Adding tribal representative to the Baxter State Park Board

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Super Moderator
Staff member
Sep 3, 2003
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Gorham NH
As discussed, the Deeds of Trust developed by Baxter were set forth and accepted multiple times over the course of decades by subsequent legislatures as a condition of accepting BSP. There is definitely a concern that once an exception to the Deeds is made, it opens them up to future exceptions. To date, as far as I am aware, the only changes in park rules have been interpretations of unclear aspects and to deal with new techology. The other exception is allowing service animals in the park which is federal mandate.

Here is copy of the Deeds that I could locate

The park does close Katahdin Stream Campground Labor Day weekend to general public to allow the local tribe to exclusive access.
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Sounds like an appropriate exception that would enhance the management of the park. Certainly does not seem like a decision that would be subject to misuse unlike the service dog exception.
If you have about 28 minutes to burn up, (and a cat person) there is some accessible discussion of when the wishes of the creator or charitable trust doesn't line up with the current world. I dont pretend to know the details of the legal framework for BSP. He was a lawyer and former politician who did not trust politicians in general and was particularly distrustful of some politician in the future contravening his wishes so my guess is it will have to end up in court to formally make the change.

The court generally tries to establish intent of the originator of the trust. Up until 2005 this would have been quite difficult as Baxter's intent was spread over a lifetime of public and private correspondence and speeches. The previous successful case of allowing personal snowmobiles on the perimeter road mostly came down to establishing intent.

Back in 2005 Howard Whitcomb an academic backed by the Friends of Baxter State Park (when they were at a high point) did an extensive search of every archive he could find and created a four volume series of books establishing to the best of his ability, an archive of everything BSP, no doubt it would be basis for any court ruling.
I met Mr Whitcomb at a BSP opening day, he had what he claimed was possibly the only personal copy of the set of the first edition, the majority went to libraries and institutions and were inaccessible until it became available for download from the Maine State Library. I think the first printing was 250 copies and there was such a demand that a second print was done. AMC reportedly has a copy. Anyone who wants to research any BSP subject should got to the source and this about as close as anyone will get to Baxter's intent.
Wow! That is a wealth of knowledge. Thanks for posting.