Lower Fowler Pond Trail
Lower Fowler Pond Trail

Baxter State Park is the result of a dream of former Governor Percival P. Baxter who donated the first parcel of land in 1931 and over the years added various parcels until his final acquisition in 1962 brought the Park’s area to 201,018 acres. Since then, the Authority has purchased and been gifted additional acreage to bring the Park to its current size of 209,644 acres. In addition to the various gifts of land, Governor Baxter also left two sizeable trust funds to carry out the operation and maintenance of the Park without the need for state funding.

While Baxter State Park bears the name "State" it is separately administered, free from any connection with the larger State Park system (Bureau of Parks and Lands/Dept. of Conservation). The Baxter State Park Authority, a three person authority consisting of the Attorney General, the Director of the Maine Forest Service and the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, has full power in the control and management of the Park and in the exercise of all Trust obligations.

About 40% of the costs of Park operations are financed from a combination of entrance fees, camping, and wood products revenues with the remaining 60% provided by revenues from trusts established by Percival Baxter in 1945 and again through his will after his death in 1969 to provide funds for the care and maintenance of Baxter State Park. Park operations are also assisted by donations from independent trusts and organizations such as the Baxter Park Wilderness Trust and the Friends of Baxter State Park. The Baxter State Park Authority also accepts numerous donations from individuals every year

The Authority operates the Park through a Park Director and administrative staff consisting of a Chief Ranger, Park Naturalist, Business Manager and Resource Manager. The Park currently employs 22 year round, and 39 seasonal employees to protect, maintain and operate the Park. Park operations are also supported by Maine Conservation Corp, Student Conservation Association and other contracted personnel to prepare firewood bundles, perform road maintenance and forest harvesting and management operations and other maintenance work.

The Park is assisted in the development of policy and operational procedures by a number of committees including the Baxter State Park Advisory Committee, the Scientific Forest Management Area Advisory Committee, the Baxter Park Research Committee, and the Baxter Park Investment Committee. These groups of dedicated volunteers are composed of individuals with either or both a wide range of Park experience or specific technical expertise who are interested in assisting the Park. The committees operate at the pleasure of the Authority and provide helpful advice on emerging Park policy or operational concerns.