A 740-Mile Historic Water Trail Traversing Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Quebec
Thousands of years before the arrival of Columbus, Native Americans had a well-established network of travel routes in the northeast. Many of these routes were land trails, but where possible water transport was preferred. With the possible exception of the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness in Minnesota and Canada, few areas of the continent lent themselves more to this mode of transportation than the region now known as the “Northern Forest”. Here, glaciers working in concert with other natural forces created a landscape laced with waterways.
Europeans quickly began to adopt the methods for water travel invented by the First Peoples. Beginning with French Voyageurs and followed by others the birch bark canoe became a common mode of transportation for the newcomers within the region. With the help of native guides the reach of these European was soon spreading through Canada and working toward the great rivers of the west.