Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Tim Caverly has lived the charmed life of a Maine woodsman. And in his third career, he's sharing the stories from it.
Caverly worked as a state park ranger for 32 years, with 18 spent on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. He then went on to work in the Millinocket school system, but soon left to devote himself full-time to the work of publishing books about the Allagash.
Caverly now gives talks around New England on the subject.
As a longtime supervisor of this federally -- and state-protected National Wild and Scenic River, Caverly knows the waterway intimately, as well as some of the adventures that have occurred on it.
"It's bigger than I ever imagined," Caverly said about the hold the Allagash has on people.
"I leave these talks with more stories than I go with. So many people have had a special experience on the Allagash."
The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is a 92-mile stretch of wild river through northern Maine that was protected by the Maine Legislature in 1966. Protection was enhanced by the federal government in 1970 when it was named a National Wild and Scenic River.
Caverly's first book, "Allagash Tails," is a children's book published three years ago about an adventurous beaver and intrepid merganser that live on the river. The next three books for children and young adult audiences are fictional tales based on real-life wilderness adventures.
He plans to release a fifth book this fall called "Headin' North," his first for adults. To date he has 19,000 books in print, sold in bookstores across the country.
But it's sharing these tales in talks across Maine that Caverly enjoys most.
When Caverly spoke in Cumberland's Prince Memorial Library last week, just a half-dozen hikers showed to hear his talk. Two had taken the canoe trip and five others were curious about the remote, protected waterway.
He mixes into his fictional tales the history of the old tram, parts of which still exist in the forest along the Allagash, and the trains that used to run for logging operations, the remains of which also stand in the North Maine Woods.
Caverly explains the striations on rocks along the riverway; the common encounters with moose; the big holes where sizeable wild brook trout can be found.
"These are not made-up things. The one thing that can be said about the Maine woods, you don't have to make up stories," Caverly said.
Until recently, Caverly had shared the talk only in schools -- nearly 100. But now he's catering the wilderness stories for adult audiences.
Caverly's Allagash books and historic talk were started as a business venture. But really it's just his way to share what he knows and loves best: Maine's North Woods.
"There is a real connection between the Allagash and a lot of people," he said.
Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at: