The Penobscot Maritime Heritage Association (PMHA) is an incorporated (November 4, 2019) State of Maine non-profit organization consisting of citizens from Penobscot, Hancock, and Waldo Counties representing a broad coalition of civic and business leaders (with connections to various historical societies, economic development committees, chambers of commerce, and tourism supporters). This team began in late summer 2019 as a small core group with as desire “to do something” to recognize Maine’s 200th birthday and our maritme heritage. A mission statement was drafted and approved by the Board of Directors and other members in mid- September. The mission is “to provide an historical perspective of the Penobscot River Basin utilizing the collective energy of its members to create educational programs which expand awareness of tourism opportunities in Central Maine and draw attention to the contemporary enterprises that drive the economies of our towns.” The PMHA will help organize, coordinate and actively promote multi-community events collectively called the 4-Port Loop celebration, which focuses attention on the maritime history and heritage in the Penobscot River basin communities, both past and present.
This year’s PMHA 4-Port Loop events will take place July 22-24. Participating ships will head upriver to Bangor. Each year, different maritime vessels will be scheduled to appear. Tall ships, schooners, U.S. Coast Guard and Navy vessels, log and birch bark canoes, Maine-manufactured utility boats and the futuristic 3-D printed boat from the University of Maine Advanced Structural and Composites Center have indicated a desire to participate. Orrington, which produces its own “Old Home Week” celebration from July 15-24, 2022 will offer a number of viewing sites along their riverfront. Fort Knox in Prospect will be open and offer activities and displays relating to its history.
Visitors can travel through the historic towns/sites along the Penobscot and participate in/have opportunities to learn of the people that built and launched ships over the many hundreds of years of Maine’s history. The innovative app provides self-guided tours of the region. These people and communities were instrumental in building their local economies and the ships that carried valuable products, such as timber, ice, seafood and other products over the centuries that are part of Maine’s heritage.
This multi-day celebration of Maine’s maritime heritage will result in many overnight stays of tourists in area hotels/motels and be a tremendous boost to the regions economies.