Baxter State Park

Millinocket, Maine | C.1931

Photo Credit: Erik Hayward

Baxter State Park “shall forever be kept and remain in the natural wild state” thanks to a decree by Maine politician, Percival P. Baxter. Nearly a century after he donated thousands of acres to create the park, it remains one of the most remote places in New England, attracting outdoor enthusiasts, inspired artists, and thrill-seeking adventurers alike.

An avid outdoorsman, Baxter spent his childhood fishing and exploring the woods of Maine. Following his time as governor, he purchased a tract of 6,000 acres and donated it to the State in the hopes of preserving the land for future generations. Percival would donate an additional 28 tracts – which he primarily saved from timber companies who had heavily logged them – ultimately increasing the size of Baxter State Park to more than 200,000 preserved acres.

The centerpiece of the Park, Mount Katahdin is the largest mountain in Maine, measuring in at 5,629 feet (1715 m). Named “The Greatest Mountain” by the indigenous Penobscot Native Americans, the peak has not only enticed climbers, but has been the inspirational centerpiece of well known paintings and songs. Under Baxter’s land deed, Mount Katahdin has and will remain a protected peak.

These days, outdoor enthusiasts continue to test their off-the-grid camping skills within the park with wood sheds like this one acting as rugged reminders that all light will be generated ‘the old fashioned way’ as you won’t find any electricity in the Park — and likely won’t anytime soon, thanks to Baxter’s promise to keep these lands “forever wild”.

:memo: Written by: Kelly Murray

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