Seen in national perspective, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway is arguably Maine's most dramatic environmental accomplishment. The waterway resulted from an extended debate over several mutually exclusive proposals for the north Maine woods— dams to flood it; national parks to preserve it; and recreational schemes to transform it into a Coney Island of the North. In the mid-1960s, a coalition of landowners and conservationists cobbled together a preservation plan that conformed to the 1968 Federal Wild and Scenic River Act but pioneered several unique features that gave the wilderness idea a decidedly “eastern” twist. As a result, the waterway became a model not only for Maine, but for the entire eastern United States, where rivers are far less '‘pristine’' than those in the West. Richard W. Judd, professor of history at the University of Maine, is author of Common Lands, Common People: The Origins of Conservation in Northern New England (1997) and co-editor of Maine History. He is currently working with Christopher S. Beach on a study of environmental thought and action in Maine and Oregon, 1945-1975.
Judd, Richard W.. "“A Last Chance for Wilderness”: Defining The Allagash Wilderness Waterway, 1959-1966." Maine History 40, 1 (2001). https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/mainehistoryjournal/vol40/iss1/2