sprucefir forest, northern hardwood forest, hemlock forest and a red pine–white pine forest on the ridge northwest of Twin Ponds that shows signs of past fire. A fire burned a significant portion of the property in 1934, and today you can see extensive paper birch and poplar that filled in the open space. The Nature Conservancy is grateful for the generosity of a private donor who provided funding for ecological preservation and public enjoyment of this special place and welcomes visitors to explore the natural environment. There are no overnight stays at Trout Mountain Preserve.

@ Ian Patterson

Discover Katahdin • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • February 5, 2021



Discover Katahdin • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • February 5, 2021



FROM MILL CLOSURES TO THE PANDEMIC, ECONOMIC STRESSORS HAVE FORCED THE KATAHDIN REGION TO GET CREATIVE IN ITS EFFORTS TO REBUILD AND REDEFINE ITSELF, COMING UP WITH NEW WAYS TO KEEP AND ATTRACT PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES TO THE AREA. However, it’s a slow burn that doesn’t happen overnight. “Industrial redevelopment takes time, but we are encouraged by the progress we’ve made since 2019 when we resolved the back taxes and IRS liens that had been holding us back,” said Sean DeWitt, President of Our Katahdin, the non-profit owner of the former Great Northern Paper Mill in Millinocket. “The rebuilding process is now underway: we’ve reconnected electrical infrastructure, engineering efforts are complete or underway, we’re managing multiple brownfield assessments and cleanup projects, we’ve raised $8 million to pay for the initial infrastructure rollout, and we’re in active conversations

every week with potential tenants whose needs are guiding our infrastructure decisions.” The former paper mill site is being transformed into a multi-use, sustainable industrial and energy park that will be home to a range of wood product manufacturing and offer flexible, small business commercial space, says Lucy Van Hook, Community Development Director of Our Katahdin. To further incentivize business development and support those now working remotely, Our Katahdin is also focused on broadband development. The group is working hard to connect households in the area to quality internet and support business development and “opportunities for entrepreneurism, quality of place improvements, remote worker attraction, telehealth and educational opportunities,” says Van Hook. So far, a lot of progress has been made. East Millinocket, Millinocket and Medway recently completed an engineering study to design a fiber network to connect residents and businesses to high speed internet. RFPs for construction and operation of a network that universally provides fiber to the premises of every household in the tri-town region were scheduled for release on Jan. 15, 2021 by the Katahdin Region Broadband Utility. And according to Our Katahdin, there are active wifi hotspots in Millinocket, East Millinocket and Medway, and a fiber network built out along Penobscot Avenue, Millinocket’s main street. The library has 1G fiber network, and has new wireless routers to ensure access from cars outside the building to be safe and socially distanced without losing access. With all these new developments happening, we can’t forget the Katahdin region is perhaps best known for it’s beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities for the whole family. In fact, Mount Katahdin was just listed as the number two mountain to hike in the world by National Geographic. There are hundreds of miles of well-groomed snowmobile trails to enjoy, as well as ATV-friendly towns and trails connecting to the state ATV trail system. You can hike for hours on hundreds of miles of trails, including dozens in Baxter State Park and Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. During the warmer months, there are dozens of regional lakes and ponds for boating, swimming, camping and fishing. “Golden Road wilderness has access for canoe trips including the start of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, white water rafting on the Penobscot River, kayaking, fly and rod fishing, hunting, bird watching, backcountry camping in public wilderness areas such as The Nature Conservancy’s Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area and several Maine Public Reserved Lands including Nahmakanta, Telos and Seboeis,” says van Hook. And stargazers will enjoy the exceptional views. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was recently designated as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary for the quality of its naturally dark night skies. You can find awe-inspiring views of stars and planets and occasional displays of the aurora borealis, according to the National Park Service. There have been some new additions to the area’s activities as well. Most recently, new biking and snowshoeing trails behind Stearns High School in Millinocket, which are part of a phased build out of trails in town. “Katahdin Area Trails has developed several new, single-track mountain biking trails, new groomed ski trails expanded two years ago, and a large network of trails,” says Van Hook. The Penobscot River Trails offer 25 km of world-class skiing, snowshoeing and biking trails as well as access for kayaking. To round out the all season activities, there is also a new pump track, a circuit track meant to simulate a mountain biking trail, in Patten at the Patten Academy Park. The Katahdin region has to adjust to COVID-19 like the rest of the country, but Van

Discover Katahdin • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • February 5, 2021

Hook says most places have been able to adjust in some way. “Appalachian Trail Cafe adjusted their menu and [now offers] curbside only pick up,” said Van Hook. “Magic City Med Shop was opened during a pandemic, [and] operates in-person with masks. Butterfly Soul Yoga started this spring [offering] classes outside during the summer and fall and is now offering socially distanced, masked yoga class at Pir2Peer Recovery Center,” said Van Hook. This year, Millinocket plans to continue making improvements to its downtown facades, downtown event development, the downtown park, ice skating rink and other public amenities. Fundraising always plays a huge part in the area’s economic future. In 2020, Mobilize Katahdin raised close to $20,000 for direct relief to Katahdin community residents to help with COVID. In addition, Our Katahdin worked with local chamber to distribute $10,000 directly to locally owned businesses. “Our Katahdin partnered with the Katahdin Chamber of Commerce,” said Van Hook. “This was the third round of Community Stimulus gift certificates. Our Katahdin raised $5,000 in match funds to double the value of gift certificates purchased for locally owned businesses.” Gift certificates were sold on Dec. 5, which would typically be marathon weekend in the area. Without the Katahdin Marathon this year, this was a way to help boost local businesses, says Van Hook. For 2021, Our Katahdin’s biggest fundraiser will be

centered around finishing the renovation of its coretail and co-working space at 230 Penobscot Ave., where they are redesigning the interior to be as safe as possible with COVID-19 guidelines, improving accessibility and inclusion for new entrepreneurs, and ensuring that visitors and outdoor recreationists feel welcome in the space. “Renovating the biggest, baddest building on Penobscot Avenue has been a long process and involved many fantastic partners,” said Van Hook. “We are committed to completing the renovation and look forward to opening the doors to a new opportunity hub to serve entrepreneurs and community.” For more information about the Katahdin region, visit the Chamber of Commerce website at or Our Katahdin at

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Discover Katahdin • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • February 5, 2021



Even during this lingering pandemic, the Katahdin Region is here for you. People from all over the world have been practicing social and physical distancing in our forests, trails, rivers, lakes and mountains for over 100 years. The list of opportunities for healthy, outdoor recreation is seemingly endless. We encourage you to visit and experience all there is to do for you and your family!

This season is off to a slow start. Although the limited snowfall has kept snowmobilers off the trails, the crosscountry skiing and snowshoeing trails are in great shape. Here in the Katahdin Region you can access free ski and snowshoe trails at many different locations. Katahdin Area Trails at New England Outdoor Center, Penobscot River Trails in Medway, The Bait Hole Trails, and at both the Northern Timber Cruisers and East Branch SnoRovers club house ski trails just to name a few. Have you ever ridden a studded, fat-tire bike through single track mountain bike trails in the middle of winter? Well, you can here! It’s been said that fat tire biking is the most fun you can have on two wheels. Now imagine having that much fun while taking in breathtaking views of Katahdin. Rentals are available directly through New England Outdoor Center, home of Katahdin Area Trails. You can also access free rentals of snowshoes, skis and bikes from The Gear Library at Millinocket Memorial Library with a valid library card! For the diehard snowmobilers out there, I encourage you to keep a watch on the trail conditions. The local snowmobile clubs here in the Katahdin Region are some of the most dedicated in the business. There is no doubt they will jump into action, prepping and grooming the snowmobile trails as soon as we receive adequate snowfall. Teams of volunteers from Northern Timber Cruisers, Twin Pines, Jo-Mary Riders, East Branch Sno-Rovers, Benedicta Snow Gang and other local clubs in Mattawamkeag, Brownville, Milo and Patten have already been putting countless hours of work in clearing and opening trails in response to a series of harsh rain and wind storms that dropped blown-down trees across trails throughout the region. It’s important to keep in mind and appreciate these volunteer efforts to keep snowmobiling alive here in the Katahdin Region. Please consider contacting any of these clubs to join or donate to their hard work and dedication. Also know that you can order yourself a copy of the 2021 Katahdin

Area Snowmobile Trail Map to be mailed directly to your home or PO BOX, for a simple $5 donation to the Katahdin Chamber of Commerce. The link can be found at and on the KCC’s Facebook page. Many business owners here in the region have been fortunate to receive disaster relief funding through the CARES Act and are using that money wisely to remain open with hope for seeing the other side of this pandemic. We are so incredibly grateful to have dedicated and skilled professionals helping to advise the business community and provide assistance navigating the various programs and applications for COVID relief funding. Michael Elliott of Katahdin Region Economic Development through EMDC has been a crucial source of information and guidance in this process, as well as the local branches of Bangor Savings Bank, Katahdin FCU and EastMill FCU. The Katahdin Chamber of Commerce and our Members owe them a great deal of gratitude. While this funding is keeping our hospitality industry open, the lack of snowmobile and winter recreation traffic is making things increasingly more difficult. As the Director of the Katahdin Chamber of Commerce, I personally encourage and invite you to come explore this majestic, beautiful region of Maine. We are well suited for a safe, covid-friendly, socially distanced family vacation or weekend getaway. Restaurants, lodging, retail, gear rental, trails, whatever it is you need, KCC Member businesses have you covered. Adventure awaits. Plan your trip today at!

Peter Jamieson Director, Katahdin Chamber of Commerce

Discover Katahdin • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • February 5, 2021



Discover Katahdin • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • February 5, 2021 Penobscot River Trails System

Riverside Trail

Silver Maple Trail

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Kayak Launch 1

East Branch of the Penobscot River


Kayak Launch 2 and Trails’ End

SCALE: 1” = 400’

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Vault Toilet Tote Road

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Long Logan Loop Detail

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Link 1

Link 2

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1 km is equal to 0.6214 mile

Long Logan Loop: 1.85 km To beginning of Riverside Trail: 3.15 km To Pines and Ridges Warming Hut and Link 2: 6 km To Link 3: 9.35 km To Link 4: 11.5 km To Trails’ End: 14 km To Long Meadow Warming Hut: 14.7 km From Long Meadow Warming Hut to Visitor Center via Tote Road: 11 km

Link 3 Link 4

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To Forestry Road GRAPHIC SCALE 0 400



SCALE: 1/4” = 400’


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Discover Katahdin • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • February 5, 2021




Artwork on display at the Millinocket Library. Photo courtesy of Samantha Cote

A flag decorates a lamppost in downtown Millinocket. Photo by Linda Coan O’Kresik | BDN File

Ktaadn Arts has grown significantly since their early beginnings in 2019. The organization had to regroup quickly after realizing that their initial plans would require too great a deal of time, money and manpower to open their doors. The group bounced back, finding a space in the basement of DesignLab in downtown Millinocket. Ktaadn Arts mission is to serve as a regional resource for artistic support and creative engagement, and members truly believe in that goal, explained leaders Samantha Cote and Kimberley Lyons. Their vision is to be part of creating more vibrant and healthy communities in the Katahdin region. Since opening, they’ve hosted Paint and Sip sessions, along with art classes for children and weekly “Open Studio” sessions for folks to utilize the space, materials and creative connections to boost creative engagement, explained Cote and Lyons. Attendance has grown and even held steady during the summer and fall with outdoor sessions for social distancing.

Ktaadn Arts mission is to serve as a regional resource for artistic support and creative engagement, and members truly believe in that goal, explained leaders Samantha Cote and Kimberley Lyons. The community responded warmly to their opening. Along with moral support, locals have been donating art supplies to help the organization. Ktaadn Arts was offered the opportunity to put an exhibit at the open house for a newly relocated business, Omega Benefit Strategies, which gave them some additional exposure, said Cote and Lyons. They’ve also joined the Katahdin Chamber of Commerce to further expand and build meaningful connections and partnerships in the communities, and to support arts of all kinds in the Katahdin region. Ktaadn Arts began first by doing a monthly free arts and craft project at the Millinocket Memorial Library. The folks at the library were extremely supportive, said Cote and Lyons, and they have continued to work together, including a revolving art exhibit in the newly renovated library. Cote and Lyons believe that creativity can change the world, but more importantly, creativity can change communities. Given the response of the Katahdin region, they believe the communities also understand the great importance of art. COVID-19 created a slight setback with the organization’s expansion efforts, but the group continues to work through the challenges, finding a way to abide by CDC guidelines, keep everyone safe and healthy, and still be able to open. Cote and Lyons have discussed having Open Studio hours twice a week, as well as being open every other Saturday for folks to come in, look around and be part of Ktaadn Arts. The organization continues to look toward the future with possibilities for expansion and growth. Cote and Lyons say they have always wanted to share their passion as artists, makers and creatives, through exhibits, classes, events and sharing their gifts with others. They see one of their bigger goals as building their membership and welcoming more artists to tag along and join their mission. Ktaadn Arts hopes to be able to provide scholarship programs for students in the Katahdin region in an effort to give back to the community. Anyone who is interested in joining Ktaadn Arts or wishes to learn more about the growing organization can check out their newly developed website at or contact Samantha Cote and Kimberley Lyons at for more information.


Discover Katahdin • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • February 5, 2021



The Katahdin Region is known for its nature-fueled economy. Attractions blanket the area for outdoorsmen. The sights alone on the roads leading to the area can be breathtaking, especially when a view of the snow-capped Katahdin pokes through the trees. The majestic structure of the mountain is enough to take your breath away. But the mountain isn’t the only adventure available in the area. There are lots of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy.

MUSEUMS There are a few different options to learn about the history of the Katahdin area. The local snowmobile club, Northern Timber Cruisers, hosts a snowmobile museum full of old sleds that tell stories of a generation past. The museum boasts over 30 antique sleds, each with their own story. One of the highlights is the bombardier used by Great Northern Paper in the first half of the twentieth century. And don’t miss the Millinocket Historical Society located off Central Street in Millinocket. Founded in the late 1970s, the group seeks to preserve the history of the area by

maintaining mementos from years past for present and future generations to observe. If you’re interested in the logging history of Maine, look no further than the Patten Lumbermen’s Museum. Here you can learn all about Maine’s once largest industry. Patrons can be educated on everything from the river drivers to life in remote logging cabins.

FLY OVER The Katahdin Air Service has been a functional plane service based on Ambejejus Lake for the last 60 years. The service offers a variety of packages including various timed scenic flights of the area that will no doubt provide astonishing views of the Maine woods. You can even use the service to fly out to a remote camping spot. If you’re unfamiliar with the area and wish to pursue this option, consider hiring a Maine guide to assist you with your adventure. One stand-out adventure offered by Katahdin Air includes a three-hour flight to a remote outdoor sports camp for dinner, followed by a flight home just as the sun starts to descend for the day. Take note fellas, this is an excellent idea for that special anniversary coming up.

Mount Katahdin on a mostly sunny day seen from Abol Bridge near Millinocket where the clouds are reflected in the West Branch of the Penobscot River. Photo by Linda Coan O’Kresik | BDN File

TRAILS The area is packed with trails for any sort of outdoor excursion you want to pursue. This time of year, there are well-groomed trails for a comfortable ride on a snowmobile or a leisurely trek on snowshoes or cross-country skiing. The Interconnected Trail System runs directly through Millinocket for easy access at all times of the year. The area is a central hub for outdoor motorsports, no matter if you’re searching for snow, mud or dry land. If snowmobiling is your goal, seek out one of the local snowmobile clubs for further information on some excellent day trips and fantastic scenic views. The clubs include the Jo-Mary Riders, who maintain over 100 miles of trails for the community, and the Northern Timber Cruisers and the East Branch Sno-Rovers. If you’re seeking to hit the trails on foot (or skis), check out some of the excellent foot trails including the Bait Hole Trails located off of the Brownville Road. The Bait Hole Trails can be accessed in all seasons and offer treks of various lengths. Hillcrest Golf Club in Millinocket also allows skiing and snowshoeing on the course during the winter months.

Discover Katahdin • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • February 5, 2021


THE KATAHDIN REGION EXTREME SPORTS It’s well known that the Maine woods offer some of the most beautiful scenic views of wooded land in the country. Why not take in those views from the air? Or better yet while you plummet towards the earth after willingly jumping from an airplane at 11,000 feet in the air? Skydiving is a tucked away gem of an attraction for the Katahdin region. There are several companies in the area that are willing to take you up, up and away. Three Rivers is located on the Rice Farm Road just outside of Millinocket along the Penobscot River. Here, you’ll be able to live out your dream of jumping out of an inflight airplane. The company offers an interesting package where following your jump, you’ll take to the waters for a rafting expedition. The package dubbed “Jump & Raft” offers the best of both extremes the area offers. The Penobscot River is a perfect setting for whitewater rafting. The river provides different levels of experience for rafting including Class V rapids which are not for the novice. These local rapids can be challenging at times, but you’ll surely enjoy the experience. If you’ve never gone before but are

considering the adventure, it’s been said that after your first time you’ll be hooked for life.

GOLDEN ROAD The Golden Road is a landmark for Maine’s logging industry. The road curves through the heart of Maine westward into Canada. The autumn season brings bright, colorful foliage that can be viewed from this historic road. The road itself is a 96-mile mostly dirt roadway built by Great Northern Paper. It follows the West Branch of the Penobscot River and is home to lots of wildlife not often seen in the more populated areas of Maine. If you’re looking for a moose or bear, the Golden Road may provide that opportunity. The Golden Road provides some breathtaking scenic views of the backwoods of Maine as it wraps the countryside. You’ll pass some of Maine’s finest waterways, including Moosehead Lake. Stop for a look around at Indian Hill Trading Post in Greenville. If you’re a fisherman, there will be plenty of opportunity on the road to try your luck for some “brookies.”

FOOD AND SHOPPING The Katahdin area is peppered with restaurants and

shops for locals and out-of-staters to enjoy. There are several trading posts in the greater Katahdin area for all of your outdoor-related needs, or maybe just a T-shirt with the outline of Ktaadn pictured on the front. Whatever you may want or need, the trading posts have you covered, especially those last-minute camping essentials. In addition, there are regular stores featuring locally made items, including paintings, clothing and décor. These stores include the Moose Drop In, Lavish & Mint, Gracie’s Aunt’s Emporium, and more. The restaurants in the area offer the best comfort food around to take you back to your grandmother’s kitchen table. The Scootic In has excellent fried seafood, while the Sawmill Bar & Grill provides a unique take on some of your favorite sandwiches. The River Drivers Restaurant features fine dining with a frequently changing menu and an amazing dining view of Millinocket Lake. If you’re looking to try a different style of cuisine, check out the AT Café for some authentic Mexican food. Be sure to check the hours of business for each location as it may change from season to season.

Rafters experience Class V rapids on the Penobscot River. Photo courtesy of Penobscot Adventures


Discover Katahdin • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • February 5, 2021



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