Moosehead Lake

Moosehead Lake

[moos-hed]
Moosehead Lake, 35 mi (56 km) long, from 2 to 10 mi (3.2-16.1 km) wide, with an area of 120 sq mi (311 sq km), W Maine, N of Augusta. It is the largest lake in Maine and has an irregular shoreline and numerous islands. The region around the lake is a picturesque resort area, and there is a state park on the southeast shore. Mt. Kineo (1,789 ft/545 m high) is located on a peninsula that extends into the lake.
Moosehead Lake is the largest lake in the U.S. state of Maine. Situated in the Longfellow Mountains in the Maine Highlands Region, the lake is the source of the Kennebec River. Towns that border the lake include Greenville to the south and Rockwood to the northwest. There are over 80 islands in the lake, the largest being Sugar Island.

History

Nestled among forested mountains, Moosehead Lake stretches as far as the eye can see until its blue is swallowed by the dark green of the trees. Mount Kineo, with 700 foot (200 m) cliffs rising straight up from Moosehead Lake, has attracted visitors for centuries, from early American Indians (Red Paint People), to later tribes seeking its flint called hornstone (Penobscots and Norridgewocks, among the Abenaki bands who battled here with their enemy the Mohawks), to 19th century "rusticators" traveling by railroad and steamboat, to today's hotel guests. Various species dwell among its cliffs and talus slopes, including peregrine falcons and rare plants.

Because it lies at the headwaters of the Kennebec, the West Branch of the Penobscot, the Piscataquis, the Pleasant and the St. John rivers, the Moosehead region has experienced fewer biological and physical changes than other areas in Maine. Henry David Thoreau and other 19th century visitors remarked on the beauty of the area.

In April 2005, the largest private United States landowner, Seattle-based Plum Creek Real Estate Investment Corporation, submitted a massive development proposal for the Moosehead region. The 570-page proposal was the largest development ever proposed for Maine. This development was to bring people, economy, money, and tourists to Maine. An initial version of the scheme called for 975 house lots, 2 resorts, a golf course, a marina, 3 RV parks and more than 100 rental cabins. The plan has been accepted and will hopefully bring more money into Maine.

Geography

Set at an elevation of 1,023 feet (312 m), Moosehead Lake is approx. 40 by 10 miles (64 by 16 km), with an area of 120 mile² (311 km²), and over 400 miles (640 km) of shoreline. Its major inlet is the Moose River, which, east of Jackman, flows through Long Pond to Brassua Lake. To the east of Moosehead Lake, the Roach River is its second largest tributary. Flowing out of Moosehead Lake to the southwest are its east and west outlets -- the Kennebec River.

The Moosehead Lake Region encompasses 4,400 square miles (11,000 km²) of West Central Maine, and includes 127 townships in addition to Moosehead Lake. The region is drained by 330 miles (530 km) of main stem rivers, into which flow 3,850 miles (6,200 km) of smaller tributaries. During the last glacial era, more than 1,200 natural lakes and ponds were carved into its landscape, varying in size from one acre (4,000 m²) ponds to Moosehead, at 74,890 acres (303 km²) one of the largest natural freshwater lakes in the United States. The total area of all standing surface waters in the region is more than 238,000 acres (963 km²) -- 24% of the total area of lakes and ponds in Maine.

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