Located in northern Aroostook County and the northernmost edge of Maine, bordering Canada’s province of New Brunswick, the St. John Valley is separated solely by the natural border – the St. John River from Allagash to Hamlin. The inhabitants of the St. John Valley are known for their friendliness, hospitality, ingenuity and exceedingly strong work ethic. They are a proud culture, many of whom are bilingual Francophones, who embrace and celebrate their Acadian heritage through education, foods, festivals and in everyday life. The area serves as the center of Maine’s Acadian culture.
The economic base of the St. John Valley communities lies in:
- Agriculture- which mainly consists of potato-farming. The potatoes generated by local farmers have consistently been well-known nationwide for producing a high-quality product. The local climate conditions are conducive to successfully raising this crop. The St. John Valley schools remain, for the time being, the only districts in Maine that schedule a harvest break period into the academic calendar for students to be available to help local farmers harvest.
- The Paper Industry- The international Twin Rivers Paper Company in Madawaska, serves as one of the largest employers in the St. John Valley, making Madawaska the industrial center of the Valley.
- Outdoor Recreation- The St. John Valley, and Aroostook County for that matter, have established a reputation for maintaining some of the best outdoor recreation vehicle trails in the nation – specifically for snowmobiling. In whatever community you find yourself in, there are easy access points to ATV and snowmobile trails anywhere in the region.
The number of lakes, streams and rivers in the area make the Valley a freshwater fisherman’s paradise. The woods and naturally untouched areas also make this a great location for camping and hunting spot for moose, deer, geese, bear and grouse, among others.
- Tourism- Driving along country roads, you will find absolutely breathtaking scenic vistas -patchworks of farmland, fields of wildflowers, forests and/or lakes, streams or rivers in all four seasons. Is it any wonder, in 2014, the Maine Department of Transportation identified the area along Route 1 following the St. John River as the St. John Valley Cultural Scenic Byway and later in 2020, along with the Fish River Scenic Byway, received a National Scenic Byway designation.
Between the scenery, the wealth of outdoor recreation activities, the culture and reputation for friendliness and work ethic of the locals, recreational facilities in each community and the myriad of festivals and activities hosted by local clubs and organizations throughout each season, there is always something for visitors to explore or participate in. We whole-heartedly welcome everyone to come and experience the region for yourselves. The St. John Valley, as has been said by many who visit, is one of the best kept secrets in Maine for visiting and a true gem atop the Crown of Maine (Aroostook County).
The region of the St. John Valley is quite vast. The St. John Valley Chamber of Commerce’s coverage area reaches the eastern and central end of that region. It includes the towns of Grand Isle, Madawaska, Frenchville, St. Agatha, Sinclair, and Van Buren.