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- Allagash River Fly Fishing: 3 days on the Allagash River with Fishing Guide Norman Marquis One of the United States most idyllic waterways runs through the remote regions Maine’s vast North Woods. Now protected under the national “Wild and Scenic Waterway” program, the Allagash River has provided Native Americans and settlers alike with the transportation and sustenance for millennia. Fly Fishing with Norman Marquis is much more than a “how-to” lesson. History, biology, philosophy and psychology are the topics at hand, all delivered with a no-nonsense attitude that makes fishing with Norman such an endearing event.
- Maine Potato Blossom Festival Summer in Aroostook County peaks in the third week of July as the potato plants bloom. For visitors the sight is a rare treat, with fields rolling into the horizon covered with tiny pinkish purple and white blossoms. What better reason could there be to have a celebration? This is a marvelous way to present the colorful characters that make up Aroostook County. Carnival rides, agricultural displays, tractor pulling contests and — not to be missed — the Mashed Potato wrestling contest.
- Every year towns in “The County” release students from school for 2 weeks in September/October to pick potatoes for the Potato Harvest. Parents often take their children to pick potatoes as a “life’s lesson on the value of a hard day’s work”. As farming is a big part of life and the economy in Northern Maine, it might be nice to highlight how people use the tools at their disposal to teach lessons to their children.
- Arctic Char Preservation There is no road to Big Reed Pond, just a lightly used trail. The forest directly beside the pond is the largest remaining old-growth forest in New England, a jewel of The Nature Conservancy. Arctic char require such pristine waters. The ancient fish can thrive alongside brook trout but not alongside many other species, such as smelt. Frank Frost is a state Inland Fisheries biologist charged with helping to revive the Arctic Char. “I think a lot of people in the state know about them or have heard about them. They have a mysterious mystique, especially with the color of the fish, the brilliant orange,” Frost said. “They just glow. They’re almost fluorescent.” Igor and Karen Sikorsky, owners of The Bradford Camps on nearby Munsungan Lake, fly in supplies by float plane and fly out what char were caught at Big Reed Pond. Igor Sikorsky said they have a stake in the project, as a robust wild char population would again draw fly fishermen to their rustic fishing lodge at Big Reed. State biologists began trapping what char remained in the pond and bringing the fish to a private hatchery near Fort Kent with the hope the wild fish would spawn in captivity. At Mountain Springs Trout Farm, Gary Picard slowly got the wild char to eat hatchery food, grow stronger and finally spawn with great success last fall. This spring, 1,150 fry just inches long are growing fast and are on track to be released back into the wild next spring.
- Crown of Maine Balloon Festival August brings Balloonists from all over the United States to Northern Maine. Golden hour light and myriad colors make this segment a visual hyperbole. Music and natural sound accompany images of the festival on the ground and aloft.
- When the snow melts in Northern Maine, these world-class Nordic ski venues become world-class mountain bike venues. Riders from New England and Canada enjoy some of the best single track riding in the Eastern United States. After a high-energy work out on the roots and rocks, riders leave the trails for a guided tour with Fresh Track Adventures to stretch out on the secondary roads and improved woods roads that highlight the charms of Northern Maine.
- Cultural Cuisine: During the 2004 Games, the Bouchard family of Fort Kent prepared more than 1,500 ploys for the event staff. Other regional delectables include fresh maple syrup, fiddleheads and homemade pies. Highlighting the natural beauty of the St. John region (see Jeff’s ideas), along with the feeling one gets from eating a delicious freshly cooked regional meal, might be a powerful draw.
- Erwin Muller is a 74-year-old German ex-patriot who left Germany in 1959 for the United States and has never returned. Muller has lived in northern Aroostook County since 1972, and is a gruff man who enjoys his life outside the power grid. In 2004, retired game Warden, Gary Pelletier asked Muller to help translate and host the German biathlon team and television crew. Muller reluctantly agreed and a wonderful reunion ensued.
- Thoreau’s Maine Woods Henry David Thoreau was a champion of the pristine forests of Northern Maine, travelling extensively throughout the area in the mid 19th century. His writings and observations are as relevant now as they were then. Selected passages from his writings accompany breathtaking HD footage of Northern Maine, from the slopes of Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park, to the shimmering remote lakes that dot the evergreen expanse. Aerial footage provides high production value and dramatic vistas at the height of the fall foliage display. Hikers on trails wind through hardwood ridges and moss covered stream crossings. Moose and other wildlife are evident throughout this segment.
- Thanks to its proximity to Canada and climate similar to that of northern Europe, Northern Maine boasts a population from all corners of the globe. And although many are born in the U.S., they do not speak English as their first language. Walk through Fort Kent or other towns in the County and you’ll be met with multi-lingual signs and a multicultural population to go along with it. This deep sense of multiculturalism creates a unique identity for residents of the county.