Association of State Wetland Managers - Protecting the Nation's Wetlands.

The Compleat Wetlander: An Outdoor Adventure For Every Wetland Lover’s Bucket List

By Jeanne Christie

I frequently talk to wetland professionals who tell me that they would like to make it to Maine “some day”. They’re usually thinking of a visit to Acadia National Park or somewhere along Maine’s famous coastline. I love Acadia and have spent many happy days there, but there are also trips to extraordinary wetlands elsewhere in the state that folks from away rarely visit.

One such trip is called the Moose Bow River trip  in northwestern Maine near the town of Jackman and a couple hours from the Canadian border.  It’s a mooseriver111three day, 34 mile trip across a couple lakes and down the Moose River.  This is a very remote area and, while it does not include much in the way of white water, it is a challenging trip.  It requires portaging, including a substantial 1.2 mile portage between Attean and Holeb Ponds.  Campsites are primitive with a picnic table, a fire pit and an open pit toilet.

number5What makes this special for those of us who love wetlands is that the entire trip is located within an area of Statewide Ecological Significance and includes Number 5 Bog  which is a National Natural Landmark.  The bog is one of the largest and most diverse peatlands in Maine and one of the few remaining places in Maine or anywhere else in the lower 48 states with “no discernable human impact.”

holebpond1The Moose River Bow trip also includes Holeb Stream which has reversed flow during high water on the Moose River.  A trip through this landscape is a very special opportunity to visit a largely undisturbed wetland.  This past Labor Day weekend, my husband and I with our canine companion Navia made the trip encountering patterned fens, dwarf shrub bogs, Jack pine forests, lakes, ledges, rivers and waterfalls. We saw bald eagle, herons, kingfisher, the rare wood turtle, fisher, and other wildlife.  Signs of moose and beaver were everywhere. We probably passed a hundred beaver dens located on the banks of the lower reaches of the Moose River – a few with beaver dams across streams entering the river close by.  Words can’t do it justice, nor do photographs.  But here are a few to give you a sense of what’s there.  It had been on my bucket list for a long time and I encourage you to add it to yours.

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