May 20-23

West Branch of the Penobscot River from Lobster Lake to Chesuncook Village.


Expedition is now full-


The aim of this trip is to bring together some of the participants in our First Light Learning Journey, both land trust and Wabanaki, to experience a small part of the Penobscot River together in a special way, and to create opportunity to get to know each other a bit better. The expedition is sponsored by the Quimby Family Foundation and First Light learning Journey. The trip, including the canoes, guides, tents and food, will all be provided without cost to participants. Participants need only to bring a sleeping bag and personal gear.


Here are all the details you will need to begin planning and preparing for this adventure.

First, we will be ably guided and supported by Mahoosuc Guide Services and led by Polly Mahoney.  Some of you already know Polly but here’s a nice piece about her.  For our trip, Polly will be assisted by two Penobscot guides, Jason Pardilla and Jennifer Neptune, and a young man, Grant Hawkes, as an extra helper.  Attached are some important documents for you to read (Summer Clothing List, and What to Expect on a Mahoosuc Canoe Trip). Two of them (Medical Questionnaire, and Release and Assumption of Risk) need to be filled out and returned to Polly. Thanks for your attention to these. Polly also needs to know if you prefer to bring any of your own gear (like tent and drybag) so they don’t overpack for us.

The plan is to meet at 7:30 am at the University Inn (5 College Ave in Orono) on Monday, May 20th. Our trip will return to this same location by 5:00 pm on May 23. For those travelling a long distance who will need to travel on Sunday night (May 19th), I’ve booked 10 rooms at the University Inn under the name First Light Learning Journey. Please reserve one of these rooms for yourself ( 207.866.4921 ) and we will pick up the cost. It would be great if you could look at the attendance list below and carpool as well as share a room at the University Inn, if that’s possible. Please book your room at the University Inn by May 5th.

Kevin and Polly asked me to share that ice will be out on the lake just before we arrive and salmon fishing could be fantastic.  Also, they ask for our patience and understanding as they ascertain the passability of access roads this early in the spring.  Our route down the west branch may shift depending on extent of mud season.  We will know our exact itinerary on May 15th.


This expedition is one of many ways we are bringing together Native and non-Native conservationists to build trust and relationships and to have conversations about land. Our goal is to enjoy the river together, and to lay more foundations that will allow us to collaborate and share resources in the future.

Please email Peter Forbes with any questions


List of Participants

Kristin Peetkpeet@fsmaine.orgForest Society of Maine
Susan Caldwellscaldwell@tnc.orgNature Conservancy
Molly Payne-Wynnemolly.paynewynne@tnc.orgNature Conservancy
Christopher Sockalexischris.sockalexis@penobscotnation.orgPenobscot Nation
Jerry Bleyjbley@gwi.netIndependent consultant
Hans Carlsonhans@bluehillheritagetrust.orgBlue Hill Heritage Trust
Tom Duffustduffus@conservationfund.orgConservation Fund
Tim Shaytimjamesshay@yahoo.comNibezun, Penobscot Nation
Kerry Hardykh.2wheels@gmail.comVinalhaven Land Trust
Richard Silliboyrichard.silliboy@myfairpoint.netHoulton Band of Maliseet
Ciona Ulbrichculbrich@mcht.orgMaine Coast Heritage Trust
Carol Danacaroldana52@gmail.comPenobscot Nation
Lucy McCarthylucy.d.mccarthy@gmail.comMaine Coast Heritage Trust
Charlie BrownChris.Francis@penobscotnation.orgPenobscot Nation
Fred Coreyfcorey@micmac-nsn.govAroostook Band of Micmac
Dale Mitchelldalem@wabanaki.comPassamaquoddy Nation
Rena Newellrena@wabanaki.comPassamaquoddy Nation
Peter ForbesPeter@peterforbes.orgFirst Light Learning Journey

Tentative Itinerary:

May 20 Day 1

  • 8 a.m. Meet at University Inn in Orono, ME.
  • Transport (approximately 3 ½ hours) by van to Lobster Stream.
  • Paddle up Lobster Stream and camp on Lobster Lake.

May 21

  • Canoe West Branch of the Penobscot River
  • Camp at Smith’s Halfway House or Big Island.

May 22

  • Canoe West Branch of the Penobscot River.
  • Camp at Boom House (near Chesuncook Village).

May 23:

  • Canoe West Branch to Chesuncook Lake
  • Take out at Chesuncook Village.
  • Tour village.
  • Van transport back to Orono – ETA 4-5 p.m.