JAY — Regional School Unit 73 board of directors gave unanimous approval for a canoe trip on Moose River, the third year the trip has been offered to students at Spruce Mountain High School.

Marc Keller, assistant principal and athletic director at the high school was first introduced to the trip while on staff at Mt. Abram High School in Salem Township. This will be his 12th trip on the river.

The trip is June 23 to 27. Sunday is a day of preparation, Keller noted. All items needed for the trip will be packed, students will prepare and learn about what to expect on the trip, he said. “There is so much to do,” Keller stated. The kids will learn how to take a canoe off the transport and put it back on, he said.

The trip starts at 6 a.m. Monday, will arrive about 11 a.m. or so after a couple of breaks, Keller said. Once at Holeb Pond, gear will be unloaded then the group will canoe a short distance to where the first camp will be set up, he stated. The afternoon will be spent on paddling techniques – some students don’t know how to steer, he noted.

Keller said wet rescues will be practiced with every boat being flipped over so students are prepared. Evening will be spent around the camp for communicating, learning about each other, he stated.

The plan Tuesday is to spend six or seven hours paddling, depending on the water level, Keller indicated. At Holeb Falls all gear will be portaged to the second campsite, which is beautiful, he stated.


The next morning the group will paddle out to Attean Falls, may move on to Attean Lake, Keller said. “It depends on the weather, wind, how tired they are,” he stated. “We will be off the water Thursday by 11 a.m., will purchase pizza for all their hard work. The overlook in Jackman is called the Switzerland of Maine.”

The group will return to the school about 3 p.m., he noted.

“It is a great opportunity to learn about the outdoors, fly fishing, canoe skills,” Keller said.

Those eligible for the trip are eighth graders who will be freshmen next year through graduating seniors, he noted. Adults going on the trip include Keller, SMHS Principal TJ Plourde [third trip], School Resource Officer Joe Sage [who has never been] and Keller’s wife, Paula Keller [third trip, female chaperone].

Cost of the trip is $75, there is some money left in the outdoor account if anyone needs help, Keller noted. “The money is for food,” he stated.

Chair Bob Staples asked about number of students.


“We usually set it at 12,” Keller replied. “Last year there were 15, two years ago 15 and three years ago 13. At around 20 we run into campsite issues.”

When asked, Keller said no one is turned away. “Some kids have never slept in a tent before,” he added.

Director Roger Moulton thanked Keller for organizing the trip, offered to sponsor a student if needed.

“I worked with Marc at Mt. Abram,” Laura White, administrative assistant to the superintendent, said. She never saw one student come back with a bad experience. “They were always smiling,” she added.

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