River

Recreation and Land Opportunities on the Penobscot River

Named for the Native American tribe, the Penobscot River has a history as a colonial trade route and the delivery system for the logging industry in Maine during the hay-day of river driving. With its 4 branches and main stem it is reported to be about 350 miles long. The Penobscot originates from large northern Maine lakes and drains an immense area of northern Maine. Several other river system drain into the Penobscot such as the Mattawamkeag River, the Piscataquis River and the Passadumkeag River. One could spend a lifetime exploring the Penobscot and its many branches.

The north and south branches are in a remote wilderness part of Maine. Getting there requires a long drive over access controlled logging roads. The land owner association that owns these roads charges a nominal fee at the gates managed by North Maine Woods (www.northmainewoods.org) and also maintains many camp site locations along these stretches of river which they also charge a small fee for. This is a scenic area that will appeal to hikers and photographers. The river has a wild population of brook trout and landlocked salmon. The ruffed grouse hunting in this part of main is legendary. The north and south branches feed into the West Branch. This area is mostly owned by large institutional landowners. You can't find much land to buy here unless you are in the market for the occasionally offered township.

 

Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater Rafting

 

The West Branch of the Penobscot is THE whitewater river in Maine. The river segment beginning at McKay Station in the Ripogenus Gorge to Debsconeag Falls has a commercial rafting industry that thrills thousands every year. This section of river is also world known for its challenging fly fishing for wild landlocked salmon. This area is also mostly owned by large landowners and with much conservation easement you will rarely find any property for sale in this section with the exception of a few camps or cabins on leased land.

 

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Fly fishing the West Branch Penobscot

 

The upper reaches of the East Branch of the Penobscot is wild brook trout heaven. This section is a very scenic canoeing hotspot with views of Mount Katahdin and the other nearby mountains. Those canoeing this section should plan ahead for portages around a few tricky falls. Buyers looking for a camp or home site can occasionally find land for sale at the lower end of the East Branch.

The West and East Branches of the Penobscot come together in Medway to form the main stem of the river. From this point to the Atlantic Ocean is where you will find many small and large land parcels for sale. Prices here will vary greatly depending on the quality of the waterfront. From Medway to Old Town the river is noted as one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries in the United States. The river still has a small protected run of Atlantic salmon, sorry no fishing allowed for them at this time. A recent restoration project in the Bangor area has breached a number of old dams and has reopened the river to runs of shad, alewives and other anadromous species. This segment of the river is also a great spot for boating including trips from Bangor to the open ocean.

The Penobscot River is my favorite Maine river. If you come to Maine to buy land or just to enjoy the outdoors be sure to put it on your list of places to visit.

 

Recreation Destination - West Branch Penobscot River

 

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West Branch Penobscot River Near Telos Road

 

Today was one of those bitter, cold, I want to stay inside kind of days in Maine. So I had a little day dream of one of my favorite places, the West Branch of the Penobscot River. It flows out of Seboomook Lake just north of Moosehead Lake. This section of the river is extremely remote and is accessed by private logging roads from either the Rockwood area or though the Katahdin Region via Millinocket. There is no need to give you directions just pick up a copy of the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer. I never drive into remote sections of Maine without it. Most of the real estate in this region of Maine is owned by large timberland owners who rarely sell, so finding a recreational property to purchase may not be possible. The good news for outdoors people, these owners do allow access to their lands through the North Maine Woods organization with manned gated checkpoints. They will charge reasonable road use and camping fees so have a little cash with you when you enter the woods. Fishing is good for landlocked salmon in the pools below the dam on Seboomook. Be careful wading the river is deep and fast in places. A canoe can be launched and a wilderness canoe trip from here to Hanibal's Crossing on the Golden Road would make for a great outing. From the crossing the West Branch flows though remote forest to Chesuncook Lake where moose and deer are more plentiful than people. Expect to see them wading in the shallows around a bend in any of the slower river sections.

 

Rafting in Maine

Rafting in Maine

 

The next section of the West Branch begins at McKay Station below Ripogenous Dam. This is the most popular and busy section of the river. This is where many white water rafting and kayaking enthusiasts begin their journey. This is no place for a canoe! Fishing is possible around the power station and occasionally a lunker landlocked salmon is caught here. The whitewater begins immediately below the station and is an exciting experience if you are brave enough to give it a try. The steep canyon walls and rapids through this section make fishing difficult to impossible. The water flattens out briefly at Little Eddy and can be fished from shore with careful wading or from a canoe. This is fly fishing only water from the dam to the bridge at Telos Road and the landlocked salmon need to be 26 inches or longer to be kept with trophy fish caught every year.

The West Branch from Rip Dam to Ambajejus Lake is probably the most scenic section of the river with Mount Katahdin towering above it. The gorge near the dam has a rough trail along the north river bank. Great views of the river and its steep canyon walls along this trail make it worth bringing your camera. Paddlers will be challenged by some of the most technical whitewater in Maine with some class 4 and 5 rapids just before the Big Eddy.

 

Fly Fishing West Branch Maine

Fly Fishing West Branch Maine

 

There is a wilderness campground run by the Chewonki Foundation at the Big Eddy. This can be accessed by car from the Golden Road out of Millinocket. The campground has plenty of sites for campers, tents and a few cabins are available. You can also get a hot shower if you have been in the wilderness for several days.

Below the Big Eddy a series of rapids and dead waters meander through the woods before the river flows into the Pemadumcook Chain of Lakes at Ambajejus Lake. Along the way you pass the southern boundary of Baxter State Park, the Appalachian Trail and many good camping spots. Leaving the lakes at North Twin Dam, the West Branch flows through a series of ponds and dams, around the town of Millinocket and East Millinocket eventually meeting the East Branch to form the main stem of the Penobscot River in Medway. The adventurous angler will enjoy some secret landlocked salmon spots and truly remarkable smallmouth bass fishing in the small stump filled ponds.

 

Landlocked Salmon

Landlocked Salmon

 

Come to the West Branch this year and enjoy the outdoors. A couple of notes before you get here. The upper river water levels can change quickly below the dams so use caution when wading the river. The State of Maine has a ban on transporting firewood in hopes to stop the spread of invasive insects like the Emerald Ash Borer and others. Do us a favor and buy your campfire wood at the camp sites. Finally, if you are bringing a boat and motor and waders, be sure to property clean them to prevent the spread of invasive plants and organisms. Maine has been fortunate to avoid many of the pests that have plagued other areas of the U.S.

If you are looking for a property in the West Branch Region, land, home or camp, check out the listing on this site or at United Country McPhail Realty

If you are new to the area and want an expert to show you the river and other secrets of this part of Maine, click HERE to contact our favorite Master Maine Guide.

Maine Waterfront Real Estate Market in Full Recovery

In 2006 and 2007 Maine experienced the hottest waterfront market in history.  Ocean, lake, pond and river properties for sale were benefiting from the boom of real estate values in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and the rest of New England.  Out of state buyers were flocking to Maine with cash from home equity loans on their primary residences.

In 2011 the waterfront market bottomed out based on the number of sold transactions.  Since 2011 we have seen a slow but steady increase in the number of single family waterfront transactions per year.  For example, in 2014 Penobscot County had seen an 80% increase in the number of sold transactions compared to 2011.

Maine Bold Coast

What are some of the causes for the increase in the number of Maine waterfront properties sold?

  1. Record high levels of available inventory. Buyers have had a great selection of properties to choose from.
  2. Prices are at the most affordable levels since the great recession started. Some locations are seeing properties selling for 25% less than the peak values of 2006-2007.
  3. Record low interest rates. Current 30 year fixed rates are under 4%.
  4. Record Stock Market Levels. Buyers are taking stock market gains and investing in Maine waterfront property.
  5. Pent up demand. Buyers are starting to see the changing tide in the Maine waterfront market and are getting off the fence to take advantage of these conditions.

Why buy now?

Buyer activity for the winter months of 2015 has been the strongest we've seen at United Country McPhail Realty since 2007.

New listings coming on the market for the first two months of 2015 are down 11% compared to 2014 and down 7% compared to 2013.

If you are a buyer that has been sitting on the fence watching Maine waterfront for sale, timing is everything.  The balance of supply and demand is moving away from oversupply to a more balanced market.  These conditions will help to provide an upward pressure on values, especially on those waterfront properties that are priced aggressively and have the popular features buyers are looking for.

Maine Lakes and Ponds

If you are an owner looking to sell your waterfront property, it is more critical than ever to hire the right Realtor.  What makes for the best waterfront realtor?  The following are some of the criteria to consider:

  1. A real estate company with a strong online marketing program that focuses on lifestyle property types. A generic, cookie cutter, one size fits all marketing program will not work well.
  2. A company with a strong print advertising campaign designed to reach buyers of lifestyle properties. Another part of a strong foundation. Affluent buyers still like to read print.
  3. A brokerage that understands SEO and can help your property stand out from the crowd. It takes more than just a standard web site to be found first among the many.
  4. A real estate company with a large database of buyers that can be marketed to from day one.
  5. A real estate company that is part of an international network of lifestyle brokers.
  6. A real estate company with years of experience that understands the best marketing, pricing and negotiating strategies to best serve their client's needs.
  7. A real estate company that is continually staying on the cutting edge of new marketing ideas and technology.

For a free, no obligation consultation, give the United Country McPhail Realty team a call at 207-794-4338 to see the power of a custom lifestyle marketing program for your Maine waterfront property.

Piscataquis Overlook

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The 5.74+- acre lot is situated along Maine's Piscataquis River.  This surveyed parcel has public road access and is just 5 minutes away from I-95, yet is quite private and quiet.  The property has 1200+- feet of river frontage and sits high on a bank overlooking the Piscataquis River.

 

Driveway Entrance

Driveway Entrance

 

 

The lot has been soil tested and there is plenty of room to build a river front home or cottage.  The lot is heavily treed with a mixed growth of softwood and hardwood species.  Tracks of deer, moose and other forest creatures have been seen on outings to the property.

 

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Hard Fighting Smallmouth Bass

 

 

 

 

The lower portion of the property that extends to the river's edge benefits from heavy spring runoff which has deposited nutrient rich soil along the river's edge.  This area in the month of May erupts in green growth of one of Maine's wild delicacies, the fiddlehead.  This fern emerges as temperatures rise and waters recede and are a delicious and nutritious delicacy.  The waters of the river are home to many fish species from brook trout to smallmouth bass.

 

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Matteuccia struthiopteris - aka ostrich fern or fiddlehead

 

The property benefits from being located close to I-95 which makes it very accessible.  It is just 30 minutes from Bangor, ME with its shopping opportunities, world class health care found at Eastern Maine Medical Center and a multitude of dining opportunities.  Bangor International Airport makes travel to far off destinations convenient.  Educational opportunities abound at The University of Maine located just 25 minutes away.

This property is waiting for you to make it your home.  Convenient, quiet and pristine, the Piscataquis Overlook is available for you.  Call today and make this Piscataquis river front lot your new home.