Youth on the Allagash


Our Youth on the Allagash initiative began nearly a decade ago with the simple aim of introducing the youngest generation, particularly from the St. John River Valley, to the joys and challenges of wilderness travel on one of the nation’s wild and scenic rivers, in their own backyard. Our programs help youth overcome individual and structural obstacles to getting outside, learning new skills, and gaining comfort with being in wild spaces. Through these programs, we aspire to grow the next generation of wilderness stewards.

  • Our summer-time Canoe and Water Safety Day Camp provides the first level of introduction to wild rivers for our youngest students (Grades 5-7) from the gateway communities of the St. John River Valley. Students learn basic canoe and water safety skills on the banks of the Fish and St. John Rivers.
  • Our Wilderness Trips offer fully-funded multi-day wilderness trips on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway to youth (Grades 7-9) from the gateway communities of the St. John River Valley and from immigrant, BIPOC, and other underserved communities throughout Maine. Participants learn canoeing and camping basics and leave-no-trace principles, are introduced to the natural and cultural history of the Allagash, and build outdoor leadership and stewardship skills.
  • Our Leadership Trips provide high school students (Grades 9-12) who have participated in a Wilderness Trip a week-long canoe camping experience on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Participants expand their outdoor leadership and stewardship skills, learn the basics of wilderness survival, and explore wilderness stewardship career pathways through campfire chats with Registered Maine Guides and AWW Rangers. 
  • The Wild River Scholar program gives mini-grants to high school graduates who have participated in a Wilderness or Leadership Trip and aspire to continue a relevant post-secondary course of study. 
  • The Classroom to River provides educators with technical guidance to develop customized place-based STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) and experiential learning projects and curricula that are applied to introduce students to the natural and cultural history of the Allagash.
  • Teachers on the River Learning is an annual retreat on the shores of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway for Grade K-12 teachers, administrators, and school board members from the gateway communities of the St. John River Valley. The program inspires participants to promote nature-based and place-based education in their own educational settings by immersing them in the very environment we strive to promote and protect.

The Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation thanks our many individual donors and generous sponsors for their ongoing financial support of the Youth on the Allagash program, including: Allagash Brewing Company, Drummond Woodsum, L.L. Bean, Maine Community Foundation, Perloff Family Foundation, Quimby Family Foundation, and Wicked Joe Organic Coffee.


OUR MISSION IS to enhance the wilderness character of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, protect its environment, and preserve and foster knowledge and understanding of its natural, historic and cultural values. In close collaboration with the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, we serve as the Friends of the Allagash.

- Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation