Second NFCT Solo Kayaker Sets Record

FORT KENT, Maine – A New Jersey man completed the fastest end-to-end paddle of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail on Thursday, covering the 740-mile route in 32 days.


Mike Stavola of Medford Lakes, N.J., made the trip from Old Forge, N.Y., to Fort Kent, Maine, in a 14-foot kayak, beating the previous speed record of 38 days set in 2007 by canoeists Zand Martin and Ben Reilly. The NFCT opened to the public in 2006 and Stavola is only the second solo kayaker to complete a through paddle of the waterway.


By the time Stavola reached Maine, he had worn through several pairs of kayaking gloves, greeted horses and a herd of cows in Vermont, camped beside a covered bridge in New Hampshire, and paddled eight hours or more on many days. Friends paddled with Stavola on sections of the trail, and documented his journey on a Facebook page called the Northern Forest Canoe Trail Kayakathon.


In 2007 Stavola organized a kayaking trip across the state of New Jersey from the Delaware River to the Atlantic Ocean. Last year he and more than 20 other paddlers traveled the 200-mile freshwater stretch of the Delaware in New Jersey.


The Northern Forest Canoe Trail follows historic American Indian paddling routes on the major watersheds of northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and a portion of southern Quebec, Canada. It is the longest inland water tail in the northeast.


Twenty five people have finished an end-to-end paddle of trail. The majority of trail users spend a day or weekend exploring one of the 13 sections of the waterway. Learn more about the Northern Forest Canoe Trail online at


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