40 Years of Rafting in the Kennebec Valley

40 Years of Rafting in the Kennebec Valley

Spring 1976: Beginnings can’t happen without endings.

Forty years ago, after more than a century of log runs down the Kennebec River, the practice of transporting timber by river from Moosehead Lake to lumber mills in Winslow came to an end. This forever changed the face of Maine’s Kennebec Valley.

This was the same year that a guide by the name of Wayne Hockmeyer went in search of a great new fishing spot on the Kennebec River, but was limited by untamed rapids coming through the river’s gorge.

One thing led to another and pretty soon Wayne was making the first descent of the Kennebec River by raft with a spur-of-the-moment crew of bear hunters. None of them (not even Wayne) really knew what they were doing. They survived the exhilarating thrill ride and whitewater rafting on the Kennebec River—and in Maine—was born.

Today, thrill-seekers from around the world make their way down the Kennebec and Dead Rivers each summer between May and October, making lifetime memories of a ride unlike any other.