MADAWASKA (NEWS CENTER Maine) — Bike Maine riders pedaled 49.5 miles Monday from Caribou to Madawaska.
Madawaska is a mill town. A mill owned by the Twin Rivers Paper Company is the major employer. It manufactures specialty papers of many types, from what your hamburger comes wrapped in at Wendy's to peel-off labels.
Al Martin, who grew up in nearby St. Francis, acknowledged how important the mill is to Madawaska. "Without this mill, this place would be so different," he told NEWS CENTER Maine.
The mill is connected to another which is across the St. John River in Edmunston, New Brunswick. It's a unique situation.
"We're fully integrated," Martin said. "Our pumping operation is in Edmunston. Basically, they produce our pulp. Our pulp comes in through large pipes underneath the St. John River into our facility here in the U.S., more specifically Madawaska.
Many of the workers are of Acadian heritage and many are bilingual, speaking French as well as English.
Madawaska is the name of the region to which many Acadians escaped after the Great Upheaval of 1755. The Great Upheaval is considered an ethnic cleansing carried out by the English. It was immortalized in the Longfellow poetic narrative Evangeline.