PHIPPSBURG — A pair of water activists and paddleboarders paddled the 192-mile length of the Androscoggin River this fall to witness and hear firsthand about the positive change in the health and ecosystem of the river since the passage of the Clean Water Act. Danielle Katz and Matt Palmariello are members of Rivers for Change, a nonprofit helping connect people to rivers. They completed the journey from Errol, N.H., to Popham Beach in 12 days with 23 portages.
40 years ago, people wouldn’t go near the river, which was the impetus for Senator Muskie to establish the Clean Water Act. The river and many others are now swimmable and boatable, safe for the public to enjoy. “They were astounded at the beauty of the river, especially when their initial impressions prior to the journey lead them to believe it would be dirtier and more industrial,” said Trisha Cheney of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, who was a support person for the trip. “They found it to be extremely accessible as a recreational resource.”