Many Mainers would never consider trekking into some of the most remote parts of the state and camping out during the winter.
For others, doing just that is part of a winter tradition shared with friends and family members.
And for them, and important date is approaching, according tot he Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (boy, did I like it better before the mega-merger of those three departments, when I could get away with just saying “Department of Conservation.”)
On Dec. 8, registration for campgrounds in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway will open. Interested campers should arrive at Chamberlain Bridge ranger station before 8 a.m. to make sure they get a site, the DACF advises.
In all, 48 campsites at Chamberlain Bridge and Kellogg Brook will be allotted on a first-come, first-served basis until those campgrounds are full, according to a DACF press release. State officials say the campgrounds may be filled by noon on Dec. 8.
So, why do folks flock to Chamberlain Bridge to secure a coveted campsite? The answer is simple: They love to ice fish.
“These unique winter campsites offer extraordinary access to some great winter ice fishing,” AWW superintendent Matthew LaRoche said in a press release. “We have visitors who return year after year to enjoy the beauty, camaraderie and winter sport that this part of Maine offers.”
According to the release, campsites can be rented for $50 per month (plus a 7 percent meal and lodging tax). Eight sites are reserved in the parking lot at Chamberlain Bridge for “transient use.” The cost of those sites: $4 per person per night for Maine residents, $8 for nonresidents. Water access sites on the lakes are available for use in the winter as well, with the same fee structure.
At the Chamberlain Bridge and Kellogg Brook campgrounds, the AWW will provide public drinking water and vault toilets, and will plow the parking lot. Those wishing to use the campgrounds to access other waters are in luck: A groomed snowmobile trail is marked from the parking lot at the south end of Chamberlain Lake to Round Pond and Telos Lake, according to the press release.
If you need more information, contact the Allagash Wilderness Waterway staff at 695-3721, extension 4, or call 941-4014.