MILLINOCKET (AP) – For decades, campers have lined up on New Year’s Eve to be the first in line the next morning to reserve just one night in Lookout Cabin, which is Baxter State Park’s most popular spot.

Perched on granite boulders, the cabin with a wall of windows and a chorus of bullfrogs feels like it’s part of the Daicey Pond. Mount Katahdin, in the distance, glows when the sun sets.

So it’s also easy to understand why some campers aren’t taking kindly to the notion of Lookout Cabin and nearby Outlet Cabin being razed this fall to make way for a modern bat-free, airtight cabin.

The still waters of Daicey Pond will continue to draw campers to its eight remaining historic cabins and the new cabin next summer.

But fans of Outlet, like the couples who dubbed this romantic spot “the honeymoon suite,” aren’t taking the news lying down.

“People love the place,” said George Kerivan, a retired teacher and summer resident of Maine who nominated the cabins for inclusion on a list of “endangered buildings.” Last week, the cabins were cited by the group Maine Preservation as an example of historic buildings in dire need of protection.

“Sporting camps are becoming an increasingly rare part of our heritage,” Maine Preservation’s director, Roxanne Eflin, said. “If we have an opportunity to save these, we need to do what we can.”

Park director Irvin “Buzz” Caverly Jr., who conceived the plan, argues that pricey historic preservation is not the park’s role.

Park father Percival Baxter’s instructions give clear priorities for how the park should be managed, and the human history of the area is not among them.

“Our goal is not to memorialize buildings or people. It’s to protect the natural resources. We can’t say that enough,” he said.

Daicey Pond was a sporting camp long before Percival Baxter even visited Mount Katahdin and the land that would come to be a park bearing his name.

Baxter purchased the land a few years after Outlet and Lookout were built in the 1930s, but allowed the camp’s owners to continue to operate until the late 1960s, when the park purchased the camps.

Critics say Caverly has deliberately let some buildings deteriorate so they’ll be removed. Caverly rejected that notion.

“For 30 years now, we’ve patched, fixed, painted and made improvements that were substantial. But buildings, like people, don’t last forever, and it’s time that these go,” he said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.