NFCT completes Maine stewardship projects

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) completed three stewardship projects this summer along Maine sections of the 740-mile waterway trail connecting Old Forge, NY, to Fort Kent, Maine.

“Each stewardship season presents us with challenges, and this year was certainly no different,” said NFCT Stewardship Director Noah Pollock. “Our work this summer included the construction of access steps at take-outs and put-ins, building ADA-compliant privies, improving campsites and more — all aimed at ensuring that the canoe trail is safe and accessible for public use.”

2020 Maine stewardship work was undertaken in partnership with the High Peaks Initiative, Longfellow Mountain Heritage Trails, Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, American Forest Management, Maine Recreational Trails Program, High Peaks Alliance and Maine Huts and Trails. Projects included:

  • Portage trails around the Chain of Ponds and Lower Ledge Falls along the North Branch of the Dead River
  • A suite of projects near Dead River’s spectacular Grand Falls, including a new paddler campsite, replacement of a 24-foot bridge and installation of timber access steps
  • Reconstruction of the Dead River launch, providing access to one of New England’s finest open-boat, whitewater runs

These projects protect waterways from environmental degradation and improve access for anyone who enjoys the outdoors.

“The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is an incredible natural resource, connecting communities across the Northern Forest socially and economically,” said Karrie Thomas, NFCT’s executive director. “Taking care of the streams, rivers, ponds and lakes that comprise the trail is foundational to our mission. COVID-19 presented our stewardship crew with unprecedented challenges for this season. We took great care to put the health of our staff, interns and volunteers at the forefront while still delivering great access.”

NFCT staff provides leadership, training and education for the summer stewardship crew, which consists of paid interns and volunteer trail maintainers.

“Our stewardship work represents a commitment to maintaining an exceptional recreational experience, while also supporting healthy waterways and engaged communities,” Pollock said.

NFCT stewardship work is also supported by memberships and donations to the Trail Fund, public and private grants and business and corporate sponsorships.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a nonprofit organization that maintains and promotes the 740-mile water trail that runs from Old Forge, New York, to Fort Kent, Maine, and connects New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire, and Maine. The trail showcases the mix of landscapes and communities currently lining the traditional routes used by indigenous peoples, settlers, and guides. It is the longest in-land water trail in the nation and consists of 23 rivers and streams, 59 lakes and ponds, 45 communities, and 65 portages.

To learn more about the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, visit