Maine is 91% timber land and venturing into the great north woods is one major recreational past time.
Has always been that way since the first family settled in Maine. When it was all wooded. And where you put down roots was always next to a river, water way of some type. Because that river was the power source for the grain or saw mill. And the transportation for moving the logs cut from the vast forests and floated down river to market.
Maine’s woods for hunting meat, fish angled for from the river.
The woods held the key for survival, for recreational pursuits and for the timber resource to build shelter. To cut down the large masts for clipper ships and schooner vessels. The tall straight spruce hand peeled and used for purloins to secure the roofs of the cathedral ceilings. The early houses in Maine were simple log cabins or pine and spruce. Then when houses were built with multi stories, the need for brick chimneys to handle the heating with wood and coal came into vogue.
But back to the Maine woods. Hear the crickets, the owls hoot, frogs croak, see the fire flies light the pathways.
The animals caught used for clothing, their fur for rugs too. The canoes used to glide through the rivers and streams, across broad lakes that salt and peppered the north Maine woods. Great herds of moose and deer, wild turkey, game birds and the best stocked trout, togue, salmon pools created the table food long before grocery stores and drive through fast food outlets.
For years fisherman have made the trek to the northern Maine woods. Hunters now wearing blaze orange and toting bows, arrows, rifles too. And other sportsmen wanting to access the trails on snow sled, ATV four wheelers, cross country skis. Climbing Mount Katahdin, to take in the long views from the the state’s highest point. And gawking in a slow pan from bald tops of Maine’s highest and other the many other peaks is a ritual for many through out life in Vacationland.
The early log cabins used for hunting expeditions collecting game. For lumbering operations in the deep woods unorganized locations of Maine using camps that were hand made originals. To shed the snow, rain from the roof and to protect the occupants inside from animals, to tame the cold temperatures harvesting woods by day. Sawing mental logs at night to rest and repair for tomorrow do it again. Teaming horses, two man saws and avoiding the widow makers.
Not from the machine cut kits of cedar from Katahdin and Ward Cedar log homes. And all the others that sell houses and camps that assemble as easy as lincoln logs and enjoyed all over the World. Wasting fuel but doing the job of opening up to spray the positive ions and heat BTU’s. The Franklin fireplaces for wood stoves to heat the simple shanties in the timber stands of rock maple, beech, white and yellow birch. In the softwood timber grouping of pine, fir, cedar and with ash, oak, and other forest wood specie offerings. Planted by Nature, scattered by wildlife and the wind and nothing perfect rowed like tree plantations of today that are 1000 and 1200 grid exact.
The Maine woods camp a yearly ritual for many now. Not just Teddy Roosevelt who read his bible on the point of the same name in the Island Falls, T4 R3 area of Maine forest. More on Bible Point where he met with his maker for some advice on life and fortified his soul.
For the families that extend the smile and local advice on how best to navigate around the timber tracts in the unorganized townships of 24,000 acres of square T this, R that. But at one time the trip to the north woods more than a fall ritual for game or spring jaunt for smelt, other fish that swam in the waterways unmolested.
Not like now with the search for fiddle heads, to play cribbage or poker card games around the pot belly wood stove and for recreation only. For the quick afternoon stop on snow sled or four wheeler to squeeze in some PDQ rest and relaxation.
Then high tailing it out of the Maine woods. Passing skidders with choker chains and reeled in cables, sitting idle in expansive log yards. With silence fella bunchers. wood processor delimbers of all kinds along the way on your ride out of the deep woods. Used less and less for processing the stuff paper is made from using pulp wood. The poplar attacked and stacked and destined for OSB waferboard mills around Maine.
The Maine woods an early necessity to harvest more than timber for building and heating fuel to crank out the BTU warmth from the family hearth in the home. But also the four legged inhabitants were part of the many trips to the Maine woods.
The gill equipped fish plying the waterways that were clean, fresh, and under tapped by man due to their difficult locations to access wetting the baited line. Before the railroad cut through passes through rock formations. To lay the steel pair of rails across wooded ties for the passenger and freight iron horse trains to ride.
To traverse in Northern. Central and Southern Maine when railroads opened up the Great Maine woods. And small, vibrant mill towns sprung up along their network of railway junctions and free trade opened up to load up the log lengths on the flat bed cars linked, pulled by laboring locomotives of steam power, then diesel engines.
The trip to the woods camp took considerably longer and a weekend zip trip up and back easy.
Like Interstate 95 allows today but that was more of a commitment, a greater strain to the hardy men and woman, boys and girls with more stamina yesteryear.
But the bounty harvested was the goal, not just the recreational pursuit to escape the day to day of a small Maine town landscape. Traded in for the wind in the pines, vibrating and humming to make you realize you were by yourself. With the birds serenading, the wildlife sharing their playground with all who took the time to venture into their special spot in Maine.
On the way to Moosehead, Jo Merry, North Twin, Chamberlain and Eagle Lakes, to hunting camps in the Allagash wilderness waterways are nothing new to local Mainers.
Who have made the trips more times than they can count or who can ever remember not their first time outing to the North Maine woods. And for a century or longer, the sporting camps for the rich and famous and average Joe with blue collar alike have catered to those seeking the solitude of the woods of Maine. Serving folks with hospitality, all those seeking the same refuge to collect their thoughts. To spend time alone and with sporting buddies and family, friends to make memories, To follow and pass on the tradition. For big feeds, fellowship and time in the forests of Maine, maybe with a foray into Canada for the two nation vacation in the fir, pines, hardwood stands infested with wildlife. Do you like to spend time in the North Maine woods?
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MOOERS REALTY 69 North Street Houlton Maine 04730 USA