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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Maine Gazetteer: Ripogenus Gorge

I stand on the high banks of Ripogenus Gorge and look down at the West Branch of the Penobscot River. This place looks primeval: the river rushes white and fast, as if still proud of cutting through 200 feet of granite; the walking trail is little more than a deer path, broken and damp; moss covers rock and trunk alike; ancient vegetation creeps into and out of crevices and overhangs. Yet I would be wrong in thinking about the purity of nature here. Since 1920 the river has been dammed at Ripogenus Lake, to make it easier to move logs downstream. The flow of water is still controlled, now for hydro-electricity and white-water rafting since the log runs were banned. The Gorge is no longer wilderness; yet it has survived humans and has been rescued and feeds our fantasies and our souls.

                                Excerpted from Saving Maine: A Personal Gazetteer
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