18th Annual Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail Festival ties together Maine Woods traditions, July 24-26, 2024

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18th Annual Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail Festival ties together Maine Woods traditions, July 24-26, 2024

GREENVILLE — The 18th Annual Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail Festival takes place on East Cove, downtown
Greenville, on Moosehead Lake. Day and evening programs run Wednesday – Friday, July 24-26, 2024. The Festival
is preceded by a three-day cultural canoe-camping trip offered by the Penobscot Nation, Sunday – Tuesday, July 21-
23. This trip is great for the young or old, learning first-hand some of the traditions of Penobscot ways. For details,
visit: www.thoreauwabanaki.org. For further inquiries, contact: [email protected]. Evening programs will
be held at the Lakeside Loft & Event Center, East Cove, downtown Greenville.
Wednesday, July 24 opens the Festival in an afternoon spent with some of Maine’s top traditional
craftspeople, including Jerry Stelmok, Rollin Thurlow, and Alexandra Conover Bennett, all of whom ply their trade
right here in Piscataquis County and are masters of the Maine woods. The afternoon may include a fine example of
a Penobscot birch bark canoe. After the outdoor exhibition, these master builders will hold a panel presentation about their craft, with plenty of time for questions and answers, conversations about this practical art. Canoe and
paddle forms represent traditional styles that fit the waters of these North Woods.
That evening, Penobscot Guide Ryan Kelley presents “The Great Canoe Loop,” an extraordinary 1500-mile
canoe journey that took him and two others four months to complete last spring and summer. The journey, often
through grueling conditions, tells the story of the risks and rewards of mastering such a feat. They paddled across
great river systems, including through the Moosehead Lake Region, North Woods Wilderness Areas in the shadow
of Katahdin, down Rip Gorge and the Penobscot River. The Great Canoe Loop will be featured in a 2025 edition of
National Geographic. Come hear it first-hand here at Moosehead Lake.

On Thursday, July 25 the day is all “For the Birds!,” guided by Maine birding experts Bob Duchesne,
Alexandra Conover Bennett, and Kate Weatherby. Morning birding walks take participants along an easy path, led
by those who know this region. Maine Bird Atlas coordinator extraordinaire Kate Weatherby will be joined by
Duchesne and Bennett for an evening talk about Maine’s winning Bird Atlas and the status of the bird populations
here. Avid birders to backyard enthusiasts will find inspiration and knowledgeable exchange from this trio of
birders.
Friday, July 26 opens with a children’s guided morning walk near the school with local educators. The walk
includes learning about local trees, flowers, plants, and the smell of the woods. It is followed by an outdoor reading
of the award-winning “Many Hands, A Penobscot Story.” The festival closes with “The Thoreau-Polis Relationship to the Wabanaki Land Back Movement,” in the
dynamic scholarship of Dr. Darren J. Ranco. Professor Ranco traces the historical context of the relationship
between naturalist writer Henry David Thoreau and Penobscot Guide Joe Polis to today’s Wabanaki land
movement. He is the University of Maine’s Chair of Native American Programs and a member of the planning team
for the Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship.
The Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail Festival celebrates the ways of the Wabanaki and naturalist writer Henry David Thoreau’s three trips into the Maine woods, two of which were launched with Penobscot guides from
Moosehead Lake. His voice, 170 years later, is universally quoted for the benefits of living close to Nature. His
experiences became famous in his seminal book “The Maine Woods.” Today, Moosehead Lake destination travelers can visit the Wabanaki sculptures, Thoreau Park, and the
Thoreau-Wabanaki kiosks, all located in East Cove, downtown Greenville.
The Festival is held each July, around the same dates Thoreau and his Penobscot guide left from Moosehead
Lake. The Trail runs traditional Wabanaki canoe routes and portages over the great Kennebec, Penobscot, and
Allagash rivers.
In keeping with its namesake, the Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail Festival encourages the understanding,
appreciation, and stewardship of Maine’s unique cultural and natural heritage; and the spiritual renewal in Maine’s
North Woods for all Maine residents and visitors. Wabanaki means “People of the Dawn Land.” It includes the
Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, and Abenaki tribes.
In 2007, the Festival was founded by Maine Woods Forever as its first outdoor cultural heritage project, based in Greenville. Spring 2024, the Festival was incorporated as its own 501(c)(3) educational organization. The
Festival is made possible by the generous support of Maine Woods Forever and, this year, with the New England
Forestry Foundation. The Festival is made in collaboration with the Penobscot Nation, the Moosehead Lake
Region Economic Development Corporation, and Lakeside Event Center.

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