The six mile flatwater stretch from Route 9 in North Yarmouth to East Elm Street in Yarmouth is entirely flat with no current. The river here is a six mile narrow pond formed by the dam at East Elm Street. This stretch of river can be paddled by novices either upriver or downriver with equal ease from well-maintained hand-carry boat launches at either end, with good parking.
With a heavily forested shoreline and meandering oxbows, this segment of river provides an escape into the quiet woods of Maine, with only occasional houses or docks visible from the river, and abundant birds and wildlife. Steep banks allow very few locations for picnics or swimming.
The Route 9 boat launch also provides access for paddling upriver, including paddling up both the Chandler Brook and the Royal.
Points of Interest
- Yarmouth History Center, East Elm Street
Permanent history exhibits and displays for youth and adults.
- Town of Yarmouth Parks
- Town of North Yarmouth Parks
- Swimming from railroad bridges and travel along any rail line is illegal and deadly.
- The dam at East Elm Street is a mandatory portage, and the beginning of a stretch of river with extraordinary water falls and other risks. Please proceed with care and site-specific scoping.
- All rivers require attention to safety. Paddling conditions vary according to weather and season, so always exercise caution and always wear a life jacket. With good judgment and proper equipment, risks can be reduced. Respect the natural world and the rights of landowners, and be considerate of other outdoor enthusiasts. Paddlers should seek to avoid causing erosion, trampling vegetation, disturbing wildlife, and harming water quality.
Fish Passage & Future of the Dams
Long-term dialog to improve fish passage at Yarmouth’s dams is available at MaineRivers.org There is no current proposal or active study to remove the East Elm Street dam.