The Northern Forest Canoe Trail
In the May issue of Sierra Magazine, I wrote about paddling the West Branch of the Penobscot River in northern Maine. More paddlers are soon to follow, now that the West Branch of the Penobscot is part of a 740-mile water corridor called the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Launched in June 2006 by the former owners of Mad River Canoe Company, Rob Center and his wife, Kay Henry, the route starts in Old Forge, New York, linking together more than 75 lakes and rivers before reaching its northern terminus in Fort Kent, Maine. Unlike the Appalachian Trail, Center does not believe the non-profit will attract a significant number of thru-paddlers. So far, the list of canoers who’ve traversed the entire circuit in one trip numbers around thirty. He hopes to entice paddlers to try each section of the route in chunks, going back year after year and thus support the struggling economies of small communities along the waterway. The non-profit also designs exquisite maps for each segment of the trail that not only pinpoint campsites and portages in the area, but delve into the ecology and history of the region. To become a member and learn more about the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, visit their website.