First Paddlers of the Season Tackle the 740-Mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail

Waitsfield, VT. While there is still snow in the woods and ice on some ponds, two friends began a 740-mile journey from Old Forge, New York to Fort Kent, Maine on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail early this morning. Emma Carlson of Maine and Emily Rooney of Vermont launched from the start of the Trail at the boat dock in Old Forge. Their goal is to complete the four-state and one Canadian province trail in 40 days.

During the journey the women will be communicating with elementary students at the Town of Webb School District and a second grade class at the W.G. Mallett School in Farmington, Maine, taught by Ms. Carlson’s mother. They hope to educate the students about the people they meet and places they visit along the way. Travelling by canoe, the paddlers are determined to keep the trip technology free by avoiding the use of cell phones and computers, choosing instead to communicate with postcards in the mail.

“We are always excited when the ice clears from the ponds and lakes of the Trail each spring and now we also have this additional rite of spring when paddlers set out on one of the nation’s truly great adventures,” says Kate Williams, Executive Director of the non-profit Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

Locals in Old Forge are encouraged about the early spring launch. “This is exciting and inspiring,” said Town Tourism Director Mike Farmer. “We’ve seen a steady rise in the number of paddlers launching from Old Forge on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. These ladies put a great spotlight on this great asset at the very beginning of the paddling season.”

Ms. Carlson’s and Rooney’s connection to the Adirondacks runs deep as they first met in 2007 while on an Adirondack Semester with St. Lawrence University.


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