Here’s your chance to own a little piece of Baxter State Park. Historic signs from the park are up for bid in an annual online auction and fundraiser organized by the nonprofit organization Friends of Baxter State Park.
The auction includes 20 retired signs from favorite hikes in the park, including South Turner Mountain, Mount OJI, the Marston Trail and Little Abol Falls. Several iconic fishing spots are also represented, including Russell Pond and Slaughter Pond.
“These are all authentic Baxter State Park signs,” said Aaron Megquier, the executive director of Friends of Baxter State Park. “All have a different history … With some of them, you can see how they were mounted, the weathering and how they’ve been chewed by squirrels — evidence of years in the woods.”
Other signs in the auction look almost brand new, having only spent a short time in the park. Megquier explained that each year, park signs are replaced for different reasons. Some signs are retired when they become too old and weathered to be read by park visitors, while other signs are replaced when trails are re-routed (and mileage changes) or rules change.
Park rangers and other staff members collect these retired signs throughout the year, then Friends of Baxter State Park combs through them to select a variety for the annual auction.
“This year, the whole park is pretty well represented [by the signs included in the auction],” Megquier said. “We have signs from the north end all the way down to the south end of the park.”
Half of the proceeds from the auction will be donated directly to the 209,644-acre park. The other half will support a variety of programs run by the Friends group, including a youth trail crew program that hires teens from the Katahdin region to conduct summer trail work in the park.
“It’s a wonderful way to support the park,” Megquier said. “I get to talk to people all the time that have connections with a particular trail or pond or campground in Baxter. This is a cool way to be able to connect to that place and remember that place when you’re not there.”
The auction is entirely online and may be accessed at 32auctions.com/fbsp2019. Bidding opened at 9 a.m. Nov. 4, and will close at midnight Dec. 4.