Aroostook Valley Country Club illegal border crossing

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

Comments (23)

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cooljim on January 31, 2009

Weird. Tough border security. Scairy sign.

wbaron on January 31, 2009

Yeah, the Canadian border is a much different place than the Mexican border. They've started puting gates at the crossings for after hours use (they just used road cones before 9-11), but this place is an odd, one-way border crossing. Canada has border inspections, but the US doesn't. Go figure...

wbaron on May 31, 2009

This is a golf course where an errand shot will leave the country. The course is in Canada, but the parking lot is in the US.

wbaron on June 2, 2009

Yes, they have a camera on a pole, but they don't always have someone nearby to respond when somebody takes a left.

Proof Sheet on June 10, 2009

From what I recall, the road leading north and east from the golf course only really goes to Canada, and that course is completely in Canada, but the parking lot is in the US. The US authorities are wanting the Canadians going to the course to enter via the US (via Fort Fairfield ME). As well, the road shown on the photo is technically in the US I believe and one elderly man lives on the east side of the road and the road in front is in the US but his house is in Canada. The US authorities are wanting his relatives to enter via Fort Fairfield ME which is many km's extra.

wbaron on June 10, 2009

I think you are mostly correct, Proof Sheet. The story I heard about the 4 Falls border crossing is that years ago (when all the roads were dirt), as many people arriving from Canada went northeast toward US1 as sowth past the golf course. The dirt road to the north is still there, but almost nobody uses it. Both the US and Canada supposedly had border stations there, although I've not been able to find photographic evidence of either one. If anyone out there has any, please let me know.

Then, in a cost cutting move, both countries decided to close this crossing, and they both demolished their border stations. Then, mostly under presssure from Canadian golfers, Canada re-esttablished the crossing eastbound only and continues today to lease a portable building for the inspector. Today, as far as I know, this place and Hyder AK are the only places where you can be inspected legally entering Canada, but not when entering the US.

crackerssouth on June 28, 2009

So far all these comments are correct... we are travelling down to see friends this July and will play golf there... didn't need them before, but I guess we better pack the Passports in the bag since the new regulations came into effect. Yeah, this is the strangest golf course anyone could play, pity the lefty who slices... LOL

JOMuirhead on July 19, 2009

I worked at Loring AFB from 1963 until 1965. We often played golf on Sundays at the Aroostook Vally CC. It was illegal to serve alcoholic beverages on Sunday in Maine at the time. The AVCC clubhouse was in Canada so we could have our after game beers. The parking lot, which is in the US, is divided into east and west halves. The sign is at the north exit of the east side of the lot. Americans, arriving from Fort Fairfield parked in the West side. Canadians, coming from Four Falls via Brown Road, entered the US 1.6 miles north of the clubhouse when they turned south onto Russell Road. They park in the east lot. Canadians leaving the club have to go north back to Brown Road and into Canada. American vehicles, having never left the US turned left out of the West lot onto Russell road toward Fort Fairfield. An American playing AVCC should not require a passport...Canadians, maybe.

wbaron on July 19, 2009

Thanks J.O. (if I can call you that). You raise a good point - This is probably the only place where an American can play 18 holes of golf in Canada without a passport.

Back in the 1960s, do you know if there was a US border station on this road? I think it would have been near where Russell Road turns east toward Canada, but I haven't met anyone who knows.

Proof Sheet on July 20, 2009

I went along Brown Road in either 1996 or 1998 from Canada...when I got to the border crossing (I think it was where Brown Road makes a sharp turn to the south and then becomes Russell Road) I turned around...there was definately a border post back in the late 90's. I was just curious to see how the roads and border looked back then and didn't have any photo ID on me (drivers licence did not have photo etc) so I didn't cross.

Proof Sheet on July 20, 2009

I believe that the building you can see on the SE corner of Brown/Russell (on the Google Earth link) is the border post

JOMuirhead on July 20, 2009

I never drove north beyond the AVCC so I don't know about a US border station. I believe that Proof Sheet is correct about the building southeast of the Brown/Russell road intersection. It appears to be a fifty foot wide trailer. There also appears to be a traffic control arm extending across the south lane of Brown Road.

Interestingly, there is one Canadian farm on the east side of Russell Road with no access to Canadian roads except by going North on Russell road to Brown Road. I wonder how inconvenient that must be?

Proof Sheet on July 21, 2009

This website gives information about that farmer mentioned by JO Muirhead

wbaron on July 21, 2009

Thanks - that's a good article. It seems every few years someone new comes along and thinks they have a better way of handling the situation, but they end up just making a mess.

The building you can see on Google Earth is actually the Canadian border station at 4 Falls. I uploaded a picture of it. I took these pictures around 1998. What I don't know is if the story I heard is true about there being a US border station here in the distant past. From the article, you can see there is a need for a new one, but it should probably be located south of the golf course. This would solve all the problems. It was the approach taken at places like Derby Line VT, Fort Covington NY, and Beebe VT. Don't consider someone to be entering until they decide to travel beyond the border station. People shouldn't take the boundary line so literally.

crackerssouth on July 22, 2009

We arrived at our friends in Aroostook NB July 10th with the hope of playing the course with them. They had no passports, couldn't play. They knew about this issue a year in advance, so never renewed their memberships, as did many other Canadians. It would appear this might be the demise of AVCC. What used to be a 6 mile drive has now become a 14 mile drive, now entering at Fort Fairfield.. I'm looking on Google Earth at this whole scenerio, how does Mr.Pedersen get his mail ? When he visits his neighbour on the other side of Russell or vise versa (technically he should drive 20 miles to drive 300 yards.What about snow removal. But seriously, after reading that posted artice "There was talk about the U.S. putting a customs trailer just across the corner on the Brown Road where it turns into Russell Road… We do not have property in Canada that would allow us to construct our own road to the golf course. We would have to make arrangements with two Canadian families and build an access road all the way to the golf course." Does this mean Russell Rd is really in Canada ? If so, problem solved for Canadian golfers.. I really hope common sense prevails to keep this unique golf course from going under.

Proof Sheet on July 22, 2009

Wbaron.....what was the approach taken at Fort Covington...iirc the Canadian post is much closer to the actual border line than the US post....there are about 6 - 8 homes on US soil between the actual border and the US border building. In reality there probably isn't any room on the west side of the road to have a would be in the river closer to the actual border on the west side of the river south of the border.

wbaron on July 22, 2009

There are lots of border crossings where there are houses between the 2 ports of entry. In most cases, the border inspectors know the residents and they are typically waived through when heading toward the country of their citizenship. They have to stop for inspection when heading the other way, but this is usually quick since the other inspector usually also knows them well.

At Fort Covington, there is a hotel and bar between the border stations which really complicates things. There is also a river with a dock, so people sometimes arrive at the hotel without ever passing a border station. That's a real mess. But not as bad as Derby Line, where the whole town straddles the border.

crackerssouth on July 23, 2009

Wbaron, didn't realize the markers changed sides, been 10 years since I played there. I do remember seeing them on the right side though. If I was Mr. Pederson I might seriously consider carving out a dirt path from Browns Rd to the course and then stick a donation box up. It would benefit him too. What really happens there between October and April when the CBSA is closed. Guess they just put up a sign, "Closed for Winter". Yeah, that'll stop people from entering the U.S. Just off topic for a moment.... We used to boat over to Olcott NY, on Lake Ontario in the early 90's. Had 15 minutes after docking to check in with US Immigration and were given a confirmation number. Upon returning to our port in Canada, we called an 800 number to Canadian Customs, gave them the number and reported what we had purchased. If the officer thought it was worthwhile, he would drive the 2 hours from Toronto to check you out. Needless to say, they never came out very often. Don't know the procedure now, but obviously it's changed.

wbaron on July 23, 2009

For boaters who aren't traveling to ports of entry, they came up with 2 options: 1 is to get a form (I-68) that lets you travel back and forth, but costs $32 per year. 2 is to dock your boat at a place where there is a videophone. There is a requirement in the US that the inspection be "face to face". I installed a videophone in Olcott and in many other places, and most of them are still in use today. I posted a picture of the Olcott videophone which is inside the dockmaster's office. You can see the back of my head.

crackerssouth on July 26, 2009

wbaron.... we'll be back into Ontario in 2 weeks, so I'm putting the AVGC to bed, will still check in once in a while.... hope our 2 countries can work something out, even though I doubt it... pleasure conversing with you.. Dave B

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