Northern Outdoors’ Response to COVID 19

Northern Outdoors Guide Paddles Hanging in Storage

Well friends, times sure have changed in the past few months, haven’t they? Many of us are working from home, some trying their hand at “homeschooling”, and others are on the frontlines, taking care of the world. We are all navigating challenging times, some more so than others, but we are all hoping to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Whether you have already made your plans to retreat to the rivers this summer, or are just thinking it sounds pretty good right about now — we want to keep you as informed as possible. Read on for some of the most frequently asked questions concerning our plans this spring/summer.

Is Northern Outdoors open?

Physically- no, not at this time. But our Office Manager, Lisa, is still available take calls between 9:00am and 3:00pm, Monday-Friday, for those ready to talk rafting, ATVing, cabin rentals, fishing, or even a winter snowmobiling trip! Give her a call at (207) 663-4466. You can also reach out via email at, or fill out a contact form with any questions or inquiries. We’re excited about summer and ready to talk shop anytime 🙂

When will Northern Outdoors open?

Northern Outdoors is closely monitoring guidance from Governor Janet Mills and the CDC as we look forward to floating on rivers, riding the ATV trails, and bellying up at the bar with friends for a craft brew. As of Governor Mills’ most recent phased reopening plan set forth at the end of April, there are certain mandates set forth that dictate how we will be able to run our operations. First and foremost, there is a 14 day quarantine for out-of-staters entering Maine. There is also a limit on gatherings over 50 people, which we will of course be adhering to for our river trips. Our current plan follows these guidelines, but please keep in mind we will continue to follow all updates from the state of Maine and CDC and make any updates needed!

June 5th Lodging and camping at Northern Outdoors is open to Maine residents only at this time, with ATV trails, ATV rentals, fishing trips, and hiking. Check out our Maine Staycation special for an extended getaway! The lodge itself will not be open, so you will want to bring your own food and plan to cook in your cabin/over the campfire. Check out Jimmy’s in Bingham for a full grocery store, and hit up Berry’s General Store in the West Forks (5.5 miles north) for all your essentials, from hot dogs to beer!

July 1st Hello, rafting season! We will plan for our first trip of the year on July 3rd, with rafting available any day of the week on the Kennebec River. As of right now, we are only open to Maine Residents for July as well. Lodging and campground are still open, and the main lodge and brewery will be open for full restaurant service and take out from Thursday through Sunday (except Monday, July 6th we will also be open in the lodge & restaurant- HIGH WATER TRIP!)
Any whitewater rafting trip with us has a maximum capacity 40 guests, so this is a nice opportunity for a quiet river adventure!

August 1st and beyond WE’RE OPEN!! Barring any changes to the state of affairs and Governor Mills’ plan, Northern Outdoors will be open at The Forks Adventure Resort with full operations 7 days/week, including full restaurant service and takeout, brewery, gift shop, office/front desk, hot tub, deck drinkin’ and good times. We will be running whitewater rafting trips on the Kennebec River daily, and starting up weekend trips on the class V Penobscot River! If you don’t know much about the Penobscot River – check out our Katahdin Adventure Base Camp, outside of Millinocket and in the shadows of beautiful Mount Katahdin. Dead River will also kick into gear for the Fall release dates on September 6th, September 19th, and October 3rd.

So, there’s the plan. We know this decision to delay our opening dates affects many of your summer plans, so please know it does not come lightly. All of this is subject to change per Federal and State guidance and information from the Office of Governor Mills and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Of course, our hope is that as we continue to fight this pandemic, intrastate travel will be safe and other operations can resume to normal(ish), with new adjustments made to ensure the safety of all of our guests and team members.

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 just want to watch rafting videos while we wait. Where can we find some?

OK, so you’re just like the rest of our #GreenTeam! Check out our video gallery, visit our YouTube channel, or just peruse the blog. Dream a little, and start to rally some friends or family. You will definitely want to get out of the house after this!

So for now, our paddles stay hung on the rack in storage, the rafts deflated, and the truck parked. But know that our gear bags are packed and ready for when the times comes – and when it does, we hope to see you here, too.

All our best,
The Northern Outdoors Team

  • Ronald S Moore
    Posted at 20:28h, 24 April Reply

    Wondering when you’re going to be open to come up and camp in Whitewater app

    • Emily Yearwood
      Posted at 08:55h, 27 April Reply

      Hi Ronald-
      Our plan and sincere hope is to open for Memorial Day Weekend. We will continue to monitor guidance from CDC and Governor Mills and will adjust accordingly! Hope you can join us soon! 🙂

  • Bill Baker
    Posted at 06:35h, 29 April Reply

    A trip to Northern Outdoors and rafting in Maine is just what the Doctor ordered, post Covid! Make your plans now and give yourselves something to look forward to friendsc, we all deserve it.

    Better days are coming and what better place to spend them then with Northern Outdoors on the wild rivers in Maine where social distancing comes naturally, 6 feet between rafts, 6 feet from the bar to the hot tub,

    It’s time, groundhog day will soon give way to amazing unforgettable days in nature the way its meant to be enjoyed!

    • Emily Yearwood
      Posted at 14:25h, 30 April Reply

      Aw man, thanks Bill! I feel the same — not much is better for mind/body/soul. You’ve had some good times here on the river in your day, right? Hope you can make it this way, too – the river misses you! Stay well 🙂

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