Errol, NH 03579
Umbagog straddles the New Hampshire/Maine border in Error, New Hampshire, and gets its name from the Abenaki word for “shallow water.” Errol has grown slightly in recent years, with the recreation industry its chief engine. Fishermen, canoeists, and kayakers now all vie for spots under the bridge amid the frothy headwaters of the Androscoggin River, formed where Umbagog escapes the hills and heads for the sea.
Umbagog is about 10 miles long and 7,850 acres big. It was also a test case for keeping the wild wild two decades ago. Citizens concerned about encroaching second-home development moved to conserve the land and keep it undeveloped. As a result, thousands of acres were acquired by a conservation-minded populace, and much of it today is a federal wildlife refuge.
–Yankee Magazine, May/June 2010
BEST BALD-EAGLE SPOTTING
Paddle near the islands lining Umbagog’s western shore and you’ll notice a large nest perched atop a dead, leafless tree. Then break out the binoculars to spot that white head swiveling around the rim: It’s mama eagle protecting her young.
Pronounced um-BAY-gog, meaning “clear water” in the native Coos language, the 14-mile-long and three-mile-wide lake straddles the New Hampshire-Maine border and is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Surrounded by dense pine forest, the spring-fed lake is remarkably clean and shallow, no more than 15 feet deep. Boating (canoe or kayak), camping, or nature walks all invite, but birding at the wildlife refuge is the big draw here. Look for nesting bald eagles, geese, ospreys, great blue herons, ducks, and warblers, and hear the eerie shrieks of the loon. It’s remote here, yet the lakeside campground at Umbagog Lake State Park fills up regularly in summer, so reservations are advised (contact New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation: 603-482-7795; nhstateparks.org).