In my 40 years of working in the North Maine Woods I’ve never seen a Lombard Log Hauler actually run or ridden in a bateau. On July 23, that’s going to change!

As part of the festivities commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway we’ll be hosting a celebration event at Churchill Dam, in the heart of the waterway.

When we started planning the 50th anniversary of the waterway, it became obvious that people wanted to come to Churchill Dam. Churchill Depot, once the hub of logging activities on the headwaters of the Allagash, is now the hub of recreational activities on the waterway.

On July 23, we have an exciting day planned. The featured morning activities will be running Chase Rapids and bateau rides on Heron Lake. Two outfitters will have canoes to rent and provide shuttle service back to the dam from the takeout location at Bissonette Bridge.

Waterway staff will provide tours of the boarding house and History Center throughout the day. The Maine Forest Service will have a firetruck demonstration, helicopter water-dropping demonstration. Smokey Bear will be there, too.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will be describing the fishway and fish trap in the dam, and how they work. Jason Bouchard from Chandler Lake Camps will provide fly fishing lessons throughout the day.

Amanda Barker and her husband, Bob Sawyer, have volunteered to make bean-hole beans, which will be served with hot dogs, coleslaw, potato salad and biscuits. This delectable fare will be supplemented with the goodies cooked at the open-fire baking contest and homemade ice cream.

The day will close with a flag ceremony by Boy Scout Troop 184 from Caribou and music by Larry Hall and the Just Folk Singers. The field next to the ranger station will be open to camping for the event.

There are AWW campsites available across the river from the ranger station and water-access campsites available at the Jaws, about 2 miles up the lake from Churchill. See for camps available to rent in the area and for North Maine Woods campsites near Churchill Dam.

The celebration event at Churchill Dam is open to the public at no cost. The event is sponsored by the following businesses and organizations: Allagash Brewing Co., Irving Woodlands, Clayton Lake Woodlands Holdings, Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation, Landvest, and Friends of Maine State Parks.

The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is managed by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Bureau of Parks and Lands. For information on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, go to For an information packet, call 207-­941-­4014 or write to the Bureau of Parks and Lands, 106 Hogan Road, Bangor, ME 04401.

Waterway notes: Check out to view all the special activities planned for the 50th anniversary of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.

Matthew LaRoche is superintendent of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.