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Baxter State Park Winter Rules
Baxter State Park Authority
State of Maine

Dear Friend:
Thank you for your interest in visiting Baxter State Park during the winter season.

The Baxter State Park Authority has developed a set of procedures and guidelines for winter use in an effort to assist Park users in planning trips to Baxter State Park, to promote safety of all persons using the Park and to protect the Baxter State Park Authority and its staff from unnecessary search and rescue efforts.

These procedures and guidelines are necessary because of the potential dangers associated with use in remote areas with arctic winter conditions. Please read the enclosed RULES AND REGULATIONS AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES GOVERNING WINTER ACTIVITIES before applying to the Park Director for special winter use permits; changes in practice and policy are incorporated each year.

The winter season in Baxter State Park runs from December 1 - April 1. Reservations for overnight use of Park facilities may be obtained from the Reservation Clerk at Park Headquarters, through the mail or in person, from November 1st to March 15th. All information requested (Trip Itinerary with the list of party members, Certifications of Physical Fitness for all Party members and Certifications of Training and Experience for both the Leader and alternate leaders along with the appropriate fee) must be received by the Reservation Clerk. The trip leader or co-leaders are responsible for gathering all certifications necessary for each party member. THE REQUESTED INFORMATION AND FEES MUST ACCOMPANY ALL RESERVATION REQUESTS.


All reservations, payments and refund for each party will be processed through the Trip Leader. Money Orders or bank checks must be used for the payment of camping fees. ALL PERSONAL CHECKS WILL BE RETURNED. Request for refunds must be received at least seven (7) days in advance of the reservation date. A $25.00 fee will be charged for each refund requested. Should your application not be accepted by the Director, the remittance will be refunded in full.

There are four types of winter activity in the Park:

DAY USE: Primarily cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the Togue Pond and Matagamon area. No special permission is required. Day-users are requested to check in and out at the self-registration box at the gate or Headquarters (by phone, if more convenient).

Snowmobiles are allowed in the Park in restricted areas. See attached Rules, #21.

WINTER CAMPING AND HIKING: Camping in authorized campsites: Lean-to's, tent sites, bunkhouses, cabins, picnic areas; skiing and snowshoeing below timberline.

TECHNICAL CLIMBING: Any trip off marked trails, above timberline, or across Knife Edge, as well as ice or snow climbing.

ALPINE SKIING: Any use of skis above timberline. Winter fees are as follows: (Revised 1992)

  • Tent sites $8.00/person/night
  • Lean-to's $8.00/person/night
  • Bunkhouse* $13.00/person/night
  • *except Chimney Pond $25.00/person/night
  • Cabin (Daicey & Kidney Pond) $20.00/person/night

The following information is provided to help you in your trip planning:

The public highway leading to the South Entrance of the Park (Togue Pond Gate) from Millinocket is plowed as far as Millinocket Lake, where parking area is provided. Winter visitors to Baxter State Park are advised to take the "Golden Road" from Millinocket Lake for 10 miles and park in the provided parking area near Abol Bridge on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. Bowater/Great Northern does not allow parking at any other points along their road.

The public highway leading to the North Entrance of the park from Patten (Rt. 159) is plowed as far as the Matagamon parking lot about 1/4 mile beyond the bridge over the East Branch of the Penobscot River.

All Park visitors are encouraged to stop at Baxter State Park Headquarters, off Route 157 in Millinocket (right next to McDonald's), for the latest Park and weather information. Headquarters hours are 8:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M. Monday-Friday. Finally, if there is any further help we can give to assist in trip preparation or planning, please don't hesitate to write or call.

Irvin C. Caverly, Jr.
Baxter State Park
Recommendations for winter visitors.


  • Millinocket - Millinocket Lake 10 miles
  • Millinocket Lake - Abol Bridge (parking) 10 miles
  • Abol Bridge to Abol Beach 1.5 miles
  • Abol Bridge to Togue Pond via Old Road/Snowmobile Trail 6 miles
  • Abol Bridge to Togue Pond via Abol Beach & perimeter rd. 4 miles
  • Togue Pond to Roaring Brook 8 miles
  • Roaring Brook to Chimney Pond 3.3 miles
  • Roaring Brook to Russell Pond via Russell Pd. trail 7.2 miles
  • Russell Pond to Pogy Pond 3.7 miles
  • Russell Pond to South Branch Pond 9.6 miles
  • Togue Pond to Abol Campground 5.7 miles
  • Abol Campground to Katahdin Stream Campground 2.0 miles
  • Katahdin Stream to Daicey via road system 3.6 miles
  • Katahdin Stream to Kidney via road system 4.1 miles
  • Katahdin Stream to Nesowadnehunk Field Campground 9.1 miles
  • Nesowadnehunk Field Campground to South Branch Campground (via perimeter and spur road) 19.3 miles
  • South Branch Pond Campground to Trout Brook Farm Campground 7 miles
  • Trout Brook Farm Campground to Matagamon parking lot 4.2 miles
  • Nesowadnehunk Field Campground to McCarty Field bunkhouse via perimeter road and Dwelly Pond trail 9.8 miles
  • South Branch Campground to McCarty Field bunkhouse via perimeter road and the McCarty Field spur road 10.8 miles
  • Daicey Spur Road 1.5 miles
  • Kidney Spur Road 1.5 miles
  • South Branch Spur Road 2.3 miles
NOTE: Obviously, the time required to complete any mileage in the winter is enormously variable. Try to factor in changes in snow/ice conditions, elevation gains, trail-breaking exertion, group experience, etc., when planning your trip. Then add a healthy margin for the unexpected: equipment failure, illness and other assorted wilderness challenges.

Baxter State Park
64 Balsam Drive
Millinocket, Me. 04462
(207) 723-5140

Maine Logging Industry - A Brief History - Logging in Maine began in the early 1600's when English explorers first cut trees on Monhegan Island. In 1634, the first sawmill, powered by water, was built at South Berwick. By 1832, Bangor had become the largest shipping port for lumber in the world. At times, as many as 3000 ships were anchored there and one could almost walk across ship decks to Brewer. 8,737,628,202 board feet of lumber were shipped from Bangor between 1832 and 1888. During this period, Patten, situated 100 miles north of Bangor, became a center for logging operations. Each spring, logs harvested in the Patten area during the preceding winter were floated down the Penobscot River in massive drives to the mills in the Bangor area. Several contributions to the logging industry came from the state of Maine, including the Peavey cant dog and the Lombard log hauler.

Axes and Cant Dogs - The ax was one of man's earliest inventions and reached its highest development in America. With axes, the early logger built camps and horse hovels, sinks, chairs, doors, and bunks. In the early days, saws were unknown in the woods, so the ax was used to fell the trees. A cant dog or cant hook was used for lifting, turning, and prying logs when loading sleds and on the drive. At first, a swivel hook on a pole with nothing to hold it in position was used. This was called a swing dingle. In 1858, Joseph Peavey, a blacksmith in Stillwater, Maine, made a rigid clasp to encircle the cant dog handle with the hook on one side. It moved up and down but not sideways. All loggers have used it ever since.

Wagons and Tote Roads - Before tote roads were built and put into operation, supplies were moved by canoe. As lumbering moved up the rivers, the canoe was inadequate for moving necessary bulky and heavy supplies. A boat was needed for shallow water that used oars, paddles, or poles and was light enough to be carried around rapids and over land. The bateau was suited for this.

River Driving - When the ice broke up in the streams and rivers in late March and early April, the men began rolling the logs into the water that would carry them to the mill. Their daily lives consisted of working in ice water 14 hours a day, sleeping in wet blankets, eating coarse food, and constantly risking their lives. The river drive was the loggers' supreme test as they nimbly rode a log down a spring flooded river in their heavy, spiked boots. Logs sometimes jammed up behind rocks and other logs. The drivers cleared the jams by working from boats with poles and leaping from log to log. Sometimes dynamite had to be used to clear the jam.

The Early Sawmills - In the early days, before powered saw mills came into use, lumber was sawn using a pit saw. Pit sawing was done by two men with a long saw that had crosshandles at each end. A log, hewn square, was placed over the pit. One man, the sawyer, stood on top of it to pull the saw up and the other man, the pit man, stood in the pit to pull the saw down. In a long day, they would usually saw 12 - 14 boards. Logs were hauled to the saw pit using oxen and a go-devil or scoot. This was made from the natural fork of a hardwood tree.

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