North Maine Woods

Frequently asked Questions:

Q. What are the fees to visit North Maine Woods and how are the fees assessed?

North Maine Woods is a private, non-profit organization that manages public use of the private forest lands within the northwestern part of Maine.  All of the roads in this region are private and fees are charged.  NMW was established by the 30 or more private landowning companies to keep this region open to public use.  Fees charged cover operations and NMW does not receive any public financial support. 
NMW charges a day use fee of $11 per person for residents and $16 per person per day for non-residents.
NMW also charges a camping fee of $12 per person per night for residents and $15 pp/pn for non-residents.   NMW camping fees also require payment of 9% Maine Sales Tax.  
There are nearly 350 campsite locations on the private lands within the North Maine Woods region.
NMW does not charge visitors under age 18 day use or camping fees.
NMW does not charge senior citizens age 70 and older day use fees.

Q. What are the fees for using the Allagash Wilderness Waterway or the Penobscot River Corridor?

A. Within the 3.5 million acre North Maine Woods region, there are two river corridors owned by the State of Maine which are managed by Maine’s Bureau of Parks and Lands.  These are the Allagash Wilderness Waterway and the Penobscot River Corridor.  These areas are managed by the state and operations are subsidized financially from Maine’s general taxation fund.  The user fees for camping on these rivers are different from the fees charged by North Maine Woods.
There are no day use fees for use of the state managed lands. 
Overnight camping fees are $6.00 (plus 9% sales tax of .54) per person per night for residents and $12.00 (plus 9% sales tax of 1.08) per person per night for non- residents.
There are no camping fees on the AWW or PRC for visitors under 10 years of age.
    Where you will be required to travel over a private road through the North Maine Woods region to drive to either the Penobscot River Corridor or the Allagash River you may be required to pay a one day fee to North Maine Woods.  Depending on your exit point from these state managed lands, you may also be assessed a second day for the day you travel through the North Maine Woods to go home.  If you canoe the Allagash River and take out in the Town of Allagash- you will not be passing through the NMW at the end of your trip. If you canoe the PRC and take out at the south end of Chesuncook Lake you will not be passing through NMW at the end of your trip.
    Example for a 5 night stay for 2 Maine residents:  2 people x NMW day fee of $11= $22.  AWW camping fees for 5 nights x 2 people x $6.54 per night= $65.40.  Total for the trip is $87.40 unless you take out somewhere within NMW at the end of your trip.

Q. I am planning a trip down the Allagash this summer and wonder if you could point me toward someone to help organize transportation?  

A.  Please check this website.  Under Businesses Links on the homepage click on “Kayak/Canoe Shuttle.”  We only list license insured and reputable businesses to operate on the private roads in the NMW region.  Most of the businesses listed have websites and email addresses where you can ask for details and pricing.
There are various ways to arrange shuttle service:
- drive your vehicle to the Town of Allagash and have someone transport you upriver in their vehicle.  If you have nice vehicle and do not want to expose it to the dust, mud or sharp rocks that cause flat tires, this option may make sense.
- arrange for someone to drive your vehicle from your put in location and have it available at the end of the trip.
- more expense but possibly faster.  Drive to Allagash and have a float plane pick you up there and fly upriver to your put in point.  Seeing the river from the air can be rewarding.

Q. I am interested in owning a camp in the Maine woods.  Could I get information regarding camp lots that are for sale or lease?  I am also interested purchasing an existing camp or camp lease.

A.  We do not track camps or lease lots that are for sale- our responsibility is to manage public use and access of forest land in northwestern Maine for about 30 private landowners.  
    There are real estate agents listed on our website at that specialize in camp listings.   Another potential source of information is local newspapers serving Greenville, Millinocket, Presque Isle or Fort Kent- depending on what part of the Maine woods you are interested in.  There are also two outdoor magazines that have listing on real estate for sale in the Maine woods- the North Woods Sporting Journal or The Maine Sportsman.  
    Building a new camp in the Maine woods is very costly.  When landowners take land out of the tree growth tax program, there is an assessment by the state of several years back taxes that is passed onto the new lessee.  Roads or driveways, LUPC permits and building permit requirements can result in substantial costs (+$10,000) before the first nail is even driven.

Q. Do I need a fishing license and if so, where can I obtain one?

A. You will need to obtain a fishing license before entering the North Maine Woods area.  You can purchase them at many sporting goods stores including L. L. Bean’s, Cabela’s and Walmart and also on line at -  

Q. Where can we find the current water levels for the St. John, Allagash or Aroostook Rivers?

A. The flow rates for all Maine rivers can be found on the "Links" page located on this website's homepage.  Click "Links" and choose “Maine Water Flow Data” from the list of links.  You will see a map of Maine showing all of the main rivers and by clicking on the location of gauging station icons located on each river, real time flow information will be provided.

Q. I want to camp on Lobster Lake in July.  What facilities are at the campsites?

A. Lobster Lake is part of the Penobscot River Corridor which is managed by Maine’s Bureau of Parks and Lands.  Access to campsites is only possible by water- there is a boat launch and parking area on the outlet of the lake near the outlet’s junction with the West Branch of the Penobscot River.  It is an easy canoe paddle up stream to Lobster Lake from the boat launch site.
Campsites have tables, toilets, sites to pitch a tent and fireplaces with cooking grate. 

Q.  Are there day use or camping fees for veterans?

A.  Disabled veterans with a 50% disability as a result of serving in a combat zone receive complimentary day-use passes to North Maine Woods.  These are the same guidelines used by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife when issuing complimentary hunting and fishing licenses.  Camping fees would be required.

The Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW) was first established by the Maine Legislature in 1966.  Protection of the AWW was further enforced in 1970 when it became the first state-administered component of the National Wild and Scenic River System. The focus of the AWW is to preserve, protect, and enhance the natural beauty, character, and habitat of this unique watershed.  

The AWW is 92 miles long and consists of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams that meander through the heart of the North Maine Woods region.  Hundreds of boating, fishing, and canoeing enthusiasts visit the AWW each year.  If you would like more information on the AWW, please click HERE 

Trip Planning:
Before you plan your visit, please review the rules of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway by clicking HERE

Camping Fees for the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW):
The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry contracts with North Maine Woods, Inc. for the collection of AWW and PRC camping fees.  The fees below include the 9% Maine lodging tax, and fees can only be paid by cash or check upon entering a NMW checkpoint:     

Maine Resident: $6.54 per person/night (includes the 9% lodging tax)
Non-Resident: $13.08 per person/night (includes the 9% lodging tax)
Children under 10 years of age: Free Camping 

Camping Fees for the Penobscot River Corridor (PRC):

Maine Resident:  $6.54 per person/night (includes the 9% lodging tax)
Non-Resident:  $13.08 per person/night (includes the 9% lodging tax)
Children under 10 years of age:  Free Camping

Additional Fees:
In addition to camping, a one-time NMW day-use fee is charged for each person entering the AWW or PRC who exit the NMW region by canoe (EXAMPLE:  You finish your canoe trip in the town of Allagash or Ripogenous Dam on the PRC).  This is referred to as a “ONE-WAY” fee.    
If you enter the AWW or PRC and leave the North Maine Woods region by vehicle, a day-use fee will be charged for the day you enter the waterway and exit the waterway.  This is referred to as a “TWO-WAY” fee. (EXAMPLE:  You finish your trip at Michaud Farm and exit the NMW region via automobile through the Allagash Checkpoint).  

North Maine Woods Day-use Fees:
Maine Resident:  $10 /day
Non-Resident:  $15 /day
All persons under 18, and 70 and older: Free day-use

Examples of AWW Fee Calculations:
EXAMPLE 1:  A group of 4 Non-Residents between the ages of 15 and 69 are camping for 5 nights on the AWW and are taking out in the town of Allagash.

Based on a per-person fee, each individual would pay $13.08 X 5 nights camping + $15 (day-use fee “ONE WAY”) = $80.40 per person.  The TOTAL group (4 people) would pay $321.60

EXAMPLE 2:  A group consisting of 2 Maine Residents and 2 Non-Resident between the ages of 15 and 69 are camping for 3 nights and taking out at Michaud Farm.

Based on a per-person fee, each Maine Resident would pay $6.54 X 3 nights camping + $10 +$10 (day-use fee for 2 days “TWO-WAY”) = $39.62 per person.  Non-Residents would pay $13.08 X 3 nights camping + $15 + $15 (day-use fee for 2 days “TWO-WAY”) = $69.24 per person.  The total group would pay ($39.62 X 2) + ($69.24 X 2) = $217.72

Campsite Guides (North Maine Woods, Allagash Wilderness Waterway & KI Jo-Mary Multiple Use Forest)

These guides were developed to assist visitors in locating campsites within the 3.5 million acre North Maine Woods region, the 92 mile long Allagash Wilderness Waterway, and the 175,00 acre KI Jo-Mary Multiple-Use Forest.  Once downloaded each guide will enable you to locate Authorized campsite locations for each of these 3 regions.  (NOTE:  A fire permit is not required at Authorized campsite locations).  Please note that these guides are only intended for visual representation in hopes of helping you plan your next camping trip. For more information on camping in the North Maine Woods, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway or the KI Jo-Mary Multiple-Use Forest, please visit other sections of our website or call us at (207) 435-6213.

How to get started with the following guides:

You will need to have Google Earth installed on your computer to view these guides. Click here for the free Google Earth download. For help using Google Earth go to the Help Center.

Click here to launch the North Maine Woods Campsite Guide, which will automatically open in Google Earth. Once you have launched the Google Earth application you can click on any of the campsite icons or use the map layer menu to the left to navigate campsites by region.

Click here to launch the KI Jo-Mary Campsite Guide, which will automatically open in Google Earth. Once you have launched the Google Earth application you can click on any of the campsite icons or use the map layer menu to the left to navigate campsites by region.

Click here to launch the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Guide, which will automatically open in Google Earth. Once you have launched the Google Earth application you can click on any of the icons or use the map layer menu to the left for navigating campsites and points of interest along the waterway.

History of the North Maine Woods (NMW)

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Land Ownership

The current ownership of the North Maine Woods is complicated due in part to the historical events of the last two centuries. In about 1783, Maine and Massachusetts were one state and the area that is now Northern Maine was divided into six-mile square townships and sold at auction. By the time it became a separate state in 1820, over half of Maine (10 million acres) had been sold or granted. The remainder of the land was sold by 1878. In many cases, two or three people jointly purchased in common, and undivided, one or more townships. Over the years, the many heirs of those original buyers have further diversified the ownership.

An heir might have owned an undivided 15% of the whole township, that is 15% of every tree, rock, road, etc. Beginning around the turn of the century, some of the family owners began to sell their holdings to industrial landowners. Industrial ownerships increased during the 20th century while at the same time the remaining family ownerships were divided into smaller shares with each succeeding generation. The ownership is now a combination of private individual, private industrial and public interests. The complicated ownership by township is compounded as there are 155 townships within the NMW management area.

This diversified ownership pattern is the primary reason for the NMW organization. Recreational users of the area are guided by one set of uniform regulations and fees. Users do not have to obtain several permits or pay different user fees to many separate landowners.

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The concept of North Maine Woods evolved from a landowner committee organized in the mid 1960's to resolve differences between logging contractors over road use and maintenance. Log drives were ending and the major access road systems were expanding. As a result of the improved access, there was a significant increase in recreational traffic as more people took to the woods to hunt, fish and camp. Individual landowners began to establish their own control gates to manage these new pressures.

Unmanned gates were constructed as part of an agreement with the State of Maine to keep the number of access points to the Allagash Wilderness Waterway to a minimum. Other gates were erected at the request of U.S. Customs and Immigration to prohibit travellers from using the private road system as a shortcut between Maine and Quebec. During the 1970's travel within the interior of the area was restricted by as many as 26 unmanned locked gates.

Over the past thirty years, landowners have become comfortable with the knowledge that their property was safer inside the managed area and most interior gates were removed. The number of access points to the Allagash Wilderness Waterway is now controlled by regulation rather than gates. Today travel is possible throughout the entire area with only a few restrictions. This was accomplished through agreements made between adjacent landowners and between landowners and governmental agencies.

In the early 1970's NMW began as an association and assumed the operation of several checkpoints on the perimeter of the area. In 1975 the association changed to a partnership. NMW became a non-profit corporation under Maine law in 1981.

The North Maine Woods area has experienced two expansions. In 1985, the size of the managed area increased by three hundred thousand acres along the southwest border with the addition of lands surrounding Baker Lake and Wadleigh Pond. In 1999, another seven hundred thousand acre tract was added to the southern boundary to include property from Chesuncook Lake west to the Quebec border. These expansions have resulted in many unmanned steel gates being eliminated to allow sportsmen the ability to travel from Greenville, Rockwood or Millinocket all the way to Fort Kent or Ashland. Through economies of scale, these expansions also provided for cost efficiencies and user fee decreases for some categories.

Another change occurred in 1986 when North Maine Woods, Inc. was contracted by several other landowners to manage the 170,000 KI Jo-Mary Multiple Use Forest.

The landowners have coordinated the management of recreational use within the NMW area with state agencies. Visitor use information is shared with various agencies to aid them in planning. NMW has a contract with the Bureau of Parks & Land to collect Allagash Wilderness Waterway and Penobscot River Corridor user fees as visitors pass through the NMW checkpoints. This contract eliminates duplication of effort and expense and allows a visitor travelling to the park lands to register in only one place. Maintenance of campsites on some Public Reserved Lands is carried out by NMW under another contract with the Bureau of Parks & Lands. State Personnel serve on various NMW committees helping with the administration and planning for the organization.