Al Cowperthwaite has done a great job for us and North Maine Woods

Mainers are lucky to have access to 3.5 million acres in the North Maine Woods, and we are also lucky that Al Cowperthwaite has been the long-time manager of that property. I have enjoyed many hunting and fishing adventures in the north woods, and feel privileged to have worked with Al on several important issues.

North Maine Woods is a very special place, for hunters, anglers, hikers, campers, and all of us who enjoy outdoor adventures.

North Maine Woods has 8 staffed checkpoints and seven automated checkpoints, and I have always found the staff to be friendly and helpful. The landowners actually get none of the money we pay to access the north woods. It all goes to the staff who maintain the checkpoints, 350 camp sites, and 211 outhouses.

I’ve especially enjoyed my visits to Bradford Camps, about an hour and a half past one of the checkpoints.

Al was recently on Paul Reynolds’ radio show, Maine Outdoors, and said while they do get a lot of hunters, anglers, and campers, October grouse hunters represent the largest user group by far. Al told Paul, “We get more grouse hunters through the gates each year than all of the other users combined.” I’ve grouse hunted up there and this information does not surprise me, because it’s a great place to hunt grouse.

One year the landowners decided they’d like to offer us opportunities to hunt on Sundays, so they submitted legislation which I worked on with Al. But like all other Sunday hunting bills, it did not get enacted.

Al was recently named to the Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council and I’m sure he is enjoying that job. He has announced that he plans to retire next fall. We will all miss him, and we have a lot of gratitude for all the years he has worked to help us experience and enjoy the North Maine Woods. Thank you Al!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.