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Friends’ authors have been making the rounds this year with book signings, presentations, press coverage and great reviews. If you haven’t seen them yet keep a look-out for a presentation near you and make a point to attend. And of course check out both of these new books which are fascinating additions to any Baxter State Park enthusiast’s reading list.

David Little, author of The Art of Katahdin, published by DownEast, has given numerous presentations all over Maine, highlighting the artwork featured in this stunning publication. His lectures are punctuated by stories and narratives that further illuminate our understanding of the powerful inspiration that the Katahdin Region has had on so many artists for decades. Over the summer, The University of New England Art Gallery in Portland hosted a show – “A Mountain Rises: The Art of Katahdin” - with over 70 works of art featured in David’s book. The opening reception was well attended and the show has been so popular that it has been extended until October 29th. There will be a closing reception on October 15th at 5pm. Both the exhibit and the book have received rave reviews. There is also a display at the Glickman Library at USM in Portland that shows the process of making the book from the first concept through the completion. That exhibit will run through January 2014.

David Little presents “Art of Katahidin” © Bill Bentley
David Little presents “Art of Katahidin”
© Bill Bentley
Painting by Susan Siegel , Bell Pond featured in “art of Katahdin” and on display at UNE Art Gallery.
Painting by Susan Siegel , Bell Pond
featured in “Art of Katahdin”
and on display at UNE Art Gallery.

Authors Howard Whitcomb and John Neff have also had a full schedule of presentations all over New England that featured the vintage images and historic accounts of the Katahdin region, included in their book, Images of America - Baxter State Park and Katahdin, published by Arcadia Publishing. The book continues to enjoy brisk sales at all events.

Note both The Art of Katahdin and Baxter State Park and Katahdin are available on this website or contact us with your order. All proceeds go to FBSP to support Baxter State Park.

Authors John Neff and Howard Whitcomb © Bill Bentley
Authors John Neff and Howard Whitcomb
© Bill Bentley
Cover of Baxter State Park and Katahdin shows four hikers ascending Abol Slide taken by Albert “Bert” Call.
Cover of Baxter State Park and Katahdin
shows four hikers ascending Abol
Slide taken by Albert “Bert” Call.

Governor Baxter Day: Bangor to Katahdin

Friends celebrated Governor Baxter Day: Bangor to Katahdin on July 24, 2013. We hosted a full day of events exploring the historical and contemporary connections between Bangor and the Katahdin region. Highlights included a bird walk,  nature hike for families, plein air painting event along Kenduskeag Stream, walking tour of historic Bangor, presentations by authors Donn Fendler (Lost on a Mountain in Maine) and David Little (Art of Katahdin), and a docent-led tour of the University of Maine Art Museum.  The event culminated at the Top of Bangor Tour, featuring an open house reception at the Joseph Low House, live music, savory treats, and a private tour of the Standpipe next door. The grand finale was a live auction in the barn, featuring artwork created earlier that day, photographs from a photo contest, books, and other donated items.

The goal of Governor Baxter Day was to fundraise and create awareness on behalf of the Plants of Baxter State Park Project, a five-year effort to inventory all plant species in the Park.  Baxter Day featured displays about the project, information about plant species in the Park, and a botanist acting as the historical character of Aaron Young (1839-1984) discussing the history of botanical research in the region.  We are pleased to report that the event was a success on many levels, and raised $2,000 for the Plants project! Thanks to everyone who participated, attended, and donated!

Howard Whitcomb with guests on the ‘Top of Bangor” Standpipe tour.   Photo© Bill Bentley
Howard Whitcomb with guests on the
‘Top of Bangor’ – Tour of Standpipe
Photo© Bill Bentley
Special thanks to Mat and Jody Bourrasa
for hosting Friends at the beautifully
restored Joseph Low House.
Photo © Bill Bentley
Artist Michael Vermette at
the Plein Air Paint Out.
Photo © Bill Bentley
Music in the parlor by Heidi Karod and Nancy Carroll
Photo © Bill Bentley
A sampling of photos from the
Photography Contest
Photo © Bill Bentley
Auctioneer and MC , Rosey Gerry kept it lively.
Photo © Bill Bentley
Donn Fendler signing his book,
Lost on a Mountain,
at the Bangor Public Library.

Barbara Bentley retires as President of the Board.

On April 27th at the 2013 Annual Meeting, Barbara Bentley completed her six year term on the Board as President. Barbara, our energizer bunny, has overseen the incredible growth of the Friends in multiple ways and we cannot thank her enough. Every job the Friends ever paid anyone for, Barbara did it first, as a volunteer. She has effectively been an unpaid executive director since 2007 and active volunteer since 2000. No one in the organization has a greater passion for Baxter State Park, and no one has given more of themselves to the Friends and the Park. Recognitions from the Board included a new bobble-headed award named the “Barbara Award”, a poem describing her six year reign authored by resident poet Jym St. Pierre, a cake, an AMC gift certificate for her and husband Bill Bentley and a giant duffel bag full of goodies. Park director Jensen Bissell bestowed her with a North Trails sign. And Dan O’Leary of the Quimby Family Foundation presented a check of $40,000 in her honor given to Friends. We are glad Barb is not completely retiring and will maintain an active role with us for years to come. Thank you Barb!

Barbara receives the “Barbara Award”. © photo by Bill Bentley
Cake inspired by a Bill Bentley photograph. © photo by Bill Bentley
Park Director Jensen Bissell presents Barbara with North Peaks sign. © photo by Bill Bentley

Friends hires New Executive Director

On May 1, 2013 the first Executive Director, Aaron Megquier of Belmont, begins his duties. Aaron has had a longstanding passion for Baxter State Park that started before he was a year old, and he has a deep commitment to wilderness. He has served as the full-time Assistant Director of Islesboro Islands Trust (IIT) for the past eight years and been involved in virtually every aspect of its management from membership to budgets to fundraising. Aaron graduated from Colby College and has Master’s Degree in Conservation Biology from the University of Wisconsin, earning academic honors all along the way. He runs his own consulting business as an ecologist and botanist and has a long record of experience as an environmental educator. We know you are as excited as we are about the future of the Friends with Aaron as our Executive Director.

Barbara passes “the hat”
(and vest and t-shirt) to Executive
Director Aaron Megquier. © photo by Bill Bentley

Baxter Day Proclaimed!

Its official. The Maine State Senate , the House of Representatives, and Governor Paul LePage officially proclaimed August 22, 2012 to be “Baxter Day”. They were joined by Mayor of Portland, Michael F. Brennan in recognizing this as a day to commemorate Governor Baxter’s legacy to the people of Maine. Here are the official proclamation documents:

Proclimation documents (PDF)

Governor Baxter Day, Golden Anniversary of
his Wilderness Legacy was a success!

On August 22, 2012 in Portland, Maine Baxter enthusiasts joined the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Percival P. Baxter’s acquisition of the final parcel of his 201,018-acre Baxter State Park completing his vision to create a Park that was “Forever Wild” as a gift to the people of Maine. The festivities also recognized Governor Baxter’s other contributions to the people of Maine including Mackwork Island, the Baxter School for the Deaf and Baxter Woods.

The day started with a sunrise over Casco Bay at 6 am in front of the Barrows Sundial on Baxter Blvd and a presentation about James Phinney Baxter by historian Herb Adams.

Later in the morning there was a hike around Mackworth Island Wildlife Sanctuary with Teddy Roosevelt himself! (Reprisor Joe Weigand). Geologist Walter Andersen explained the geologic history of the island while the group ate a picnic overlooking Casco Bay.  After lunch the group visited the Baxter School for the Deaf, the Baxter Mansion, and the Museum, all on Mackworth Island.

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Hiking around Mackworth Island © Bill Bentley

In the early afternoon there was a visit to Baxter family plot at Evergreen Cemetery with a presentation by Maine State Historian Earle Shettleworth.  This was followed by the dedication of a new sign at Baxter Woods with Portland Parks and Forest Manager Jeff Tarling and BSP Director Jensen Bissell. A guided walk through the Baxter Woods revealed an oasis of wilderness in the City of Portland unlike any other City Park.

Meanwhile some people went to the Portland Museum of Art for a docent guided tour of the Frederic Church exhibit featuring paintings of Baxter State Park and Katahdin.

In the late afternoon we gathered together for the Special Reception and Anniversary Program held at the Maine Historical Society. Members of the Baxter family presented a gift to the Maine Historic Society of a painting by Disney artist Maurice “Jake” Day, which was the inspiration for the story of Bambi.


Artwork by Maine artists was also on display including Michael Boardman, Evelyn Dunphy, and Michael Vermette.  Food and beverages were provided by local Maine companies including State of Maine Cheese Company, Ducktrap River of Maine, Wilbur’s of Maine, and Baxter Brewing Company.

The program included an address about news from the Park by Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell. Barbara Bentley, President of Friends of Baxter State Park  presented the Park with a light weight titanium rescue litter that Friends helped purchase in partnership with the Maine Association of Search and Rescue.  This was followed by a presentation and book signing by John Neff and Howard Whitcomb promoting their recently released book Baxter State Park and Katahdin.

The grand finale was a spectacular performance by Teddy Roosevelt (Reprisor Joe Weigand) bringing history to life with a recollection of his early years spent in the great north woods of Maine and the formative experience of his climb up Katahdin. (A story documented in the book On Becoming Roosevelt by Andy Vietz)

The event closed with the auction of a Roosevelt “Teddy Bear”.  The proceeds of the auction went to Friends of Baxter State Park.

We would like to thank everyone who attended and made this special day possible.
Sarah Holland
Admin Manager

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Historian Herb Powers at
the Barrows Sundial © Bill Bentley
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Teddy Roosevelt (Joe Weigand) with FBSP President
Barbara Bentley © Bill Bentley
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FBSP member David Little with Maine State
Historian Earle Shettleworth at Evergreen Cemetary.
© Bill Bentley
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BSP Director Jensen Bissell with Members of the Baxter
Family unveiling the new sign for Baxter Woods. © Bill Bentley
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BSP Director Jensen Bissell and Maine Historical
Society Executive Director Stephen Bromage
with the Painting by Maurice “Jake” Day,
gifted by the Baxter family to MHS. © Bill Bentley
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Joe Weigand as Teddy Roosevelt © Bill Bentley

New book, Baxter State Park and Katahdin by John W. Neff and Howard R. Whitcomb just released!

Painting by Evelyn Dunphy, entitled Katahdin from the Brook.
Baxter State Park and Katahdin cover

The character of Baxter State Park and the great mountain at its heart can be powerfully conveyed through two words: forever wild. The mountain was known as Ktaadn, or “the greatest mountain,” to native peoples who first frequented Maine’s interior northern forest. They were followed by colonial adventurers who explored its cirques and massive granite walls, by those who studied its geology and flora and fauna, and later, by loggers who came to extract the virgin timber from nearby valleys. Finally, recreational climbing and camping led to an effort to protect the rugged beauty of these mountains, lakes, and valleys. When calls for preservation went unheeded, former governor Percival P. Baxter, beginning in the 1930s, purchased 201,000 acres over a period of 30 years and gifted them to the state. Today, Baxter State Park is the guardian of this vast wilderness area for all to enjoy. Baxter State Park and Katahdin draws on a rich collection of archival images dating back to the 19th century.

The co-authors of this new book are John W. Neff, Friends of Baxter State Park’s founding president and author of Katahdin: An Historic Journey, and Howard R. Whitcomb, Friends of Baxter State Park’s Historian and author of Governor Baxter's Magnificent Obsession: A Documentary History of Baxter State Park, 1931-2006 (2008).

Early praise for the book includes this enthusiastic endorsement from Arcadia’s Production Editor Laura Saylor, “Your book is absolutely wonderful. The text you’ve composed is the perfect balance of information and story-telling, and the image collection … is one of the best I’ve seen. … Thank you for producing such a fine volume! You’ve done Baxter State Park and Katahdin a great service by preserving their histories in this book.” The cover photo of the book was taken by Albert “Bert” Call, a gifted photographer from Dexter, Maine, who spent years recording wilderness areas of the north woods. (Courtesy, Special Collections Department, Raymond H. Fogler Library, University of Maine, Bert Call Collection.)

This book, published in the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing, is available from Friends of Baxter State Park for $22.00

The Huber Corp donates large parcel of unspoiled land along Katahdin Lake to Baxter State Park

Painting by Evelyn Dunphy, entitled Katahdin from the Brook.
This painting by Evelyn Dunphy, entitled Katahdin from the Brook,
showing the view of Katahdin Lake and Katahdin from the lake's outlet,
Katahdin Brook, was presented to Huber Resources Corp. by
Friends of Baxter State Park at the Hall of Flags Ceremony in the
State Capitol on January 12, 2012 Photo © Bill Bentley

Read the story

Continuing to set a very high standard for the timber resources industry, the Huber Resources Corporation of Old Town has donated 143 acres of land to Baxter State Park. Governor Percival Baxter had hoped, in setting up the park that bears his name, that businesses might at some time make land donations to the people of Maine as he had done. Now the Huber Corporation, which is one of the largest family-owned corporations in the U.S., has taken the lead by making this first gift. The Baxter State Park Authority accepted the donation at a ceremony in the Hall of Flags in the Capitol building in Augusta on Thursday, January 12, 2012. Park Director Bissell was immediately charged to create a management plan for the parcel within the year.

Barry MacArthur’s retirement

Barry MacArthur’s retirement.
L to R: BSP Ranger Barry MacArthur with grandson and BSP Director Jensen Bissell celebrate Barry’s retirement and long years of service to the Park at a party in Island Falls on November 18, 2011.