The Allagash - Winter Campground Registration|
By Matt LaRoche
Winter is a great time to enjoy the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW)!
Registration for the winter campgrounds at Chamberlain Thoroughfare Bridge and Kellogg Brook takes place annually on the second Saturday in December. This year’s registration day will be on December 9th. The AWW will begin the registration process at 8:00 a.m., at the Chamberlain Bridge shop, but rangers will open the shop doors at 6:00 a.m., so that people can get out of the cold.
Campsites are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. People usually start lining up outside the shop at about midnight so they can get the site they want. The waterway has 40 sites available at the Chamberlain parking lot and 8 sites available at Kellogg Brook. There have always been enough sites to accommodate the demand, but a few years reservations have been very close to capacity. Last year, we had 43 sites reserved for the entire season on registration day.
The site rental fee is $75.00 per month for Maine residents and $100.00 per month for nonresidents, plus the 9% state meals and lodging tax. Most people pay the fee for the entire winter at the time of registration.
The first-day registration gathering in the shop is a lot like homecoming. Most of the people that stay at the campground are seasoned outdoorsmen and women, they have been coming for years, and know each other very well. They all catchup with each other while waiting for the appointed time. The major topic of discussion is usually the deer season and that big buck that somehow slipped away without a shot being fired. Hot coffee and cookies will be available for all to enjoy during the gathering. My wife, Ruth makes some awesome molasses cookies that she brings up for the event every year!
The campgrounds give people a basecamp on the south end of the waterway. Fishermen have access to some of the most famous lakes for ice fishing in the State of Maine. Places like: Chamberlain, Telos, Eagle, Churchill and Allagash Lakes. These lakes have healthy populations of native brook trout, togue, whitefish and cusk.
The campgrounds are maintained by waterway staff during the winter. The camping area and day use parking lot are kept plowed, the snowmobile trails to Chamberlain and Telos Lakes are marked and groomed, public drinking water and vault privies are available for the public, all winter.
Water access campsites on the waterway are also available for the pubic to use during the winter. These sites are less used than the winter campground but many are located near some of the best fishing locations on the lakes. These sites are subject to the same fees and rules as summer use.
Rangers keep the area patrolled during the winter and are available to assist visitors when needed. The AWW is a remote area, and winter can be a dangerous time for the inexperienced or unprepared visitor. Every winter, rangers and wardens get called out to look for someone that did not return from a day of fishing on one of the waterway headwater lakes. To help rangers/wardens find you in the event of an emergency, visitors are urged to tell someone where they are going and what time they plan to return.
Nugent’s Camps and other area sporting camps are available for winter visitors who desire more comfortable overnight accommodations. Go to: www.mainesportingcamps.com for the contact information for these camps.
The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is managed by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Bureau of Parks and Lands.
Give me a call at (207)-695-3721 x3 if you have any questions about winter camping or use of the waterway.
For general information on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, go to: www.maine.gov/allagash for an information packet call 207-941-4014; or write to the Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry’s Bureau of Parks and Lands, 106 Hogan Road, Bangor, ME 04401.
Waterway Notes: The bag limits for Eagle and Churchill Lakes have been increased for 2018. Consult the fishing law book or go to: www.maine.gov/ifw to view these changes.
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