Moosehead Historical Society receives $7,000 Plum Creek Foundation grant

    GREENVILLE — The Plum Creek Foundation recently awarded a $7,000 grant to the Moosehead Historical Society to help fund the construction of two bateaux that will showcase a key historic aspect of Maine’s logging history.

LO-MHSPlumCreek-DCX-PO-31Plum Creek photo

    HISTORIC GRANT — A $7,000 Plum Creek Foundation grant to the Moosehead Historical Society will help fund the construction of two bateaux. Pictured, from left, are Bob Cowan of the Moosehead Historical Society;  Rocky Rockwell, Paul Pease, Kevin Erickson and Steve Polis, all of Plum Creek; and Candy Canders Russell of the Moosehead Historical Society.

    The bateau (French for boat) was an essential piece of equipment during Maine’s early log drives. Before logging roads were constructed, early crews transported supplies and helped direct the wood down Maine’s rivers using these large, shallow, flat-bottomed boats.
    According to Candy Russell, Moosehead Historical Society executive director, the bateau worked better than a canoe because it was light enough to carry across land but sturdy enough to support the transport of long logs, pulpwood, spare equipment and other supplies.
    “The bateau was a significant part of Maine’s historic log drives,” said Russell. “It was the waterborne version of a pack horse and early logging crews would not have been as successful without it.”
    Bateaux are constructed using pine, spruce and oak. The pine logs need to be over 34 feet long and large in diameter.
    The organization plans to begin construction of the bateaux in July and aims to have the boats completed by 2015. Once constructed, the boats will be on display at the Lumberman’s Museum in Greenville and will make special appearances at community events, like the annual Forest Heritage Days.
    “The forest products industry continues to thrive in this state and there continues to be great interest in both the historic aspects and present practices,” said Russell. “With events like Forest Heritage Days growing in popularity each year, these new bateaux will provide another opportunity to educate the community about Maine’s historic log drives and the future of the forest products industry.”
    The mission of the Moosehead Historical Society is to collect and preserve objects, materials and paper ephemera pertaining to the history of the Moosehead Lake Region and to share this history with members, residents and visitors. For more information, visit

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