The latest in long a line of proposals for Millinocket

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peakbagger

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I have been driving up through Millinocket since the early seventies. Originally it was a thriving mill town where hikers and outdoors folks were just a minor part of the economy with "The Mill" being the big driver in town. About the time I had graduated from college the decline of the mills had started. I eventually was professionally involved with the last unsuccessful attempt to resurrect the both the East Millinocket mill and the Millinocket mill as paper mills and had a chance to roam about both of them solo after they had sat idle for several months after they had been running for close to a century. In the decades after the mills finally stopped running, the towns have declined as anyone of working age headed south down the interstate while those whose lives were invested in town and could not afford to move elsewhere stayed in town. I even used to drive the Golden Road from Abol Bridge to the "The Mill" a few times while it was still being maintained in a condition that going 70 mph meant being passed by locals heading to and from camp.

As the mills declined, the only businesses in the town became those catering to summer and winter guests mostly along the strip and even they tended to open and close except for the ubiquitous Mc Donalds and the AT Cafe and a few logging and forest product firms scratching a living from the Golden Road which now mostly ships wood to Canada and is now just a beat up potholed road.

One sad fact is desperate communities and states tend to attract entrepreneurs and outright con men and both towns have seen more than a few. Generally, these are proposed by developers who have little financial stake int the projects who depend on state and federal dollars to actually build the plants. The developers set up the financing in a way that they cash out long before the business proves viable.

To name a few I am aware of

-Matthew Polestein's Magic city revival that mostly consisted of fixing vacant storefronts to look like they were occupied. His New England Outdoors white water rafting empire started in the towns but eventually migrated out of town to the townships north of town on the road to Baxter. He is still trying to develop the large high end vacation home development on the side of hill facing Mt Katahdin adjacent to Twin Pines Camps.

-The Cate Street fiasco in both towns culminating in millions of state development aid being diverted to investors and a large IRS lien on the Millinocket site that stymied any development efforts for several years

-Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) factory

-Bio Char facility

-Large Data Storage and Server farm run and cooled by renewable power

-Renewable Fuel Oil manufacturing plant

-Bio Char fuel pellet facility

Many promises were made about the hordes of traffic that would head up north to the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, there was a short-term uptick of real estate by folks hoping to get in on the rush, but the reality has not panned out despite ongoing attempts to generate data to show its success. The reality is the main attraction of KWW is Baxter State Park and the slowly vanishing vistas over cut over lands towards the park as the trees regrow. KWW is best accessed via the Patten exit north of the Medway exit that accesses the Millinocket's. This may be changing as an earmark in the federal budget is expanding KWW to the south to allow KWW to be accessed from what are now logging roads from the Millinocket's (and incidentally allow the International Appalachian trail to remove the gap in BSP and be rerouted south of BSP). Roxanne Qumby seems to be focused on Acadia NP of late.

And now the latest and greatest proposal, growing Atlantic Salmon inland in ponds as salmon farming along the Maine coast is having a rough time getting new facilities permitted along the coast.

https://www.bangordailynews.com/202...inocket-katahdin-salmon-fish-farm-joam40zk0w/
Industrial fish farming is not as clean and pure as some may think, it generates large amounts of Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) that generally is flushed into the environment. This degrades the sea bottom for a large radius around fish pens and water quality in the area. This impact in theory can be substantially reduced in by growing fish in basins and routing the waste to downstream treatment in wastewater treatment plants but they are costly to operate and in most proposals, water is recycled in the plant but BOD ends up being flushed out the discharge pipes.

Most proposals are always for a few years down the road, and this one is no different. Will this one fly where other ones have not, who knows>. In the mean time the "Mr Burns" with a good PR firm, Brookfield still controls most of the shots in the region by controlling much of the land and rivers and they are quite happy cranking out electrons for the ISO grid.
 
... -Matthew Polestein's Magic city revival that mostly consisted of fixing vacant storefronts to look like they were occupied. His New England Outdoors white water rafting empire started in the towns but eventually migrated out of town to the townships north of town on the road to Baxter. He is still trying to develop the large high end vacation home development on the side of hill facing Mt Katahdin adjacent to Twin Pines Camps. ...

New England Outdoors Center (NEOC) has recently rebranded as Ktaadn Resorts, using the Thoreau / Penobscot spelling:
Ktaadn Resorts

This also includes the River Drivers Restaurant on Millinocket Lake, and the new (as of 2022) Knife Edge Brewing and wood fired pizza, just up the hill a few minutes away. At Knife Edge the beer and the pizza are both quite good, IMHO, though unfortunately the beer was served in disposable plastic cups (last fall and again a few weeks ago). FYI the large clean bathrooms include free showers, should one need it while visiting.

In the context of Millinocket's decline, Knife Edge is an impressive investment and development. Photos here:
https://www.facebook.com/knifeedgebrewing

They have a Katahdin webcam, which is fun:
Webcams - New England Outdoor Center

Another business making a go of it with the (literal) remnants of the logging days is Maine Heritage Timber, which dredges up wood from the areas where the river drives brought it towards the mills. Elsewhere I saw in a documentary film that some percentage (2%?) of logs floated towards the mills would sink, and remain there -- this of course pre-dates the Golden Road (finished in 1972), when logs came in by truck.

This company makes floors, some furniture and decorative pieces. I've been in their showroom on Penobscot Ave (aka Main Street).
Maine Heritage Timber
Article about the company
Maine Heritage Timber | Reclaimed Lumber | Flooring | Woodworker's Journal | How To

That's all I've got. Would love to see the town do well.
 
The brewery looks awesome. Did it literally just open? Google Maps shows an open field where it is on the map. Would never have known that place was there being off the "main drag". Thanks for the post.
 
That looks like the Ktaadn Resorts big development area that NEOC had been trying to get going for 20 years. The existing restaurant at the former NEOC in the same development was generally the best restaurant in the area. Many people zoom right past heading to or from BSP. I wonder if Brookfield Hydro will grudgingly allow then to buy power to supply the area as it was all off grid not that long ago which meant generators.
 
The brewery looks awesome. Did it literally just open? Google Maps shows an open field where it is on the map. Would never have known that place was there being off the "main drag". Thanks for the post.

We first went to Knife Edge Brewing in Oct 2022 when it had just opened -- like a month or so before. It's definitely a bit off the path, and up a gravel road. Worth a visit for the brews and pies!
 
That looks like the Ktaadn Resorts big development area that NEOC had been trying to get going for 20 years. The existing restaurant at the former NEOC in the same development was generally the best restaurant in the area. Many people zoom right past heading to or from BSP. I wonder if Brookfield Hydro will grudgingly allow then to buy power to supply the area as it was all off grid not that long ago which meant generators.
Good question about power in the area, have no idea about that. Don't recall hearing generators at Knife Edge last month, and we sat outside to eat (no dogs allowed in the building).

River Drivers Restaurant down on the lake indeed looks like a fine establishment. Once tried to dine there and the wait was going to be 90 minutes, so we moved on.

There's always the Scootic In Restaurant on Penobscot in town if you want a locals experience, with better prices.
 
They may have finally hooked up that area to the "grid" at one point.

When I was with the various mill officials in town near the end of the mills they were on a first name basis with the staff at NEOC at the current location and the old location east of Millinocket on the river. The Scootic must be relatively new. I did go to the Pelletiers place a few times while they were open.
 
at Knife Edge last month, and we sat outside
Do you recall if they had non-beer beverage options like cider, wine, soda, etc? My wife is allergic to brewers yeast so beer is a no-go for her. We're going into Baxter via the North Gate next week and I don't want to drag her all the way over there if there is nothing for her to drink. Their website has no info yet and I didn't see a menu on their Facebook page. Appreciate the info if you remember. Thanks.
 
Do you recall if they had non-beer beverage options like cider, wine, soda, etc? My wife is allergic to brewers yeast so beer is a no-go for her. We're going into Baxter via the North Gate next week and I don't want to drag her all the way over there if there is nothing for her to drink. Their website has no info yet and I didn't see a menu on their Facebook page. Appreciate the info if you remember. Thanks.
Sorry I don't recall about that, I just remember looking over the beer list. Maybe call them? And have a great visit!
 
Do you recall if they had non-beer beverage options like cider, wine, soda, etc? My wife is allergic to brewers yeast so beer is a no-go for her. We're going into Baxter via the North Gate next week and I don't want to drag her all the way over there if there is nothing for her to drink. Their website has no info yet and I didn't see a menu on their Facebook page. Appreciate the info if you remember. Thanks.
Looking at said Facebook page, there are two things that lead to thinking they would have at least non-alcoholic options available.

One being that in the spring/fall, they offer a pizza buffet, with a price listed for children 10 and under (who obviously can't drink beer, and being a buffet would have to eat in, thus wanting something to drink).

Second being one photo that shows a 3-door cooler by the counter that looks to be filled with canned/bottled items (seeming again likely some would be things that are not beer, but not a guarantee).
 
Looking at said Facebook page, there are two things that lead to thinking they would have at least non-alcoholic options available.

One being that in the spring/fall, they offer a pizza buffet, with a price listed for children 10 and under (who obviously can't drink beer, and being a buffet would have to eat in, thus wanting something to drink).

Second being one photo that shows a 3-door cooler by the counter that looks to be filled with canned/bottled items (seeming again likely some would be things that are not beer, but not a guarantee).
Yah I probably stopped noticing these things after I saw "beer"... :)
 
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