Debates over access to the Allagash Waterway are occurring now and will likely continue into the future. The lawsuit over LD 2077 could be appealed. Additionally, the appeal over the Henderson Brook construction is occurring right now. Continued conflict over the definition of a 'wild' waterway and how much access is acceptable is in store for at least the near future. The conflict over closing off all access, continuing traditional use, or creating easier access to the waterway will not be easily solved with so many parties involved. Interests include recreational users, like the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine, environmental organizations (Citizens to Protect the Allagash and Maine Chapter Sierra Club), local citizens, and others. A compromise is necessary between protection of the waterway and continued use of the waterway 'in a respectful manner'.
Figure 1: Moose along the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Figure 2: Allgash Falls
The future of the waterway could be affected by any number of federal, state, local, corporate, and individual actions. For instance, the forest industry is changing (see Livelihoods and Landscapes conference) and this could change the waterway's composition and use. The Allagash Waterway is only a narrow strip of state owned land surrounded by working forest. Another possible change to the waterway could come from increased access from Canada or easier access in general that would increase tourism. In addition, the construction of the proposed Dickey-Lincoln Dam Project or legislative interference could change the operation of Churchill Dam and thus the waterway as a whole.
Churchill Dam is unlikely to be removed, at least in the near future. The new dam was reconstructed because of the benefits of the dam to recreation and this reconstruction was approved by the majority of Maine citizens. Additionally, a study looking into the possible loss of Churchill Dam found that removal would have negative impacts on recreation (rafting, canoeing, and camping), would reduce fish populations and spawning, would reduce shallow marsh habitat (which would harm the rare plant species, Selaginella selaginoides, and waterfowl), and would reduce flood control.
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History of Churchill Dam
Downstream of Churchill Dam
Upstream of Churchill Dam