Statewide events to celebrate 150th anniversary of Thoreau’s ‘The Maine Woods’

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau’s famous book “The Maine Woods,” and in celebration of this milestone, events and programs will be held throughout the state in the weeks to come.

TWT Festival brochure - 2014The 8th Annual Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail Festival will run July 24-27, in Greenville, and will include a guided hike up Mount Kineo, a program on Wabanaki basketmaking, a presentation on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, a children’s program on Maine wildlife and a steamship cruise into “The Maine Woods.”

Also, Scot Miller, an award-winning  photographer and videographer, will present his program “Thoreau’s Maine Woods: A Photographer’s Story” at 7 p.m. in Millinocket, Greenville, Bangor, and Portland on the following dates :

  • July 24, Baxter State Park Headquarters, Millinocket
  • July 25, Center for Moosehead History, Pritham Avenue, Greenville
  • July 28, CoeSpace, 48 Columbia St., Bangor
  • July 29, University Events Room, USM Glickman Library, 314 Forest Ave., Portland
BDN photo by Gabor Degre. Paddlers make their way south on the Penobscot River May 15, 2014, on the 13th day of the Thoreau-Wabanaki 150th Anniversary Tour.

BDN photo by Gabor Degre. Paddlers make their way south on the Penobscot River May 15, 2014, on the 13th day of the Thoreau-Wabanaki 150th Anniversary Tour.

Miller spent seven years photographing northern Maine, from Bangor to Fort Kent, focusing on where Thoreau explored and wrote about.

“It’s worth knowing about the Maine Woods that were, and the Maine Woods that are,” Miller wrote in his 2013 book “Thoreau, the Maine Woods: A Photographic Journey Through An American Wilderness.”

Miller’s programs are sponsored by the Friends of Baxter State Park as part of a series on Wilderness and Nature-based Tourism. Maine Woods Forever is a co-sponsor.  All are free and open to the public.

the-maine-woodsIn “The Maine Woods,” Thoreau relates his three excursions to Maine in the 1840s and 50s, including his attempt to climb Maine’s tallest mountain.

“The tops of mountains are among the unfinished parts of the globe, whither it is a slight insult to the gods to climb and pry into their secrets, and try their effect on our humanity,” Thoreau wrote. “Only daring and insolent men, perchance, go there.”

His adventures in Maine are commemorated by the Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail, established in 2007. The water trail consists of traditional Wabanaki canoe routes and portages in Maine’s Kennebec, Penobscot and Allagash river drainages which Thoreau traveled in his three Maine excursions, his last two with Penobscot guides Chief Joseph Attean and Joseph Polis.

The trail “encourages understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of Maine’s unique cultural heritage and natural resources,” according to the trail website,

“These Wabanaki canoe routes that Thoreau traveled have been used for thousands of years, and they’re still available to us today,” said Paul Johnson, member of Maine Woods Forever. “We can go out and experience what Thoreau did, for the most part, around Moosehead and the West Branch, the Allagash and the East Branch … we hope that in another 150 years, these things will still be here; and with the stewardship of resources, they will be.”

The Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail Festiva is sponsored by The Natural Resource Education Center at Moosehead, the Moosehead Historical Society, Maine Woods Forever, the Shaw Public Library and the Moosehead Marine Museum.



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Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at