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Irvin C. Caverly, Jr. Papers

Identifier: SpC MS 1827

Scope and Contents

Collection, (1917-2023) includes papers, personal correspondence, and publications regarding former Governor Percival P. Baxter (born 1876-died 1969) and Baxter State Park. Also included are the office papers, ranger logs, monthly planners, and personal correspondences of Irvin “Buzz” Caverly, Jr., who worked in Baxter State Park for 46 years. Among the office papers are publications, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and legislative documents on the Katahdin Lake Campaign of 2006, in which Caverly played a major role as honorary co-chair of the project. There is also personal correspondence between Caverly and Frank Trautmann, the donor behind the Baxter Park Wilderness Trust Fund and papers regarding the Trust’s creation in 2007.


  • Creation: 20th century


Conditions Governing Access

Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.

Use Restrictions

Rights assessment remains the responsibility of the researcher. No known restrictions.

Biographical Note

Irvin “Buzz” Caverly, Jr. began working at Baxter State Park in 1960 as Park Ranger I immediately after graduating from Lee Academy in Lee, Maine. A year later he met Janice Thompson at Cold Stream Pond in Enfield, Maine, and they married in 1963. Jan was Caverly’s partner in more ways than one, becoming instrumental in preserving the park and managing its office. In 1982, 22 years after first being hired as a ranger, Caverly was selected to be the Baxter State Park Director, a position he would remain in until his retirement in 2005. Upon hearing of Caverly’s plan to retire, Governor John Baldacci declared October 30 as “Buzz Caverly Day” in Maine and presided over a celebratory dinner at the University of Maine at Orono. The Baxter State Park Authority renamed two sections of the park after Caverly as well in honor of his commitment to preserving Baxter’s vision. In June of 2006, Caverly accepted the position of honorary co-chair of the Katahdin Lake Campaign with Governor Baldacci. In this position, he successfully lobbied in support of LD 2015, which allowed for the incorporation of Katahdin Lake and surrounding areas into Baxter State Park. Caverly remained active with the park, accepting an appointment from Governor Baldacci in 2007 to serve as the Baxter Park Wilderness Trust Fund Commissioner. His term expires in August of 2023.

(Austin, Phyllis. Wilderness Partners: Buzz Caverly and Baxter State Park. Maine: Tilbury House Publishers, 2008.) (“Janice T. Caverly.” Bangor Daily News. August 16, 2016. Accessed June 26, 2023. (“What We Do.” Baxter Park Wilderness Fund Trust. Accessed June 23, 2023.

Historical Note

Governor Percival P. Baxter served as the Governor of Maine from 1921-1924. Baxter was known for his strong love of the outdoors, and spent much of his sizable fortune on preservation of the Maine wilderness. These purchases culminated into what would become known as Baxter State Park, which Baxter donated to the state of Maine in 1931. Baxter continued to add land to the park until the early 1960s, with the goal of expanding the park to over 200,000 acres. By the time he passed away in 1969, Baxter State Park covered 201,018 acres, spelling out the success of Baxter’s preservation work. Three figures were given authority by Governor Baxter to maintain the park: the Commissioner of Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Director of Maine State Forest Services, and the Maine Attorney General. In the deeds, Baxter held the state to maintaining the natural, wild state of the park and to preserving it as a wildlife sanctuary. Hunting and trapping was explicitly prohibited, except in small sections that Baxter added in the mid-fifties through the early sixties. Baxter gave authority to restore, protect, and clean the park in order to promote forest growth in the event of some natural disaster, but otherwise insisted that the park must be kept wild. Currently, 75% of the park serves as a wildlife sanctuary, with 25% of it allowing hunting and trapping. Within that 25% lies 3,569 acres donated by Baxter to become the Scientific Forestry Management Area. The former governor felt that it was important for the state to use this land to study reforestation, production, and forest control. The Baxter State Park Authority, composed of 15 citizens, assists with the affairs of the park and protects Governor Baxter’s wishes outlined in the deeds. In 2006, the Authority teamed up with the Trust for Public Land, a non-profit based in Portland, Maine, and began the Katahdin Lake Campaign. Katahdin Lake was once described by Baxter as “one of the most beautiful of all Maine lakes.” He had tried to incorporate the lake into the park, but without success. The 717-acre lake, along with another 3,323 acres surrounding it, would complete Baxter’s vision for the park. In December of 2006, LD 2015, which would allow for the state to purchase the land, passed with the required 2/3rds majority in the Maine State Congress. With the addition of the Katahdin Lake purchase, Baxter State Park currently covers 209,644 acres. This makes it one of the largest contiguous blocks of preserved wilderness in New England.

(Austin, Phyllis. Wilderness Partners: Buzz Caverly and Baxter State Park. Maine: Tilbury House Publishers, 2008.) (“Baxter State Park: Scientific Forest Management Area.” Baxter State Park. October 5, 1998. (“Focus Areas of Statewide Ecological Significance: Baxter Region.” Beginning with Habitat. March 21, 2013. (“History.” Baxter State Park. Last modified October 12, 2017. (“Katahdin Lake.” Trust for Public Land. Last modified April 17, 2023.


1 linear foot (1 box)

1 folio folder (1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



Included are the personal correspondence and papers of former Governor Percival P. Baxter (born 1876 - died 1969) and former director of Baxter State Park Irvin “Buzz” Caverly, Jr. regarding Baxter State Park.


The collection came with a loose organization imposed by the creator, and donor, Irvin C. Caverly, Jr. This organization was maintained and expanded by the cataloger. Duplicates and extraneous material were removed. The collection was moved into archival folders with minimal preservation.

Processing Information

Photocopies of excerpts from the texts listed below were removed as they are available in the Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department at the University of Maine:

- "Routes to Ktaadn," Charles E. Hamlin, 1881.

- "The dedication of the memorial erected on Baxter Boulevard, Portland, Maine: in honor of James Phinney Baxter 1831-1921," 1925.

- "The Keep Path and Its Successors: The History of Katahdin from the East and North," Myron H. Avery, 1928.

- "James Phinney Baxter," Percival P. Baxter, 1924.

- "Legacy of a Lifetime: The Story of Baxter State Park," John W. Hakola, 1981.

Guide to the Irvin C. Caverly Papers
Box And Folder List Available
Lincoln Tiner
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for uncoded script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States