Northern Outdoors’ Response to COVID-19

Times are strange- but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get outside in a safe and responsible way. There’s nothing better for the soul than a little time spent on rivers and trails, and we’re here to help make sure we’re doing it all safely.

Current Status of Northern Outdoors Resort: OPEN!

Office Hours: 9:00am-6:00pm

Adventure Resort, restaurant, brewery, and whitewater rafting open. Reservations open to visitors from out of state per Governor Mills’ Keep Maine Healthy guidelines.

Current Status of Kennebec River Pub & Brewery: OPEN!

Dine in service, takeout, deck seating, growlers to go. It’s all happening!
Please visit our Facebook page for current hours.

What to Expect for 2020 at Northern Outdoors


We are committed to providing you and your family a safe way to get outside and enjoy time together in these trying times. Smaller trip sizes, increased use of private tubes & kayaks, heightened cleaning and sanitization practices, physical distancing measures, and other precautions will all be enacted to do our part in combating COVID-19.  We understand some of these changes are not ideal, but please know the decision to reopen our business was not made lightly, nor independently. We are abiding by all guidance from the State of Maine and the Center for Disease Control as we open a business that is both safe for our employees and our guests. We ask that you please read the guidelines, and abide by all guidelines should you choose to adventure with Northern Outdoors.


Scroll on for more information on current state guidance regarding travel and particular measures being taken in the lodge and on the river with Northern Outdoors. Please keep in mind all of these guidelines are subject to change per state and federal guidance.


The Office of Governor Mills, in conjunction with guidance from the CDC, has the following measures in place to protect the health and well being of Mainers & visitors:

Northern Outdoors Adventure Resort in The Forks
  • Mainers and visitors from New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut can book reservations and travel into the state of Maine with no restrictions.
  • According to the “Keep Maine Healthy” guidelines, those visiting the state of Maine that are NOT from above listed states are required to sign a Certificate of Compliance upon arrival stating that they have satisfied ONE of the following:
    • Will complete a 14 day quarantine in the state of Maine
    • Have already completed a 14 day quarantine in the state of Maine
    • Have received a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours
    • Note: these guidelines are for everyone in your party 18 and older
  • Maine encourages you to get tested before coming into the state. Websites like Get Tested COVID-19 provide further information on where to receive testing in your state, or you can visit the following individual states’ websites:

General Operating Procedures

Northern Outdoors main lodge will be opening to the public on July 2nd with heightened precautions in place. We will abide by the COVID-19 Prevention Checklist, with particular attention to…


  • Physical distancing: Please maintain distance of 6 feet from people outside of your party at all times.
  • Face coverings: In alignment with State of Maine mandates and recommendations from the CDC, we require all staff and guests inside of Northern Outdoors lodge to wear a face covering when not seated at a table.
  • Payment options: we will be discouraging the use of cash when possible for all payments.
  • Hot tub has a 6 person maximum, OR masks must be worn by all if more than 6 people in hot tub due to social distancing not being maintained.

Restaurant Procedures

Kennebec River Pub and Brewery is open as of July 2nd with heightened safety measures in place at this time, including:


  • Wait staff wearing face coverings
  • Guests and visitors inside of Northern Outdoors/Kennebec River Brewery are required to wear mask until seated at their table. Once you are seated, you may remove your face covering.
  • State of Maine requires the name and contact information for one individual from each party for State’s contact tracing purposes.
  • Focus on outdoor deck seating
  • Indoor seating with distancing
  • Open windows to increase airflow
  • Sanitization of all menus between each use
  • Frequent hand washing
  • Frequent sanitization of high touch surfaces
  • Bar service at window only- no bar seats, no hanging around at the bar

To see all precautions in place, please visit the Maine COVID checklist for reopening restaurants.

Whitewater Rafting Operations & Procedures

Northern Outdoors worked closely with rafting outfitters in Maine and across the nation to establish precautions to ensure we are keeping guests and team members safe during the whitewater rafting trip. These guidelines have been approved by the State of Maine, and will be followed on rafting trips until precautions are lifted.

Operations Schedule:
  • Kennebec River Rafting: begins July 1st, with daily trips offered
  • Penobscot River Rafting: begins August 1st, Saturday and Sunday only at this time.
  • Dead River Rafting: first trip on September 6th, with additional releases on September 19th and October 3rd
Additional Cleaning and Sanitation Practices

Maintaining a safe and healthy environment has always been important to us, but we will be stepping up the game to ensure all surfaces are frequently cleaned including paddles, life jackets, helmets, vehicles, tables, etc. Gloves, masks, and distancing measures according to recommendations will be required of all staff.

Riverside Lunches and Meal prep

In addition to existing cleaning practices including frequent cleaning of surfaces and materials and hand washing stations, guides will have completed COVID readiness restaurant training. This training, combined with new river standards in place, will ensure our riverside meals meet or exceed protocols for restaurants.


Heightened cleaning and sanitizing of all buses, vans, and vehicles will occur. Vehicles will be loaded back to front, and unloaded front to back. We will require face coverings in any transportation to/from the river. Windows will be down for increased air circulation, and bus will be sanitized prior to each use.

Rafter Participation Requirements

We ask each visitor to self-check for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 prior to arrival and sign a participation agreement. Guests will be asked to have face coverings available. Although you won’t wear face coverings continually, there will be situations where we will ask guests to wear them, such as while in transportation to and from the river.

Time Outside

More than anything, research shows that being in the open air is one of the safest places to be right now! Sunlight is a natural disinfectant, and with the wide open spaces of being outdoors, physical distancing is easy peasy.

**Please note: due to the limitations in our operations as we prepared for the season, we will not be doing videos of your trip this year. There will still be a slide show of photos, and rest assured – the video will be back in 2021!

Lodging and Camping

Heightened precautions will be in place for all lodging and check-in processes, including physical distancing at check-in and heightened cleaning and sanitization of high touch surfaces in the main lodge.

    • Our Housekeeping Team will not be doing makeups in rooms in order to limit exposure. If you’d like fresh towels during your stay, please place outside of your door in a bag and housekeeping will be around to replace.
    • Please wear your mask when entering the building to check in to your accommodation.

See the entire Maine state COVID checklist for lodging.

What is Northern Outdoors’ cancellation policy?

Our policy for Summer 2020 is that your confirmed reservation may be transferred or cancelled without penalty by providing notice to Northern Outdoors at least 14 days before your scheduled arrival date. For cancellations or transfers that occur with less than 14 days notice but at least 7 days notice, you will be charged a $25 per person or $25 per ATV rental cancellation fee; any remaining credit balance will be refunded in the form of a voucher; these vouchers will expire one year from date of issue. Once you are within 7 days of your arrival date, all money shall become nonrefundable and nontransferable. No transfers can be made within 14 days of your arrival date.

Additionally, due to COVID-19, if the Federal Government, the CDC or the State of Maine put in place special restrictions making it unreasonable to travel we will waive any transfer fees and provide you with a gift card or credit to your account that can be used at a future date during 2020. We also highly encourage you to purchase trip cancellation insurance, as always.

We are here to help!


Give us a call with any questions or to make a reservation.  In these confusing times, it’s nice to know you can speak directly with our staff to give you all the information you need.

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