Penobscot (pənŏbˈskŏt) [key], river, 350 mi (563 km) long, rising in numerous lakes in central Maine and flowing generally east in four branches, uniting, then flowing S into Penobscot Bay; longest river in Maine. The river, navigable to Bangor, is an important source of power; several miles north of its mouth the river is crossed by the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory. The Penobscot's upper course is in a wooded region famous for hunting, fishing, and canoeing, and its lower regions are gradually recovering from heavy lumbering. The Penobscot was first explored by the English voyager Martin Pring in 1603; in 1604 the French explorer Samuel de Champlain sailed up the course of the river.
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