Kids from St. John River Valley Strike Out on the Allagash

Since 2017, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation has worked with partners to provide opportunities for local youth to build wilderness skills, explore the Waterway, and learn about its history. This fall, we again partnered with Chewonki and local schools to provide multi-day, fully funded guided river trips to 16 youth from the St. John River Valley, including the communities of Madawaska and Fort Kent.

The youth, ranging in age from 12 to 15, had the opportunity to practice their canoeing and camping skills, cook bread over an open fire, fish for trout, build friendships, and make lifelong memories of the Allagash. Several of the participants had never visited the Waterway, and a majority had never visited by canoe. Our experienced guides ensured a safe and fun trip for all, regardless of skill level.

In their own words, the youth participants shared the following highlights of their experiences on the Allagash:

  • The trip made me feel “Courageous. I felt as if I could do anything.”
  • I learned “How to paddle a canoe properly, how to communicate with people without electronics.”
  • “It was such a beautiful place to be and I now want to try and go on camping trips at least once a year.”
  • “Although I haven’t visited many areas in the world like the Allagash, I think it is safe to assume that Allagash is one of the most well-preserved and most astounding areas that I’ve ever been to.”

In 2020, we plan to integrate additional Allagash-related tools into school classrooms and on our youth paddling trips. A new pocket guide will link students (and the public) to the history, culture, and natural history of the Waterway. This will make Allagash history more accessible and available to all.

The ultimate goal of our Youth on the Allagash Initiative is to ensure that every young person who lives in the Waterway’s gateway communities has the opportunity for a fully-funded multi-day camping and paddling experience on the Waterway before he or she graduates from high school.

Please help us achieve our goal:  Click here to support our Youth on the Allagash initiative.