"From the Mountains to the Sea," edited by Peter Taylor. Credit: Courtesy of Islandport Press

When I saw the title — “Canoe and Camera, A Two Hundred Mile Tour Through The Maine Forests” — I had to get that book. And I have to thank Tommy Carbone for re-publishing Thomas Sedgwick Steele’s story of his journey with two friends and three guides through the Maine woods in 1880.

That’s right — his journey was in 1880. And one thing we can be very pleased about is that our north woods hasn’t changed much since his journey. It’s still a wonderful place. This book brought back a lot of great memories of my own time in the north woods, mostly hunting and fishing. I also liked the information Carbone added to the book, and the old photos are really good too.

I like this quote from Steele: “The pleasure of canoeing these undiscovered lakes and streams, and living from day to day upon their resources, was an element of indescribable delight.”

Well, Maine’s north woods are no longer undiscovered, but I often spent a whole day there without seeing another person.

If you’ve never been in Maine’s north woods, you’ll be headed there after you read this book. And if you have spent time there, a lot of Steele’s stories will bring back your own wonderful memories of your time there.

“From The Mountain To The Sea” is an amazing story. Peter Taylor’s book about the restoration of the Penobscot River is really good and important. “From The Mountain To The Sea,” published by Islandport Press, tells the amazing story of the very long and expensive effort to remove dams and build fishways on the Penobscot River.

An unlikely alliance of many individuals and groups spent many years restoring the Penobscot, and Taylor interviewed more than 50 people for his book. It’s amazing to me that this group never gave up, despite lots of problems, including raising tens of millions of dollars to buy and remove the dams.

They also had to overcome opposition by many who lived along and near the dams, because the dams produced clean energy.

I appreciated that Taylor also included some information about the effort to remove dams on the Kennebec River, because that’s where I spent my time and effort. After the federal government ordered the removal of the dam in Augusta, I enjoyed amazing fishing from Sidney to Waterville.

I’d put my boat in at the Waterville launch, and motor up and down the river, catching lots of fish. On my desk is a photo of me in my boat on the river, holding up a huge bass. And yes, I am smiling!

I also fished the Penobscot River. I remember one time fishing the river on the Brewer side, right across from Bangor, and seeing two seals swimming up the river, enjoying a meal of fish. Yes, removing the dams didn’t just please anglers.

The book includes lots of beautiful photos of the river. And we can all be proud of the successful effort to remove those dams on this beautiful river. I encourage you to take a trip down the Penobscot – and bring your fishing rod!

George Smith, Outdoors contributor

George Smith, Outdoors contributor

George Smith has spent his life advocating for hunters, anglers, wildlife and conservation. He has been awarded many lifetime achievement awards including from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife...