The Katahdin Woods & Waters Scenic Byway Corridor Partnership Plan identifies locations and systems that require additional investment in infrastructure. Improvements are planned to be undertaken in phases, with gateway and destination areas deserving early priority. Long views with a “wow” factor and access to high value recreation opportunities (water access, trailheads, etc.) have also been identified as important for early consideration. Investments are being distributed along the Byway to assure a consistent level of interest and quality throughout development of its infrastructure.
This will be accomplished, in part, by enhancing the visitor experience along the Byway through the development of Byway infrastructure and amenities such as those described in this proposal. Improvements will encourage visitors to stay, explore, and return. In addition to the hundreds who will visit the Byway annually, Katahdin-area residents and businesspeople numbering in the thousands will also benefit.
The 2015 Katahdin Woods & Waters Scenic Byway Improvement Project will develop four strategically located, off-road parking areas and improve a trail segment adjacent to the Byway at scenic locations along the Grindstone Road on the East Branch of the Penobscot River, a “Class A” section of pristine river above which there is no history of industry, and an easily accessible moose habitat and viewing site at River Pond on the Golden Road that provides unequaled views of Mount Katahdin.
This project will involve activities such as pruning limbs and removing trees to enhance views, clearing minor vegetation along the existing driveway, clearing and pruning overgrown trailside vegetation, and renovating trail surfaces. Amenity enhancements will include improving observation paths, grading the parking area and entrance drive, adding gravel to improve the driveway and parking, log and granite benches, entrance signage, interpretive trail signs as well as site safety and general information signage.
Members of the KTP Steering Committee will engage other Katahdin-area community members to volunteer their time to work alongside members of the Maine Conservation Corps during project execution. The KTP will seek donations of materials, supplies, and services from local businesses to further support completion of this project.
By enhancing the visitor experience along the Byway through the development of Byway infrastructure and amenities, this project will help strengthen the tourism industry in the greater Katahdin region and stimulate the local economy with residents and businesses in the Millinocket, East Millinocket, and Medway areas of Penobscot County benefitting most directly. Additionally, this project will help build a more diverse tourism audience by attracting the experiential traveler who is more interested in touring than “black diamond” recreation. An improved visitor experience for this traveler will result in extended stays, return visits, and increased revenues for local businesses.
The Golden Road and the Grindstone Road are used not only by travelers, but also is routinely used by logging trucks. For example, visitors may notice moose in the River Pond and pull to the side of the roadway to observe them, although the road’s shoulder does not provide enough space for cars to pull off the road altogether. With cars lined up and people wandering along the roadside, there is not adequate clearance for passing traffic, which creates a significant hazard. This project will provide safe areas for motorists to park and enjoy scenic views.
Bringing representatives from Katahdin-area communities together to work on joint efforts exemplifies one way in which the KTP is nurturing new ways of thinking and community-building. Engaging people to reach across geographic borders in an effort to work toward a common goal of creating economic opportunity for the region and linking individual communities to the whole region, which will be instrumental in evolving the local economy without mills as anchors.
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands
Maine Forest Service
Maine Department of Transportation
Penobscot County Government
Katahdin Timberlands LLC
H.C. Haynes, Inc.
Upper Valley Economic Corporation
New England Outdoor Center
Site location visuals and maps:
2015 Katahdin Woods & Waters Scenic Byway Turnouts Project Maps
Project Details/Maine Conservation Corps Involvement
1. River Pond Observation Area
Project Objective: remove Golden Road safety hazard by improving a designated public turnout with parking and trails
MCC: (1) tree removal and limb pruning to enhance scenic views, (2) create observation paths
2. River Pond Nature Trail
Project Objective: renovate overgrown parking area, trailhead, and Moose Walk trail
MCC: (1) clear/prune trailside overgrown vegetation, (2) minor vegetation clearing along existing driveway, (3) walking trail surface renovation
3. Grindstone Overlook
Project Objective: open up and improve riverfront access on this publicly owned piece of land
MCC: (1) prune vegetation along edges of riverfront and parking areas, (2) improve existing shoreline access paths and create new connectors, (3) general site clean-up/removal of branches/dead trees, (4) construct a basic timber-frame picnic shelter
4. Big Pines Scenic River View
Project Objective: renovate overgrown parking area and riverfront spur trail
MCC: None, although improvements at this site are included as part of the overall project, the work will be done entirely by volunteers as part of the KTP’s in-kind contribution.