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SPORTING CAMPS

THE NIGHT SKY

HIKING KATAHDIN WOODS & WATERS

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Maine A DVE NT URE S Katahdin & YOUR GUI DE TO

WOODS

W ATE R S

BEAR S in Maine

THE SHY & R E C LU S I V E B L AC K B E A R

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION OF THE BANGOR DAILY NEWS

2019


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• Outdoors in Maine • SPRING 2019


in Maine Publisher RICHARD J. WARREN Senior Editor, Special Sections MATT CHABE Special Sections Manager TODD McLEOD Advertising Sales JEFF ORCUTT jorcutt@bangordailynews.com Creative Services Manager CORALIE CROSS Creative Services AMY ALLEN, MARCIE COOMBS, BEN CYR, CALLIE PICARD, CAROLINA RAVE Cover Image ©Joshua Resnick/Adobe Stock To advertise in our next special section, please call 990-8134 or email advertising@bangordailynews.com.

PHOTO: (CONTENTS BACKGROUND) AISLINN SARNACKI / BDN FILE

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Contents OUTDOORS

in Maine

02 TOP 5 MAINE ADVENTURES Looking for excitement? We’ve got you covered with these Maine excursions

10 BEARS IN MAINE Far from fearsome, Maine’s iconic creature is reclusive and shy

38 MAINE’S NIGHT SKY Some of Maine’s beauty lay in the stars

Guide to KATAHDIN WOODS & WATERS 18 OVERSEEING A NATIONAL MONUMENT An interview with Katahdin Woods & Waters superintendent Tim Hudson

22 RECREATION MAP 24 COMING SOON New trails opening in 2019 in KWW

28 A DOG-FRIENDLY HIKE Experience the Barnard Mountain hike

Maine SPORTING CAMPS 34 GET AWAY FROM IT ALL Tips for planning your next Maine woods sporting camp adventure We bring Maine

together www.bangordailynews.com • BANGOR DAILY NEWS

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in Maine

LOOKING FOR EXCITEMENT? CHECK OUT THESE

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Maine A DVE NT URE S BY JOSH DEAKIN

THERE’S NO SHORTAGE of adventures to be had in Maine. After all, it’s the most forested state in the U.S., and it’s full of rugged mountains, raging rivers, and more. There’s bound to be something to satisfy nearly everyone’s thirst for fun. Here’s our pick for the top five adventures to be had in Maine.

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1 KATAHDIN MOUNTAINEERING Katahdin is one of the hottest attractions in northern Maine in the summer months. What some might not know is that the mountain is available to summit in the off-season, as well. Snow and ice can persist on Katahdin well into June. It’s well-regarded as a challenging experience. Before the winter snow turns to spring slush, hikers are forced to snowshoe or cross country ski into the base, with some even opting to camp out in the frigid temperatures. Awareness and time management are key to a successfully summit. There are various groups that will help guide you on your quest to the top. If you’ve ever made it to the top in the warmer months, the more difficult ascent in the off season makes the views just that much more rewarding.

A snowy Katahdin in the off season. PHOTO BY VICTORIA CAMPBELL

(Top) The view from the Abol Trail during a winter climb. BDN PHOTO BY GABOR DEGRE

(Below) The view from Knife Edge is spectacular any time of year. BDN PHOTO BY DEREK RUNNELLS


in Maine

2 HUNDRED-MILE WILDERNESS The Hundred-Mile Wilderness is located just outside of Katahdin at Abol Bridge and stretches to Monson. It’s considered one of the most challenging sections of the Appalachian Trail. Many have given up after just a few miles of trekking. The land varies and can be difficult to navigate. At the opening, signs are posted warning potential hikers of dangers that lie ahead. The signs boast that the stretch is “the longest wilderness section of the entire [Appalachian Trail]”. Unlike the rest of the trail, there isn’t a facility nearby for supplies for one hundred miles. It’s quite the feat for even the most experienced of hikers and should not be taken lightly. Plan well and carefully for this stretch of land.

(Top) A caution sign reiterates the preparation needed to hike the Hundred-Mile Wilderness. (Right) Water flows down Hurd Brook in the Hundred-Mile Wilderness, the first area with a lean-to when entering from the Golden Road. BDN FILE PHOTOS

(Below) The entrance to the Hundred-Mile Wilderness. PHOTO BY COLBY CRONIN

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ACADIA MOUNTAIN GUIDES PROVIDES

High Adventure for All COURTESY ACADIA MOUNTAIN GUIDES

WHAT ARE YOUR KIDS doing this summer? Are they exploring the outdoors while learning valuable teamwork and leaderships skills? Are they hiking, canoeing, kayaking, exploring challenging ropes courses, rappelling, or climbing some of the country's best sea cliffs? Are they learning knots, first aid, or how to use a compass and map? Are they learning advanced rock climbing techniques such as belaying, setting anchors, or even how to lead climb? If the answer is "no" to any of these, you need to check out Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School's full lineup of summer camps. Offering camps for kids from 6 to 18, Acadia Mountain Guides facilitates all of the above activities and more. For younger kids, the Mountain Monkey Day Camp lets your children have fun and adventure outside under the guidance of safe and qualified leaders. From paddling Mount Desert Island's pristine ponds and hiking to tide pooling and rock climbing right over the ocean, this camp gives younger explorers all that the great state of Maine has to offer.

Children also learn first aid skills, knots, and how to build a fire and set up a camp. If your child is a little older and ready for a bit more of a challenge, check out the Young Explorer summer camps. In both overnight and day camp options, the Young Explorers program gives children 9–12 the ability to challenge themselves on ropes courses, learn how to use a map and compass, and practice rock climbing. Young Explorers learn fire building and first aid. They learn important water safety and paddling skills. If your child is ready to focus on rock climbing, the Young Explorers program also offers climbingspecific camp sessions where participants hone their climbing techniques. Looking for a program for your older teen? Try Acadia Mountain Guides' MultiSport Adventure Camps or their RockPro series. For youth ages 13–18, the MultiSport Adventure camps provides a variety of paddling, hiking, and climbing combinations. The Multi-Sport Camp activities focus on what you want with either the Mountain and Sea High Adventure Camp, the Mountain

and Rivers High Adventure Camp, or the Paddle and Climb High Adventure Camp. And if your teen wants to focus on climbing, the RockPro series is the perfect camp. Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School is the only climbing school in Maine to be accredited by both the American Mountain Guides Association and the Professional Climbing Instructors Association (PCIA). Each of their guides is certified by the PCIA or AMGA and is a certified Wilderness First Responder. Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School is Maine’s only year-round guiding service. It is owned by internationally-licensed guide Jon Tierney who has been guiding since 1984. Jon has reached the highest level of guide certification internationally and has personally trained many of Maine’s rock climbing instructors and outdoor leaders. Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School provides safe ways for your children to explore the outside. For more information, visit AcadiaMountainGuides.com and ClimbAcadia.org or call 207-866-7562.


in Maine

3 CANOE THE ALLAGASH It’s a canoe trip that takes a remarkable seven to 10 days to complete. The longest stretch starts at Telos Lake and embarks on a trip north to the town of Allagash. The trek is 98 miles long, winding through various lakes along the river itself. Guides are available to help make the planning a little less daunting, but make no mistake: this is not an easy voyage. Class 2 rapids can be found along the route, though they can be bypassed with a small fee and a ranger will help transport you and your belongings around the rough waters. Canoeing the Allagash, while challenging, will surely provide you with some extraordinary views as well as many memories and stories to take home with you to cherish.

(Top) Along the Allagash River. PHOTO BY JENNIFER NORMAN

(This photo) Taking a paddle down the Allagash. BDN FILE PHOTO

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Skydiving in Maine. PHOTO BY PATSY HOUSTON

4 SKYDIVE NEW ENGLAND Ever wanted to fall face first towards the Earth at upwards of 120 miles per hour? Want no more, with skydiving located right here in our home state. Skydive New England is located in Lebanon in southern Maine and they can make your dreams come true. There are various training programs you can engage in to ensure you have the best possible experience as you plummet to the ground. With the amazing landscape of Maine’s coast as well as a mountain view during your jump, you’re bound to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.


in Maine

5 WHITEWATER RAFTING Whitewater rafting in Maine has become a staple for many in the warmer summer months. Rapids can vary from mellow Class I’s all the way to extreme Class V’s which are recommended for seasoned veterans only. Your rafting adventure can vary based on both the class of rapids as well as your vessel of choice. If you’re looking for a whitewater rafting experience, seek out one of the many companies dedicated to providing you with the optimum experience of a lifetime. If you’re looking for a thrill and not afraid of getting a little wet, whitewater rafting is right up your alley.

Whitewater rafting in Maine. PHOTO COURTESY MAINE RAFTING EXPEDITIONS

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(This photo) Northern Outdoors guide Suzie Hockmeyer (right) navigates the waters of the Kennebec River during a trip in The Forks. (Below) Guides inflate portable kayaks in The Forks. BDN FILE PHOTOS

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in Maine

in Maine FAR FROM FEARSOME, MAINE’S ICONIC CREATURE IS RECLUSIVE AND SHY BY RYAN ROBBINS

(Left) A black bear cub along Tripp Road in Rolland F. Perry City Forest. (This photo) A mother black bear waits out an unexpected visitor near the Orono Bog boardwalk at Rolland F. Perry City Forest. PHOTOS BY RYAN ROBBINS

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(Below) Biologist Randy Cross with two bear cubs during a den visit in Edinburg. GABOR DEGRE | BDN

(Right) A male black bear at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray. PHOTO BY RYAN ROBBINS

THERE IS PROBABLY NO OTHER ANIMAL in the Maine woods more misunderstood or more feared than the black bear. Dubbed the “black ghost of the Maine woods” by some, the black bear is rarely seen for more than a few seconds at a time as it moves about forest trails quietly while spending up to 22 hours a day foraging for food. Most people who spend time in the woods hiking and biking tend to think of the black bear as a large, scary animal with only one thing on its mind: eating anything it can find, including people. In reality, even the largest male bears weigh only 200 to 300 pounds while females weigh 150 to 200 pounds. The truth is, the black bear is painfully shy and anything but prone to attacking humans who get in its way. “Bear attacks are much more common in areas where they’re not hunted, or where they have not very much contact with people at all,” said Randy Cross, the Maine Inland Department of Fisheries and Wildlife’s field bear biologist. This past winter was Cross’s 37th visiting bear dens as part of the department’s annual bear census. Maine’s black bear population has been rising steadily in the last few decades. Only 10 years ago it was an estimated 30,000. The latest estimate is 36,000, the most of any state east of the Mississippi River and, depending on the latest population estimates from around the country, more than any state in the 48 contiguous states. By comparison, Alaska has more than 100,000. Maine’s bear population is mostly found west and north of I-95, with heavy concentrations in eastern Aroostook County, the greater Bangor area south to Ellsworth, and an area in southwestern Maine near the New Hampshire state line. From the time bears emerge from their dens in April until they den for the winter in late-October to mid-November, they spend most of their time looking for food. And although bears are classified as carnivores, 90 percent of their diet consists of vegetation.

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in Maine

A Maine black bear in autumn. PHOTO PROVIDED BY MOOSE PRINTS GALLERY

Cross believes that spring is the best time of the year to catch a glimpse of a bear. That’s because when they emerge from their dens, they need to bulk back up after spending most of their fat reserves during hibernation. Because most natural foods rich in fat aren’t available until summer, bears will climb trees to eat emerging buds and forage along roadsides, where the earliest vegetation grows. And with vegetation as a whole not in full bloom, visibility in the woods is greatest. Jennifer Vashon, the state’s lead black bear biologist, concurs. “Spring is a good time, particularly in wetland areas, where they’re going to be coming looking for fresh emerging vegetation,” Vashon said. “But it could be anytime of year. I would say up north in the spring. So typically you’re going to see them more when you’re driving the roads.” To tell whether you’re in bear country, there are several signs you can look for when hiking or biking. Perhaps the easiest evidence of bears you can find are torn apart tree stumps and logs. Bears paw at them to get inside at insect larvae. A bear’s diet will switch from buds and wetland vegetation, such as skunk cabbage, over to 12

• Outdoors in Maine • SPRING 2019

insect larvae in early summer. In fact, it’s from eating ants and grubs that bears get most of their protein. Overturned or moved rocks and boulders are further evidence of a bear foraging for larvae. As summer progresses and berries ripen, bears switch their diet over to those. In the fall, they turn to beechnuts, hazelnuts and acorns, sometimes climbing trees to reach them instead of foraging for them on the ground. Of course, scat is another sure sign of a bear’s presence. Bear scat may be mostly wet vegetation in the spring, resembling a cow patty; more solid and tubular in the early summer with a mixture of vegetation and insects; and full of berries in the latesummer and early fall. Despite their weight, bears rarely leave tracks, unless they walk through soft dirt or mud. The hind footprint is distinct and similar to that of a human’s, with five toes and a pronounced heel. A strong sense of smell and welldeveloped intelligence are tools bears use to find food and to avoid humans. Bears probably find insect larvae through a combination of smell and learning from their mother when they were a cub,

according to Vashon. A black bear’s sense of smell is unlike any other animal’s, including domestic dogs and other canids. “They are perhaps the champions when it comes to wildlife’s ability to smell,” Cross said. “They’re definitely right up there. I think, if conditions are right, they could probably smell somebody three-quarters of a mile away.” Bears use their phenomenal sense of smell and intelligence to avoid humans, especially in heavily used recreational areas, such as Bangor’s Rolland F. Perry City Forest. The City Forest has one of the most dense concentrations of bears in the whole state, with an estimated dozen bears having territory that overlaps with the 686-acre park and adjacent Bangor Land Trust preserves, which cover another 600 acres. The typical home range for a male is about 12 square miles while the range for a female is 6 square miles. “To me, that’s one of the denser populations and one of the higher interactions with hikers and bikers that bears would have,” Cross said. “That gets a lot of use. And it’s a great place for bears. It’s probably one of the better places where


you might send somebody that was hoping to get a glimpse of a bear, or a picture.” Nevertheless, sightings in the City Forest area are still relatively rare. And what sightings there are are brief. But even if you don’t see a bear, that doesn’t mean a bear hasn’t seen you. A typical encounter with a bear is from a distance and lasts only a second or two. “I would say that’s what’s most typical is that somebody sees a bear for a very short duration, then they turn to their friend and they say, ‘Was that a bear?’” Cross said. “Most encounters are extremely brief, because the bears are pretty good at figuring out there’s someone there.” Even in areas such as City Forest, bears are out and about at all hours of the day, Cross said, foraging. When bears smell or hear a human approaching, they will either flee or hide until it’s safe to come back out. “Most of the Maine woods, 40-50 yards is beyond what you can see,” Cross said. “Most of the Maine woods are just that thick in the underbrush and everything. There are places in Maine where you can see a couple hundred yards in the woods, but not many. Not where our bears live. Most of the time it just takes a very short distance to be hidden.” If a bear senses an approaching human at a rich food source, it will often simply step back into the brush or behind a tree and wait until the coast is clear to resume eating. “They do that more than people know,” Cross said. Bears are quick learners, particularly when food is a motivator. In fact, with food as a motivator, they can learn tasks faster than a chimpanzee. They have quickly learned how to unscrew jar lids, open doors to houses and vehicles, and even how to “mug” hikers for food, which they did in Yosemite National Park in the late-1970s. In the muggings, they learned that if they simply came out of the brush to intercept hikers the hikers would drop their backpacks of food and flee. When park rangers embarked on a campaign to deter bears from begging for food, via noisemakers and rubber bullets, the bears then learned to distinguish between a ranger and a civilian, most likely on whether the person was wearing a uniform or driving a specific vehicle. Neither Cross or Vashon are aware of any bears in Maine engaging in such behavior. It’s such rudimentary knowledge of humans that has kept bears out of trouble, by and large. www.bangordailynews.com • BANGOR DAILY NEWS

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in Maine

“Say there was a food source along the trail and a bear wants access to that food, but they get disturbed every time somebody comes by,” Vashon said. “So they can learn to come when there aren’t people there.” Contrary to belief, bears do not prefer human food over natural food once they get a taste of human food. Whether a bear will risk exposing itself to humans to get at human food depends largely on whether natural foods are available. In years when beechnuts and acorns are plentiful, bears will mostly stay away from bait piles left by hunters, waiting until night, if at all, to take the risk. Less than a quarter of hunters who use bait succeed in getting a bear. Even if you see signs that bears are in the area, there’s little to be worried about. Attacks on humans are rare, and there is no record of a bear killing anyone in Maine, according to Cross. Most attacks aren’t

attacks at all but a simple misunderstanding. In some situations, bears that encounter humans may engage in what biologists call a bluff-charge. Bears that have found a rich food source and don’t want to leave or young mother bears with cubs may resort to running toward an uninvited human. When a bear charges a human, it does not intend to attack or even touch that person, according to bear experts. A bluffcharge entails the bear huffing and blowing, slapping the ground, and running toward the person before veering off to the side and perhaps circling. It’s the animal’s way of telling a person that they are too close for comfort and to stay back. “What it’s intended to do is make you think that the bear is up to no good,” Cross said. “The bear is trying to give that message that it’s going to hurt you if you keep coming closer. In reality, it’s not going

to hurt you probably. Bluff-charges tend to never end badly. If it really was going to engage physically with you, it would do it in a much more discreet manner. If it’s really coming to tackle you, it’s a slow, deliberate, and usually prolonged pursuit that it’s just like a nightmare. It doesn’t have all the show.” Bear expert Stephen Herrero, in his book “Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance,” essentially said that if a black bear attacks, it most likely wants to eat you. Perhaps that’s small comfort. On the other hand, the best course of action is to fight back. Vashon is quick to note that although bears can inflict a lot of damage on a person with a mere slap, attacks are extremely rare. “We have a lot of bears in the state, but it’s safe to go out and enjoy the woods,” she said. “The best thing you can do is be prepared.”

FACTS ABOUT BLACK BEARS BY RYAN ROBBINS • Black bears can also be brown and even cinnamon in color. often den under fallen trees, in culverts, along dirt or gravel ridges, and even in large trees, in rare instances.

accommodate her daughters when they head out on their own. Male bears will not share the range; they will travel as many as 100 miles to find a new home. They do not share a range with other males.

• When a bear stands on its hind legs, it is not showing

• Bears don’t hibernate because it’s cold. They hibernate

• Bears will den almost anywhere. In Maine, they most

aggression. It is trying to see and smell better.

• A bear can run up to 30 mph for short distances. They are also good swimmers and excellent climbers.

• Bears often find their way home even when they are relocated while unconscious more than 50 miles from their home and over a mountain range. Biologists don’t know how they know where home is.

• Female black bears give birth to cubs every other year, always in January or February, beginning at about 5 years old. Mating season is in late-May until early July. Fertilized eggs don’t implant in the uterus until fall.

• Cubs remain with their mother for 18 months.

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• The mother bear will adjust her home range to

• Outdoors in Maine • SPRING 2019

when natural foods are either gone or covered by snow.

• A hibernating black bear does not eat, drink, urinate, or defecate. It can, however, sense danger and wake up quickly enough to flee its den.

• A black bear loses 15-30 percent of its weight while hibernating. A lactating mother will lose up to 40 percent of her weight.


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significant shore frontage for exploring. Not into kayaking or paddling? No worries, the lodge is an exceptional place to relax, explore, and catch up with new and old acquaintances. Looking to reach new heights? Climb Maine’s highest peak through our three-day Katahdin and Chimney Pond Backpacking Trip. With both co-ed and women’s-only options, this offering provides rewarding hiking, spectacular views, and the comfort of a bunkhouse at night. For those seeking instruction, Maine Sport also offers Wilderness Medicine, Leave No Trace, Maine Guide, and entry level paddling courses. Not interested in a guided trip? No problem. Maine Sport offers a variety of equipment for rent including kayaks, canoes, stand up paddle boards, bicycles, and camping gear. We deliver regionally! Visit mainesport.com for more information including contact info and registration.


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PHOTO: (OPPOSITE PAGE) PROVIDED BY MOOSE PRINTS GALLERY


Guide to the

Katahdin WOODS AND WATERS NATIONAL MONUMENT

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION OF THE BANGOR DAILY NEWS

2019

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Katahdin WOODS & WATERS

Overseeing

A NATIONAL MONUMENT AN INTERVIEW WITH TIM HUDSON, KATAHDIN WOODS AND WATERS NATIONAL MONUMENT SUPERINTENDENT. BY MATT CHABE

t takes a lot to run a national monument. Tim Hudson’s been the superintendent of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument since it was designated. In this position, he’s responsible for overseeing the monument’s administration, upkeep, and public outreach. We recently had an opportunity to sit down with Hudson to ask him about his background and what makes the monument so special.

HOW’D YOU FALL INTO THIS JOB? When the monument started to develop, [the NPS] asked if I could...take over and help them out because it was a type of park area that I’d worked at for many years. I was happy to be able to live at home and get back to areas where things are a lot more rustic and rural.

WHAT’S YOUR BACKGROUND? I’m a civil engineer. My technical background is in water, sewer and garbage. I spent a long time in construction management. I started with the National Park Service in 1967. I spent most of my time in large parks out west—I was at Yellowstone for 31 years. I was the associate regional director for operations in Alaska. We moved to Bangor in 2009 to potentially retire, and a job came up in 2013 in the New York City area. I said I’d only take it if I could commute from Bangor to Staten Island, so that’s what I did for three years until I was formally transferred to Maine.

KATAHDIN WOODS AND WATE RS NATIONAL MONUMENT SUPERINTENDEN T TIM HUDSON. Photo Courtesy of NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

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PHOTO: PROVIDED BY MOOSE PRINTS GALLERY

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Katahdin WOODS & WATERS

WHAT MAKES THE MONUMENT STAND OUT? The natural and cultural resources of the area are right up there at the top. You’ve got the three rivers that run through it—the Seboeis River, the East Branch Penobscot River, and Wassataquoik Stream. And you’ve got the history of the timber industry over the years, you’ve got Native American occupation for at least eight thousand years. The Wassataquoik, in particular, is literally unchanged. There’s a lot of extraordinary geology in the monument, and I think that how it’s set up right now, where have a large amount of traditional activities still going on inside the monument, makes it not unique in the park service, but unusual in some respects. I’ve got quite a mix of activity there. The history in [the monument] is really remarkable, from way back from prehistoric and even historic times, and a lot of things have transpired over the years. We’d like to help promote that around the area, and interact with the state and the seven or eight communities that surround the park.

WHAT’S THE TOUGHEST PART OF YOUR JOB? The toughest part of my job right now is that there’s not much staff. So I try and go out and meet people whenever I can. And I still have paperwork to get ready to do to get ready for the summer. Meeting people is the fun part of the job. The paperwork isn’t the fun part, but everything has to be put in order. Winter doesn’t ever last as long as you think it does. WHAT DO YOU HOPE PEOPLE TAKE AWAY FROM THEIR VISIT THERE? You know, the history, the beauty of the area, the solitude that they can get. You’ve got great night skies—it’s one of the better places in the lower 48 states, certainly on the east coast, for night skies. You don’t have that light pollution. You’ve got little noise. You won’t be bothered. You’ll be out in the wilderness—your cell phone doesn’t work in the monument, so you’re not going to have that kind of [distraction]. You can camp without a lot of people in one spot. There’s enough out here where you can walk not that far and really get away from things.

PHOTO: PROVIDED BY MOOSE PRINTS GALLERY

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE AREA OF THE MONUMENT? I really enjoy going along the Wassataquoik. Basically, you can be by yourself. I enjoy the north end [of the monument], and coming down along the river on the west side. You can hike, you can mountain bike on that side. And you’ve got a lot of traditional activities on the east side— hunting, snowmobiling, skiing.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE “WOW” AREAS FOR VISITORS? People often go to the viewing areas when the leaves are out. I’ve seen quite a few people’s jaws drop. People in the west don’t see this kind of color. A visitor came up to me and said, “We don’t have anything like this. I never saw anything like it.” They lived in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

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ACTIVITIES BY SEASON What seasonal activities does Superintendent Tim Hudson recommend? Read on to find out. SUMMER: “For the visitor that wants to get an overview, see the terrain, and learn what’s going on, the 17mile loop road around the southwest corner lets you see Katahdin and the expanse of the area. There’s a lot of nice walks out there. You can bike out there, as well as go into Orin Falls or the Wassataquoik. For the heavy-duty recreation user, there’s the north end, and running the East Branch all the way down from from the Matagamon area. You can canoe and kayak with portages...as far down as Bangor. And you’ve got the International Appalachian Trail—literally, the very beginning of it as it makes its way through Canada and Europe.” FALL: “The fall goes pretty late because you’ve got hunting in designated sections. Then you’ve got three or four weeks for snow to collect, and then the [snowmobile] clubs come in and groom them, and we open up for skiing up at the north.” WINTER: “The loop road isn’t plowed, but snowmobiling goes through five main sections of the monument...and connects with [the ITS trails]. You’ve got hunting that’s very popular in the section that’s outside of Patten. We groom about 30 miles of ski trails in the north section. We have two huts that have been extremely popular to stay in this winter—in fact, one is booked almost every night.” SPRING: “There’s not a lot going on in mud season. We’ll make the roads stabilized before we let people back in.” For a more-detailed breakdown of activities, visit nps.gov/kaww.

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Coming SOON NEW TRAILS OPENING IN 2019 IN KATAHDIN WOODS AND WATERS STORY & PHOTO BY AISLINN SARNACKI

AN EASY FOOTPATH LEADING TO LYNX POND IS A STOP ON THE INTERPRETIVE MAP FOR THE KATAHDIN LOOP ROAD IN THE KATAHDIN WOODS AND WATERS NATIONAL MONUMENT.

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ew trails are being constructed in the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument as a part of a $120,000 project to improve visitor access to scenic ponds and other natural highlights on the conserved property. “This trail work is really the first improvement on the ground that we’ve done,” KWW Superintendent Tim Hudson said. “But a lot of it is improving trails that we knew were already there.” The Appalachian Mountain Club was contracted for the work, which began last October and has been put on pause for the winter months, to resume in late spring and continue throughout the summer of 2019. Funding for the project came from two sources. Half of it, $60,000, is from the National Park Service Centennial Challenge, which has leveraged more than $68 million in funding from Congress since 2015 to support hundreds of projects in NPS lands across the country. That amount had to be matched with non-federal funds, Hudson explained, which came out of the National Park Foundation endowment fund. “This first project is an important step in the right direction,” Kaitlyn Bernard, AMC’s Maine policy manager, said in a prepared statement. “We want to make the monument more user-friendly and more established, and we want to show that AMC is invested.” To start off the trail work, an AMC trail crew worked in KWW throughout the month of October to re-route and improved the Esker Trail, which is about a half-mile long and is located near the beginning of the Katahdin Loop Road. This trail is one of the first opportunities visitors have to get out of their cars and enjoy the wilderness if traveling into the monument from the south. There are also plans to create a new, larger parking area for the Esker Trail.

(The current parking area can only fit one to two vehicles.) This new parking area will be northwest of the original parking area on Swift Brook Road, and it will also be used for hiking the new Deasey Pond Trail, which was mapped out in October but is not yet complete. “That’ll go in next year,” Hudson said of the Deasey Pond Trail. “Deasey is one of our great ponds. The trail goes up over an esker, then drops down to the pond.” “We’re still in the process of cutting it,” Andrew Norkin, AMC director of trails and recreation management, said. “One of the things we have to do is get approval to put in bog bridging and boardwalks [in the wetlands around Deasey Pond]. Tim Hudson is trying to get that approval done as we speak.” Though the Deasey Pond Trail has yet to be measured, Hudson said it will be over a mile long, offering visitors a slightly more challenging walk. The trail will end with a viewing platform at Deasey Pond, where hikers can rest and watch area wildlife. Also on the docket is the Lynx Pond Trail, a short footpath located near the Mile 2 marker on Katahdin Loop Road. It will be transformed into a wheelchairaccessible trail that meets Americans with Disabilities Act regulations. It will end at a large platform and turn-around at the end of Lynx Pond, a popular spot for birdwatching. “That’s something you don’t see all the time,” Norkin said of the ADAcompliant trail. “That’s an important feature.” In addition, the monument’s popular trail up Barnard Mountain will be improved, and on one of the eastern parcels of the monument, the AMC trail crew will improve a short trail into Kimball Deadwater and reroute a trail into Twin Ponds to avoid wet areas and make the trail more sustainable.


“Those are the things we’ve identified at this point as the biggest bang for your buck,” Norkin said. “Then we’re going to do some more exploring and go from there.” AMC has a long history of trail building in Maine and throughout the northeast for a wide variety of landowners, including land trusts, towns and large conservation organizations, such as The Nature Conservancy. In recent history, AMC has worked on trails in the Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary, Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area, Nahmakanta Public Lands and Acadia National Park. Norkin estimates the trail work in KWW will take until the end of the summer in 2019. However, during that time, the park will remain open to visitors, and the Katahdin Loop Road will be open to vehicles throughout the summer, as usual. “I really encourage folks to come and use it,” Norkin said. “It’s just a beautiful area.” This story was originally published in the Bangor Daily News Dec. 16, 2018.

www.bangordailynews.com • BANGOR DAILY NEWS

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Katahdin WOODS & WATERS

Exploring THE DEBSCONEAG LAKES THE WOODS & WATERS OF THE DEBSCONEAG LAKES COURTESY CHEWONKI FOUNDATION

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“I

’ve been to a lot of remote cabins in Maine,” says Cullen McGough, a Maine native and employee of Chewonki Foundation. “But I’ve never had a whole lake to myself before. This is amazing.” He’s describing a recent visit to Debsconeag Lake Wilderness Camps, one of

Chewonki’s two North Woods outposts (the other, Big Eddy Cabins and Campgrounds, is located on the West Branch of the Penobscot River). And he’s not kidding about wilderness: this cluster of cabins, yurts and a central lodge sits within nearly 1,000,000 acres of conserved forestland. The pristine area is spangled with lakes, ponds, and streams and studded with mountain tops only a mile and a half from the Appalachian Trail and 12 miles, as the raven flies (or the moose rambles), from Mount Katahdin. None of that means much to two-yearold Benjamin Baxter McGough (his middle name pays homage to Baxter State Park), who recently traveled with his parents and a few aunties to the campsite on Fourth Debsconeag Lake. What impressed young Benjamin most were the wild blueberries, canoeing under starlit skies, and staring into the flickering flames of a campfire. Fourth Debsconeag Lake, one in a chain of eight, is a four-hour journey north of Portland. The trip requires a 22-mile stretch on a buck-shot dirt logging road and a short boat ride across the lake. “It’s an epic journey,” says McGough. “To get there, you really have to want it, which makes the destination all the sweeter.” Strapped to the back of his parents, Benjamin Baxter McGough enjoyed two expeditions: a day hike from Fourth Debsconeag to Third Debsconeag and back, passing through moss-covered rock canyons with a cascade coursing down the middle;


and a 45-minute trek to the top of the granite cliffs that rise up over the lake, where he hunted for blueberries passed over by the moose and bear that frequent these woods. The campground is the only one on the lake, “and the only one that will ever be on this lake,” as Chewonki Vice President Greg Shute likes to say. McGough remembers, “You arrive at the boat landing and look around, and there are no gaps or other docks or motor boats anywhere along the shoreline. You’re so far away from everything” — including cell phone service — “surrounded by mountains. It’s completely silent except for the wind and the sounds of wildlife.” The surrounding land is “heavily forested in cedar, birch, and beech,” he says. “There’s a really pleasant cedar-box smell to the whole area.” Chewonki now uses Debsconeag Lake Wilderness Camps as a base for many of its educational programs and rents cabins and yurts to the public at certain times in the spring and fall. Site Manager Andy Williams knows the area like the back of his hand and can provide maps, information, and advice to those who visit. The camps offer excellent access to trails and waterways. Sailing, canoeing, swimming, napping, reading, good conversation, a Frisbee game, and leisurely meals filled out the weekend for the group. In keeping with Debsconeag tradition, the site manager provided freshly baked goodies and coffee each morning. “A blueberry muffin, hot coffee, and a lake all to myself?” says McGough. “That’s my picture of heaven.”

www.bangordailynews.com • BANGOR DAILY NEWS

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Katahdin WOODS & WATERS

A DOGFRIENDLY EXPERIENCE THE KWW: HIKE BARNARD MOUNTAIN BY AISLINN SARNACKI

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R

hike

ising 1,621 feet above sea level, Barnard Mountain is one of the main hiking destinations in the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. From an overlook near the mountain’s top, hikers are rewarded with a stunning view of nearby Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain, and just in front of it, Katahdin Lake. The hike starts on an old logging road that spurs off the north end of the Katahdin Loop Road. Blocked off to vehicles, the logging road crosses Katahdin Brook on a wide footbridge, and just after that, it passes Katahdin Brook Campsite, which was constructed in 2012 and is used by hikers of the International Appalachian Trail.

This first section of the hike along the old logging road is a great opportunity to view wildlife, since the road is straight, allowing you to see far ahead. Moose, white-tailed deer, bear, and coyotes often walk along this road. You’ll likely see their tracks, if not the animals themselves. After about 0.7 mile of walking on the logging road, you’ll come to an intersection where you’ll veer right, following a sign that reads “Barnard.” This next portion of the hike is along a narrower woods road that is much more overgrown than the first and is hemmed in on both sides by vegetation. The beginning of this road is blocked off with boulders, preventing any motor vehicle traffic.


After another 0.4 mile on the logging road, you’ll come to the 0.8-mile Barnard Mountain Trail, which disappears into the forest on your right and is marked with pink flagging tape. A traditional hiking trail, it switchbacks up the mountain to end at an open granite ledge and a picnic table. The trail was constructed by the Maine Conservation Corps in 2014 and includes several short sections of granite steps. And one interesting feature along the trail is a split boulder. The trail travels through the narrow gap between the two granite halves. At first, the trail travels through a fairly young forest composed of deciduous trees, including plenty of striped maple and beech. Then, near the top of the mountain, the forest quickly changes into a spruce-fir forest. The ledge at the trail’s end is a great spot to have a picnic. Looking out over the woods of Baxter State Park, Katahdin is straight ahead. To its right are South Turner and North Turner mountains; and to its left, off in the distance, you can see the distinctive ridge of Big Spencer Mountain in the Moosehead Region. In front of all the mountains is Katahdin Lake. Dogs are permitted but must be kept on leash at all times. Access to KWW is free. For more information: Call (207) 4566001 or visit www.nps.gov/kaww. HOW TO GET THERE: From a bend in Route 11 at the center of Stacyville (a town that is just north of Millinocket and Medway), turn left onto the gravel Swift Brook Road. Set your odometer to zero. In about 1 mile, you’ll cross a bridge over Swift Brook. At 5.2 mile, veer left to stay on Swift Brook Road. At about the 7 mile mark, you’ll cross over the East Branch of the Penobscot River on a long, one-lane bridge high above the water. At 9.8 mile, you’ll pass by Sandbank Stream Campsite, and at 10.1 miles, you’ll pass a sign for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument by a wetland area. At 12 miles, you’ll arrive at the beginning of the Katahdin Loop Road loop. Turn right, traveling the loop counterclockwise and drive about 5 miles to the gravel parking area at the trailhead by a gated off logging road. Excerpted from Aislinn Sarnacki’s upcoming book, “Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine,” due to be released in June 2019.

Great Hunting & Fishing

Your Host Les Conklin guideonemaine@yahoo.com • 207-528-2901 Cabin Rentals • Patten www.conklinslodge.com www.bangordailynews.com • BANGOR DAILY NEWS

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Get away from it all with

REMOTE BRADFORD CAMPS COURTESY BRADFORD CAMPS

T

he Bradford Camps are located on Munsungan Lake, a 1,500-acre undeveloped lake in the heart of the North Maine Woods. Eight cabins and a main lodge have spectacular views of ridges across the lake and unparalleled sunsets from each porch. Fishing opportunities are Maine’s best on one of the top ten salmon and brook trout lakes in the state. Wild brook trout and salmon are plentiful in the outlying ponds and rivers. There are ample opportunities for fly fishing, spin casting, and trolling. Families also have a great time away from it all at Bradford. There are hiking trails, kayaks, a paddle board, and outdoor games for all. Your cell phone will not work in the woods where we are! The North Maine Woods is known for a quality hunting experience unlike any other on the east coast. Bear, moose, and partridge are found in good numbers. Hunters will find huge tracts of hardwood ridges along with lowland brooks and beaver bogs, and few other hunters. The service is unparalleled and includes all meals freshly prepared and served in a handsome main lodge. Guides offer the fisherman, hunter, and nature lover great experiences in the wilds of the woods. Your private waterfront cabin is fully furnished with linens and towels, kept clean daily, and each has modern plumbing. Located on site is a floatplane ready to take you to new fishing waters each day, or enjoy a scenic flight with great views of Mount Katahdin and the historic Allagash River. 30

Katahdin WOODS & WATERS

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GET Hooked

Katahdin WOODS & WATERS

TWO RIVERS CANOE: A GREAT RESOURCE FOR MAINE FISHING NEEDS COURTESY TWO RIVERS CANOE + TACKLE

T

wo Rivers Canoe + Tackle has been in business for 21 years. We have an amazing selection of tackle and we specialize in flies—we have over 20,000 flies in stock! We carry the Scott Canoe line, which produces paddlers in lengths of 12 to 21 feet. Scott also produces square sterns from 12 to 21 feet, and they build the 21-foot Maine Freighter for us. All their canoes can be fiberglass or Kevlar. We also carry basic camping supplies, souvenirs, and even books and some artwork— something for everyone!

Two Rivers Canoe & Tackle Northern Maine’s Fishing Headquarters

Introducing the NEW Maine Freighter. Honest, Rugged and Ready to Fish

••Carrying complete lineline from Carryingthe the complete SCOTT from SCOTT • Dry Flies to leadline, everything •for Dry Flies to leadline the Fisherman for the Fisherman •everything The Maine Freighter was •designed Guns in Medway and built by professionals. UsedCanoes, CanoesTrailers Trailers ••Used & & Outboards Outboards OpenTuesday Tuesday thru Open thru Saturday Saturday••8am-6pm 8am-5pm

(207) 746-8181 • www.tworiverscanoe.com www.bangordailynews.com • BANGOR DAILY NEWS

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Katahdin WOODS & WATERS

GET OUTSIDE & ENJOY Family Fun DISCOVER THE MOUNTAINS, LAKES, AND WILDLIFE OF NORTHERN MAINE AT SHIN POND. COURTESY SHIN POND VILLAGE

S

hin Pond Village is a true family-operated recreational facility located in the heart of northern Maine. In 1981, Craig started the groundwork for what is today Shin Pond Village. In 1986, Terry and her then 3-year-old son Blaine joined him. In 2016, Blaine, Elka, and their children returned home to contribute to our family business.

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Katahdin WOODS & WATERS

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Throughout the years, we have continued to expand our business to meet the recreational opportunities in the area we call home. In 2017, we celebrated our 35th year in business. We look forward to the future! Located just 15 miles from the northern entrance to Baxter State Park, Shin Pond Village offers the summer visitor great fishing, uncrowded hiking adventures, plenty of wildlife and family fun in a peaceful, scenic setting. We offer canoe and kayak rentals for you to see moose in the Sawtelle Deadwater in the early morning. Polaris Side by Side rentals are also available. All rental vehicles come with a Spot satellite communication and location device. Shin Pond Village offers 30 campsites, eight housekeeping cottages, three guest suites and two homes on Lower Shin Pond. Our main building has a general store, gift shop, laundromat, the “Loon’s Nest” guest area with satellite TV, and a full-service dining area. These conveniences are open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Gas and oil are available. We pride ourselves on true Maine hospitality, and we treat you like family! Discover the mountains, lakes, and wildlife of northern Maine at Shin Pond.


Unique Experiences

OFF THE BEATEN PATH LODGES CATER TO RUNNERS, YOGIS, AND FOODIES COURTESY MT. CHASE LODGE

A

Maine sporting camp typically conjures images of plaid flannel, guided hunts, and anglers. Interestingly enough, a new trend is emerging in the outdoor landscape, and it is changing the way visitors engage with the Maine woods. Ever wanted to do yoga next to a waterfall after a local guide makes timbering history come to life on a hiking trail? If so, you are not alone. Even experienced outdoorspeople are increasingly likely to seek out a knowledgeable guide or search the internet for unique experiences off the beaten path. Oh, and they want to eat well, too! Places like Mt. Chase Lodge on Upper Shin Pond are poised to offer exactly the type of outdoor experiences these adventurers are looking for. Near the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Mt. Chase Lodge has seen lots of interest in programs like their Endless Trails Runner’s Weekend, Wilderness Plein Air Retreats, and Women’s Skills Weekends. “Guests want to experience the area’s hidden gems that aren’t in a guidebook, and we think it takes the stress out of getaway planning if we provide that,” says Michelle Martin, one of the lodge’s Registered Maine Guides and yoga instructor. “Being able to enrich someone’s experience of a place — that’s key.” Outdoorspeople these days tend to agree. Guided offerings, pre-planned programs, and excellent prix fixe gourmet dining set lodges like Mt. Chase Lodge apart. This willingness to adapt and change keeps the Maine sporting camp tradition alive, vibrant, and relevant to today’s outdoor enthusiasts. www.bangordailynews.com • BANGOR DAILY NEWS

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Maine

SPORTING CAMPS P

PHOTO: DENISE POTRZEBA LETT/ADOBE STOCK

eople head to the Maine woods to “get away from it all” for lots of reasons. Some want a private, remote experience. Others seek a fun family vacation. Some want to rough it. And others desire a wilderness experience with modern comforts. No matter what the intent, the Maine woods is full of sporting camps to meet every need. The experiences to be had at Maine sporting camps are as varied as they are similar. Whether your interest is hunting, fishing, or just plain relaxing, there’s a camp for you. Some have power, running water, meals and guide services, while others tend to be more rustic—but the core experience is similar. Check out some of these fine camps, and start planning your next Maine woods adventure!

34

• Outdoors in Maine • SPRING 2019


THE WAY LIFE used to be UMCOLCUS PROVIDES A LEGACY OF REAL MAINE WONDER

U

COURTESY UMCOLCUS SPORTING CAMPS

mcolcus Sporting Camps were established in 1917 when Walter Swett, a Maine Guide, leased land from George B. Dunn. In 1919, with Dunn’s approval, Swett sub-leased the site of the camps—including two log cabins on Umcolcus stream—to Walter D. Hinds. Jump forward over a hundred years. Since the late 1970s, the camps have been owned and operated by Almon (“Al”) Currier and his wife Audrey. Over the years, Al and Audrey have built new camps, a shower house, and a beautiful dining room with a fieldstone fireplace. Today, just as then, Umcolcus prides itself on providing an authentic Maine experience. We feature four clean, comfortable handcrafted log cabins and two smaller cabins spaced around our main lodge and shower house. Our small cabins can accommodate 1-2 guests, and our larger cabins accommodate up to 11. Each spacious cabin is complete with a propane cook stove and lighting, wood stove, and cooking and eating dishes and bedding. Our heated shower house (complete with towels) also lends comfort to your stay. Activities abound at Umcolcus, from hunting, fishing, a scenic flight, or just plain old vacationing. We offer a secluded escape for those seeking an authentic Maine experience. There’s truly something for everyone. Come see what we have to offer at “Umcolcus” (an Indian word meaning “whistling duck”).

www.bangordailynews.com • BANGOR DAILY NEWS

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Maine SPORTING CAMPS

GREAT FUN FOR

all experience levels FOR TRUE MAINE LODGE EXPERIENCE, TRY WEATHERBY’S COURTESY WEATHERBY’S LODGES

W

elcome to Weatherby’s, your full-service Maine fishing and hunting lodge providing lodging, meals, guide service, and ORVIS fly shop. Weatherby’s has been hosting sportsmen and -women from around the globe since the late 1800s and provides access to dozens of lakes and streams for landlocked salmon, brook trout, lake trout, smallmouth bass, pickerel and perch from May 1–October 20 and offers first rate upland hunting for wild grouse and woodcock during October. Our cabins are rustic yet comfortable with private baths, electricity and a fireplace to relax by after a day in the field. We teach fly fishing to novice anglers and we spin fish with kids. We can design an experience that fits your schedule and expectations. Early season provides excellent fly casting for our native salmon and brook trout. Beginning with streamers and nymphs and progressing to mayflies and caddis late May and June. Simultaneously, our smallmouth fishing takes off with the spawn beginning mid-May through June. Fly fish or spin casting, our smallmouth fishery is one of the finest you will find anywhere. Mid-summer finds us fishing on the lakes and St. Croix River for trophy smallmouth, perch and pickerel. Great fun for first timers and kids alike with lots of fish catching action. We end the season late September and October with fantastic fall run salmon fishing again on Grand Lake Stream. Fall foliage, cool nights and often a bit of frost in the morning. Give us a call to see what we can do for you at 877-796-5558 or visit us at weatherbys.com. 36

• Maine

SPORTING CAMPS

• SPRING 2019


COME JOIN THE

family

UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES AT MATAGAMON WILDERNESS

COURTESY MATAGAMON WILDERNESS

M

atagamon Wilderness is a familyowned and operated business nestled along the East Branch of the Penobscot River and at the outlet of Grand Lake Matagamon. We are a four-season business with six cozy cabins, wilderness campsites, and “Mama Bears’ Kitchen” to fulfill all your needs. During the cold months, come enjoy snowmobiling—ITS85 is right outside our door. Ice fishing on Grand Lake Matagamon is great for all ages, and if you get too cold, we have heated ice fishing shacks for rent. Enjoy skiing? Come try some of our local ski trails (shuttle services are available upon request). The river is excellent for fishing native brook trout and landlocked salmon

Maine’s sporting camps and wilderness lodges are a historic tradition reaching back to the mid-1800s, when wealthy businessmen rode the then-new train from Boston to the remote Maine woods to hunt and fish. Today, Maine’s lodges offer rustic accommodations to sportsmen of all walks of life: fishermen and hunters; paddlers and hikers; friends, couples, and families. Most Maine sporting camps are family owned and are renowned for their warm hospitality. Some are rustic, without electricity or running water, while others offer modern conveniences. Some are nestled on lake fronts or rivers, some are tucked in the woods, and some are close to town. Many offer the traditional American plan, where sports are treated to three home-cooked meals per day, while others offer self-catering accommodations, known as the housekeeping plan.

in the spring and fall, and you can also fish for lake trout in the lake. We provide guided fishing trips as well as boat, canoe and kayak rentals and pontoon boat tours. Interested in fly fishing, but haven’t yet learned? We have fly fishing school available. We also offer a spring bear hunt on Penobscot Indian territory! Our area is great for hiking as we are surrounded by many hiking trails. If you get too hot, jump on a tube and float down the river! In the fall, we provide a variety of guided hunts including black bear, white-tailed deer, moose, partridge and coyote. At Matagamon, we strive to make your stay with us an unforgettable experience. When you leave us, we hope you feel like you’re “part of our family.” Come make memories with us!

WHAT WILL YOU DO ON YOUR SPORTING CAMP VACATION? FISHING ICE FISHING

CROSSCOUNTRY SKIING

HIKING

SNOWMOBILING

PADDLING

BIRD HUNTING

SWIMMING

BEAR HUNTING

BOATING

MOOSE HUNTING

DEER HUNTING BIRD WATCHING WILDLIFE WATCHING BIKING PHOTOGRAPHY

LEARN MORE AT MAINESPORTINGCAMPS.COM.

www.bangordailynews.com • BANGOR DAILY NEWS

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Maine’ s NIGHT SKY

in Maine

The Andromeda Galaxy as seen from Charlie Sawyer's personal observatory in Pembroke, Maine. PHOTO BY CHARLIE SAWYER

SOME OF MAINE’S BEAUTY LAY IN THE STARS. BY ALAN CROWELL

CHARLIE SAWYER can remember the moment he first saw the Milky Way. He was about eight years old and had just moved to Pembroke in Downeast Maine from Brewer. After a long drive, he got out of the family car and looked up to see the spiralshaped galaxy that contains our own solar system as well as about 200 billion stars. A few years later, in his early teens, the astronomy bug bit him hard and he started making star maps. He purchased one of his first telescopes with his blueberry raking money. Later, in 1997, he formed the Downeast Amateur Astronomers. On August 23 and 24, Sawyer and other members of the Downeast Amateur Astronomers will share their telescopes, their knowledge, and their passion for stars and other celestial objects with the public at

the Maine State Star Party at Cobscook Bay State Park in Edmunds. Sawyer, who also volunteers at the yearly Acadia Night Sky Festival, said he has seen people’s jaw drop the first time they see the Milky Way. This summer, people should also be able to see Jupiter and Saturn. “You don’t even have to own a telescope to enjoy astronomy,” said Sawyer. All you need is a set of binoculars. “The nighttime sky in your own backyard is your own personal planetarium.” Unfortunately, however, light pollution — light from man-made sources that obscures the night skies — has made it increasingly difficult for much of the world to see the Milky Way. A 2016 article in the journal “Science Advances” estimates that the Milky Way

is hidden by light pollution to roughly 80 percent of Americans, and that as outdoor lighting increases, the problem is getting worse at a rate of about two percent a year. The threat of light pollution is the reason the Friends of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is putting together an application to the International Dark Sky Association to protect some of the nation’s darkest skies. The monument is part of an area that boasts the largest and darkest contiguous patch of skies east of the Mississippi, according to Andrew Bossie, executive director of Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. It is a matter of addition by subtraction. With fewer residences, northern Maine has less light pollution and vastly better

If you are interested in learning more about the stars, or if you just want to find a dark patch of sky, here are five resources:

9:30 p.m. in the summer and as early as 5:30 p.m. in the winter. Located near Bradbury State Park on Route 9, the observatory features a 12-inch telescope and a digital camera. Tours explore constellations, planets, the moon, star clusters and a host of other objects. Astronomy lessons are customized to the group. BLUEBERRYOBSERVATORY.COM

more than 50 telescopes were available for more than 1,500 attendees. ACADIANIGHTSKYFESTIVAL.ORG

THE SOUTHWORTH PLANETARIUM The University of Southern Maine’s Southworth Planetarium will offer “Star Dome Astronomy,” a six-week introductory astronomy course beginning this spring. The course will allow participants to explore the night sky, read star charts, identify constellations and track planetary motions. Each class includes a lecture and time in the star dome theatre. USM.MAINE.EDU/PLANET THE BLUEBERRY POND OBSERVATORY The three-story domed Blueberry Pond Observatory in Pownal offers guided tours of the stars beginning as early as

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• Outdoors in Maine • SPRING 2019

THE ACADIA NIGHT SKY FESTIVAL (Sept. 25-29 this year) draws thousands to Acadia National Park annually to view the night sky from atop Cadillac Mountain, Sand Beach, and other starry locations. The festival includes a full schedule of events including workshops with internationally-recognized speakers, but the best-attended event in recent years has been the Cadillac Mountain Star Party. Last year,

THE MAINE STATE STAR PARTY is scheduled August 23 and 24 at Cobscook Bay State Park in Edmunds. All are welcome to this free festival hosted by the Downeast Amateur Astronomers. Those interested can set up their own telescope or use one made available to the public. During the day Saturday, several solar telescopes will be available. At 1 p.m. there will be Astronomy Jeopardy and at 3 p.m., guest speaker Wade Smith will give a talk on his “Barrel Telescope,” a Newtonian reflector he made out of a Maine potato barrel. For more information, check out the Downeast Amateur Astronomers’ Facebook page.


A view of the moon from Pembroke, Ma ine. PHOTO BY CHARLIE SAWYER

stargazing than most of the East Coast and, for many, the chance to view the universe through those pristine night skies is worth traveling for. Those dark skies are also a resource that can help businesses that have struggled since the loss of manufacturing and mill jobs. “There is an increasing trend in astro-tourism,” said Bossie. “In 2024, we are going to have a total eclipse and we already know we have businesses that are booked for that event.” “It is an increasingly scarce resource around the world,” said Bossie, who can still remember the wonder he felt when he first saw Maine’s night sky after moving to Caribou from southern Florida at age 10.

KATAHDIN WOODS AND WATERS RECREATION AREA View any light pollution map and the vast majority of the eastern seaboard features a mosaic of colors denoting high to moderate light pollution. East and north of Millinocket, however, that light pollution fades away to next to nothing in Maine’s fabled great North Woods. Mostly empty of people, the North Woods is an excellent place to view the night skies. Public lands include Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. NPS.GOV/KAWW/INDEX.HTM OR BAXTERSTATEPARK.ORG

www.bangordailynews.com • BANGOR DAILY NEWS

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in Maine

THE 4-H

Camp Experience COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF MAINE 4-H CAMPS

AMIDST THE FORESTS, fields and wild places of Maine, from the rocky seacoast to the western Maine mountains, groups of children learn and grow in the out-ofdoors. Under the nurturing guidance and the support of a caring field staff, campers enjoy themselves through hands-on experiences at one of several 4-H summer camps. Maine is home to four unique 4-H camps and learning centers: Blueberry Cove in Tenants Harbor; Tanglewood in Lincolnville; Bryant Pond in the western mountains near Bethel; and the newest addition, Greenland Point, in Princeton. The network of camps is connected by the common mission of providing positive youth development for all. Sessions range from day camp programs designed for the first-time camper to week-long residential (overnight) or even multi-week programs that focus more specifically on various outdoor themes such as leadership development, conservation education, ecology, nature arts, and more. Historically, the 4-H Camps have been known for their environmental and conservation focuses, blending inquisitive fun with valuable life skills and outdoors activities. We see our participants making stronger connections with our environment and with one another. More specifically, you can choose the type of program that appeals to you or your child. Programs range from teen leadership, sailing, canoeing and backpacking, wilderness survival, shooting sports, nature arts, primitive skills and many more. Consistent with the 4-H program model, the diversity within the type of summer camp you can choose is seemingly endless! Some programs are very focused on a particular skill set like hunter safety or woodscraft skills, while others are more broadly focused, giving the camper choices throughout the week. All of the University of Maine 4-H camps and learning centers are non-profit organizations and we work hard to be affordable to all. There are many scholarships available to offset the cost of camp and despite the affordability, we don’t skimp on quality. We serve nutritious meals, provide highly trained and certified staff, and we incorporate the best equipment we can to ensure that safety and satisfaction are top priority.

To begin your search for the best fit for your camper, begin with the University of Maine 4-H Camps webpage at extension. umaine.edu/4h/camps.


www.midmainemarine.com

CASH DISCOUNTS USED BOATS REBATES ONLINE INVENTORY

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