At Maine River, Dams Removed, Races Begin — And Myth RecalledPlay
The recent removal of two dams (and upgrades to others) in Maine’s Penobscot River made available over 1,000 miles of habitat for Atlantic salmon and other fish — and also made the river available to whitewater enthusiasts.
The dam removal was the culmination of years of restoration efforts by several groups. The Penobscot Nation, for whom the river has been vital for centuries, helped lead that effort.
"The creator put us here, in the Penobscot River Valley," said James Eric Francis, Sr., the director of cultural and historic preservation for the Penobscot Nation. "We are surrounded by the sacred river."
Last month, paddlers from all over the country gathered for a race celebrating the removal of the dams and discovered that modern technology mirrored an ancient creation story in an unexpected way.
"The most relevant today is the creation of the river. People were living by a stream and they noticed that the water was getting lower and lower and lower," Eric Francis, Sr. began. "Council was gathered and they asked for a volunteer who walked seven days looking for the source of the blockage in the river."
This segment aired on August 8, 2015.