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Lake Wassookeag, also known as Dexter Pond, spans 1,030 acres in the Maine Highlands tourism region, about 40 miles northwest of Bangor. Its name is derived from the Penobscot Native American word for "shining water." Although Lake Wassookeag is best known for outdoor recreation, it also serves to control water levels and provide drinking water to surrounding towns. The Wassokeag Lake Dam, completed in 1914, is managed by the Dexter Lakes Association, an organization that is additionally responsible for nearby Puffers Pond (also known as Echo Lake), a small body of water with a surface area of 89 acres.
Part of the Sebasticook River Watershed and Penobscot County, Lake Wassookeag's glacial waters and surrounding forests provide a natural habitat for many elusive insect and animal species such as black terns, ribbon snakes, wood turtles and warpaint emerald dragonflies. Wildlife watchers should traverse the Buck Hill portion of the Appalachian Trail, an easy 6.3-mile trek that lasts about three hours.
Swimming and boating are popular summertime activities at Lake Wassookeag. A public beach and public boat ramp are located just north of the Route 23 bridge that bisects the lake. Fishing will likely result in warm water sport fish catches of bass and sunfish. Catfish, pickerel, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, burbo, smelt, lake trout and salmon can also be found. The lake is also great for boating, swimming, and water skiing. Heavy snows during the cold months make Lake Wassokeag a winter wonderland for sports such as cross country skiing, ice fishing and sledding. Snowmobiling enthusiasts will love the Wassookeag Snowmobile Club's 24 miles of trails.
The area surrounding Wassookeag Lake has a fascinating geological and cultural history. More than 11,000 years ago, a massive glacier covered the entire area. Over time it was inhabited by Paleoindians, and then by hunters, gatherers and anglers. Europeans didn't make an appearance until the 1800s, when they created lumber, spool and paper mills.
Close to Lake Wassookeag is Baxter State Park, one of Maine's most precious natural beauties. With 209,501 acres of protected lands, 200 miles of primitive trails and 46 mountain peaks, it is no wonder that the preserve is one of the state's top nature destinations. Hike to any one of the numerous waterfalls, including Big Niagara Falls, Little Niagara Falls, Katahdin Stream Falls and Green Falls - or explore the park's charming lagoons, like Kidney, Grassy, Rocky and Fowler Ponds. The two most popular trails are the 30-mile Frost Pond Trail and the Wadleigh Brook Trail.
Just a few minutes from Lake Wassookeag you'll find the town of Dexter. A golf course, miniature golf, bowling alleys, and shopping malls provide great family fun. The town's North Country Riding Club also hosts four horse shows each season. A regional airport services air transportation.
Maine is known as the "Pine Tree State" for its dense forests and rugged countryside, and Lake Wassookeag is a prime example of this region's incredible natural wonder. Come experience Lake Wassookeag for its exceptional beauty, history and outdoor recreation.
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