May 11, 1966: The Maine Legislature passes the Allagash Wilderness Waterway statute, providing protection for northern Maine’s Allagash River, contingent on passage of a bond issue intended to supply funding for the protection.

Maine voters approve the bond on Nov. 8.

In 1970, the U.S. Department of the Interior designates the 92-mile, northward-flowing waterway as the first state-run component of the National Wild and Scenic River System.

The 19th-century writer Henry David Thoreau explored the Allagash in 1857 in the company of his Concord, Massachusetts, friend Edward Hoar and Penobscot guide Joseph Polis.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at He can be contacted at:

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