Wildlife Along the Byway
Moose, Deer, Beavers, Bald Eagles, Loons, Bears, Mergansers, Brook Trout …
The Byway region boasts hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness and public forest, making for abundant and diverse habitats for animals including moose, whitetail deer, beavers, bald eagles, loons and more. In Baxter State Park alone, with over 200,000 acres, 200 miles of trails and more than 50 ponds, much of the land serves as a wildlife sanctuary.
Most area wildlife can be seen all year long, and there are numerous opportunities for photography, particularly in and around streams, lakes, ponds, trails and even on campgrounds and near roads. Although early morning and evening are usually the best times for observation, wildlife sightings can occur anywhere and at anytime of the day or night.
King of the Area: Moose
Because moose are free to roam without the danger of being hunted in Baxter State Park, sightings in and around the park are frequent. Easily accessible and designated Moose viewing areas include Sandy Stream Pond and Stump Pond, however these areas can often be quite crowded. For a less concentrated viewing area, try the Tote Road or one of the ponds: Dwelley, Elbow, Grassy or Kidney. In addition, guided tours and “moose safaris” are offered by several certified and highly qualified Maine companies. Excursions are offered either on land or on the water, and many companies even guarantee visitors a sighting of one of these uniquely beautiful creatures.
(Note that caution should be exercised in the spring for cow moose with calves in the and for bull moose during mating season, mid-September to mid-October).
Other Animals to Look For
White tailed deer are prevalent, most notably near the Baxter Park roads, ponds and fields. Muskrats, otters and raccoons enjoy hanging out near the water, especially along the marshes and lakes, and there are also plenty of beaver colonies to observe at the streams and brooks that are close to the perimeter park roads. In the wooded areas, bobcat, lynx, red fox, Eastern coyote, fisher, marten, weasel, snowshoe hare, porcupine, red squirrel and chipmunk are commonly seen. Aside from the abundance of hawks, bald eagles and osprey, there are many other birds to observe including: kingfisher, white-throated sparrow, cedar waxwing, Northen parula, black-throated blue warbler, blue-headed vireo, palm warbler, yellow-bellied sapsucker, pileated woodpecker, black-backed woodpecker—a real birder’s paradise!
Fishing for Brookies or Squaretails? The famed Maine Brook trout can be distinguished from other members of the trout family by the dark, wavy, worm-like line on their back and the white leading edges of their fins, including the tail. The statewide average length of 3 year-old brook trout in Maine lakes is 13.3 inches. However, same age trout from different lakes range from 7.5 to 17.5 inches in length. Learn more
Maine Fishing information can be found:
Maine Hunting information can be found:
MARK PICARD PHOTOGRAPHY
Mark Picard is a renowned landscape and wildlife photographer in the area. In addition to his, and partner Anita Mueller’s Maine woods inspired Moose Prints Gallery in Downtown Millinocket, they sponsor outdoor photography workshops “focused” on photographing the region’s spectacular landscapes and abundant wildlife including Moose. Learn More
RIVER POND HIKING TRAILS
River Pond hiking trails are maintained by Katahdin Timberlands and feature marked trails with little signs that identify the different plants and trees. The terrain is relatively flat and easy to walk. Your chances of seeing a Moose are pretty good! Learn more
NAHMAKANTA PUBLIC RESERVE
The Nahmakanta Public Lands encompass 43,000 acres of sprawling forests and low mountains (the largest stands at 2,524 feet). Numerous streams and brooks course down steep slopes and run through narrow gorges. Within Nahmakanta’s boundary lie 24 “great ponds” (10 or more acres in size) and more than 50 miles of undeveloped shoreline. Learn more
BAXTER STATE PARK
Baxter State Park is a large wilderness area permanently preserved as a state park creating a park of over 200,000 acres. Baxter State Park has a diverse population of wildlife, the most common of which are the moose, the black bear, and the white-tailed deer. Learn more
PENOBSCOT RIVER ROUTE 11
Grindstone is north of East Millinocket on Route 11 in Penobscot County. Route 11, which follows the East Branch of the Penobscot River north to south. It’s a good road to spot bald eagles and Mergansers … Learn more
Additional resources along the scenic byway: