Last summer, the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) spent five days replacing 260 feet of boardwalk on Rapid River Carry in northwestern Maine. The carry is an alternative to running 3.5 miles of Class III-IV whitewater popular with expert canoeists and kayakers, as well as fishermen of brook trout and salmon.
Improvements were made close to the Cedar Stump campsites managed by Northern Waters Outfitters. The trail there is prone to being muddy, and has flooded during spring ice-out conditions.
Because of the remote location, wood was harvested and milled on site. Some sections of the new boardwalk were tethered with ground anchors to help ensure that they stay in place during high water.
“It was great working with the NFCT Stewardship Crew, they showed maturity and a real concern about project outcome,” said Shelby Rousseau Director of Stewardship for the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust. “Our organizations’ joint stewardship efforts have always had good outcomes.”
The 165-foot corridor that parallels the Rapid River in Upton is managed by the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, and the land outside the corridor is managed by Seven Islands Land Company. Both organizations allow and manage responsible recreational use in the Rangeley Lakes Region.
The boardwalk replacement project was directed by NFCT field coordinator Will Jeffries of Kingfield, Maine and interns Alyssa Andrews of Norway, Maine, Hannah Baggs of Columbus, Ohio, and Nolan Ebner of Chevy Chase, Maryland, along with staff from Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust.
Also present was volunteer Chip Kimball who is part of NFCT’s adopt-a-segment program and helps maintain the trail from the town of Rangeley to Umbagog Lake.
Rapid River carry is the first portage that NFCT thru-paddlers encounter in Maine. Thru-paddlers canoe or kayak the entire 740-mile trail in one trip starting in Old Forge, New York and ending in Fort Kent, Maine. They encounter about 60 carries during the trip that can take 4–6 weeks to complete.
NFCT was able to mill timber for this project thanks to L.L. Cote in Errol, New Hampshire who donated a Stihl chainsaw and safety equipment to the nonprofit.
“We are happy to support the NFCT because of their dedication to the trail system. Their determination has led to many great new programs and projects to make the trails safer and more enjoyable for the public. It is a pleasure to support an organization that gets results which benefit the community,” said Kristina Cote, owner-manager of LL Cote.
Rapid River carry is 3.2 miles long and connects Umbagog Lake to Lower Richardson Lake. The Northern Forest Canoe Trail hopes to continue working on the trail in future summers to replace more boardwalk.