Baxter State Park is a highly unusual natural treasure located in Maine. It’s the result of the vision of one person, Percival P. Baxter, governor of Maine from 1921-1924 For decades used his own funds to acquire 200,000 acres that he set up with a trust as a gift to the people of Maine with the stipulation that it remain “Forever Wild.” There’s really no place like it. It’s home to plants and animals that are found nowhere else in Maine or even in the world.
Baxter State Park has various wildlife inhabitants: moose, black bear and white-tailed deer. There are many marshes and bogs and wooded areas in the park to support various types of wild animals: beavers, muskrats, river otters, raccoons, bobcats, fishers, martens, weasels, chipmunks, red squirrels, snowshoe hares, coyotes, lemmings and red foxes. It’s home to various birds such as warblers, thrushes and flycatchers as well as owls, hawks, eagles and ducks and other wetland birds.
Eight people from the PCJ 316 class talked about BSP and Forever Wild on University Day: Melissa Lizotte, Garrett Delong, Brandy Smith, Monica Hewitt, Erin Taylor Keehn, Tong Liu, Meghan Elizabeth Legassie and Josh Cross. Their mission for the semester has been to work to advocate for Baxter State Park’s wildlife and environment. They altogether want people to protect the wild environment. And they all had individual projects to serve Baxter State Park.
“My job is to analyze Baxter State Park’s outreach and communications campaign. The purpose of it is to give Baxter an idea of how effective their campaign is to keep Baxter forever wild. It will also give them an idea of some improvement they can make to involve and inform the public,” Brandy Smith said.
Each student was tasked with specific responsibilities to work on for BSP. Melissa Lizotte worked on a training workshop booklet. Garrett Delong worked on a distribution plan for Finish Well stickers. Monica Hewitt worked on training materials for 2017 thru-hikers and a form/post-hike survey. Erin Keehn worked on an analysis for the Monson Visitor Center. Meghan Legassie worked on a poster campaign and distribution plan. Josh Cross worked on a brochure for Baxter State Park. Tong Liu made an introduction video for BSP.
“Please keep in mind: (it’s a) fragile environment. Nature comes first. Baxter’s a privilege not a right to the people. Working together we can keep Baxter open for generations to come so they too can enjoy Maine’s great outdoors,” Cross said in his brochure.
“I’m surprised to know the history of Baxter State Park, and why we should protect it, and how to protect it,” one of the audience, Claire King, said.
Special thank you to the PCJ group who presented a wonderful and wild Baxter State Park and called for everyone to keep the natural resources and let it be forever wild.