SABATTUS — In the 1930s, Charles Gustin sent his two sons to a Boy Scout camp in Raymond in hopes that they would learn about the land and have fun doing it.

It turns out that Gustin, who worked in lumber and delivered mail, learned plenty himself.

“He fell in love with the idea of camping and the Scouts and what me and my brother were being taught,” said George Gustin, now 77 years old. “That’s when he became interested in getting some land where kids could have a camp and learn the ways of the wild.”

The elder Gustin set his eyes on a tract around Loon Pond in Sabattus. He bought it and later turned it over to the Boy Scouts of America. For more than 60 years, Scouts have been going to what became known as Camp Gustin to learn those ways of the wild.

That long tradition could come to an end: The Pine Tree Council, the Maine chapter of the Boy Scouts, intends to sell the camp and the land upon which it sits. The reason? Financial woes. They say selling the camp could bring in as much as $350,000 to help pay bills and invest in other things.

To current and former Scouts, the idea of selling Camp Gustin for that amount is a travesty.


“That’s not a lot of money in today’s market,” George Gustin said. “Sooner or later, all of it will be gone.”

And so will Camp Gustin, if the Pine Tree Council plows ahead to sell it to the highest bidder. A meeting on the matter is scheduled for next week.

Gustin, whose father bought the land in 1933, was never notified by the council that the camp might be sold. He heard rumors of it and tried to get answers on his own. He called council offices in Portland and could not reach anyone with information.

“We even went down and stopped into their offices a couple of times,” Gustin said. “It was closed. We didn’t get any answers there.”

Now Gustin, a former Scout with Troop 111 of Auburn, is like hundreds of others who have enjoyed the camp on Loon Pond: He is waiting to see what will happen next. He is sure of one thing: His father would not approve of the sale.

“He wanted it to be developed for camping,” Gustin said.


At an Abnaki District meeting Wednesday night, dozens spoke out against the sale. They were Scouts, former Scouts, parents of Scouts and Scout leaders. A day later, after news spread further, others came forward to voice their displeasure.

“What an awful development will be the sale of Camp Gustin,” said Don Goulet, a Lewiston man who went to camp at Gustin in the late 1950s and early ’60s. “I learned how to hunt there, how to cook in the outdoors, and I lost my fear of the woods in that wonderful place. I made lifelong friends.”

Officials from the Pine Tree Council have said that Gustin is used less than any of the four camps operated by the Boy Scouts. But the people who use the camp as part of scouting events — and those whose children attend day camp there — are doubtful of those numbers.

According to numbers provided by Troop 109 Scoutmaster Allen Ward, more than 100 from that pack alone attend the Camporee every Father’s Day weekend and similar numbers attend the Cub Scout Day Camp.

Gustin is available for camping for any leader’s family for any given weekend, Ward said. Canoe training and countless other water events for troops are assembled every summer.

Were Gustin to be sold, Scouts from this area would have to make the much longer trek to Camp Hinds in Raymond.


“Camp Gustin is there for a lot of boys who may not have the ability to travel that far,” said Andy Beaudoin, who attended Wednesday’s meeting with his Scout son.

Officials from the Androscoggin Land Trust, in a memo circulated at that meeting, cautioned the Pine Tree Council about keeping maximum profit as a priority.

Ed Desgrosselliers, chairman of the Abnaki District Council Committee, said Thursday that the next step may involve forming a specific committee to address the matter.

Those with memories of the camp can only wait and see, barring alternatives that have not yet been discussed.

“Were I a rich man, I would buy that land and immediately deed it back to the Scouts with a perpetual provision on nonsalability,” Goulet said. “Once the land is gone, it is gone forever. Shameful!”

George Gustin of Wales holds a picture of his father Charles Gustin, who bought and gave the land on Loon Pond to the Boy Scouts of America.  

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