The Dead River Public Reserve in central Maine is a vast wilderness area that falls outside of the state's designation of a park. It is defined as a rugged, stretch of land that encompasses several miles of the lake as well as the Dead River as it leaves the lake.
Visitors enjoy camping at the lake's sites, accessible by boat, and at the vehicle accessible campground at the Big Eddy on the river according to Maine's Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. Essentially, this is the Maine backwoods without officially maintained trails and with limited access.
The Dead River's seclusion is an attractant to some because this region is world-known for spectacular scenery, wild rivers, and indigenous wildlife. That said, the Maine park system, which has maintained trails and campsites, only allows dogs on leashes throughout its expansive tracts of land.
This is a state park, so the policies are more open. Dogs in this region will be up against a varied, rugged environment that includes moose and bear, but also campers, canoe travelers, all-terrain vehicles, off-road bicycling, snowmobiles, snowshoes, and cross-country skiers, as well as horseback riders, swimmers, and fishing enthusiasts.
The Dead River Public Reserved Land is an off-road, unfenced, predictably gorgeous wildlife area in the center of a state that still has areas designated as N-13 or W-4 because that is where it falls on the map and nobody has settled there long enough to give those locations a proper name. Expect, well, bugs, beasts, and beauty.
Your dog will love everything about this territory, but there are hazards at large. There is the occasional black bears for example, which are to be enjoyed from a distance and left alone otherwise. Moose are fairly ornery creatures when it comes to dogs snapping at their heels. And the main fear of such a pristine setting is the chance your dog could get lost.
This is a land with unmarked trails and unfamiliar smells. The odds of your dog finding its way back to your campsite are much slimmer than the odds of getting back home if they run out your back door. Otherwise, this area is a great place to bring a camera and keep it close for shots of the wild and wonderful Maine wilderness.