River Voices – Perspectives on the Presumpscot

After you read this book, you’ll be headed to the beautiful Presumpscot River.

Robert Sanford and William Plumley did a great job recruiting a lot of impressive people to write each chapter in River Voices – Perspectives on the Presumpscot published by North Country Press.

Each writer must have done a lot of research for his or her chapter, which cover everything from dams to fish and the devastating pollution from mills along the river.

The lower Presumpscot River flows from Sebago Lake through Cumberland County to Casco Bay. It was a busy river all the way back to the Abanakis. And before all the dams were built, it was home to lots of ocean and landlocked fish.

No surprise, I really liked the chapter on the river’s fisheries, and the successful effort to force the dam owners to build fish ways or rip out dams which brought back those ocean fish including lampreys, sturgeons, salmon, herring, eels, sea run brook trout and more.

At one point, the book reports that a 2008 study on the Kennebec River after removal of the dam in Augusta, found that the restored recreational fishery in the freshwater section of the river generated over $27.6 million annually in angling revenue.

I certainly contributed to that, enjoying fishing throughout my life on the entire Kennebec River from Moosehead Lake to the sea. I had many memorable fishing experiences fishing between Waterville and Augusta, after the Augusta dam was removed.

The book’s many photos and art are very good too, many putting you right on the river.

Toward the end of the book, I was very pleased to read that the Presumpscot River is transitioning to be a focal point of the community, a lovely recreational area offering new economic opportunities for nature, adventure, and eco-tourism.

We Mainers can all be proud that we’ve done a great job restoring our rivers, including the Presumpscot.


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, georgesmithmaine.com, 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.