The original 1983 family hunting lodge and the current day luxury hunting retreat.
Our good friend and hunting enthusiast, Brian Wilson, sat down with Camp Katahdin’s Nate Humprey for a quick chat about how the Camp Katahdin family created the current day Camp Katahdin Adventures. Here is Hunting Lodge, Corporate Retreat, Sport Shooting: The Camp Katahdin Story:
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Brian Wilson: Our focus now is on Camp Katahdin. A new luxury lodge in Patten, Maine just east of the great mountain and we’re going to spend a few minutes with Nathan Humphrey spokesman for Camp Katahdin to learn about the history and the features of Camp Katahdin and all that it offers and we’ll spend a few minutes discussing the upcoming ATV season. So let’s get right to it starting with Camp Katahdin. Where did it come from? What’s its history?
Nate Humphrey: It’s a business called Camp Katahdin Adventures. It includes a property that is owned by my family and I that we’ve been going to since 1983. It’s a great place that is really special to all of us. My partner is really like an older brother to me (we’re not technically related but grew up with him and I’ve known him since birth) and we’re very close. I’m close with this entire family and they’ve really been kind enough to kind of take me in over the years. He was up there hunting and they used to stay at a little motel right off the interstate.
It’s great deer hunting and this was of course in the early 80’s. Michael and his brother, Billy and his brother, Danny and a couple of friends of ours, Dewey and a guy that we named Happy were out hunting one day in 1983 and they crested this hill and had a beautiful view of Mt. Katahdin and oh my lord, this place is very very beautiful. We got to find some land around here and so they drove down the hill and spotted a driveway and went down the driveway and along the hall was a small little log cabin with a box spring up against a door serving as a door.
So they quickly checked it out and said wow! It looks abandoned. I wonder if it’s for sale. So they went back out and found the local dairy farmer at the Guptil Farm, Mr. Robert Guptil and said who owned the property? It looks abandoned. He said the bank. So they went out and visited the bank and a week later put a deposit on the property and that was our first piece of property up there at Patten, Maine located at the end of the Happy Corner Road. I think it was 7 acres and a small log cabin (pictured above) was the first parcel if I recall correctly that we bought in 1983. So we went up there and I was very at the time. I was only 15, 16 years old and I went up with who we call Happy and Billy and Dewy and we started cleaning the place up. We put a real door on it and some windows and build a little house.
And soon we started having trips up there and just soon became very special. And then this little tiny one room log cabin with lofts. There’d be as many as 12 or 14 of us. Kind of went on from there as Michael who was the owner and partner and brother. He was very successful at a very young age and started buying more property around the area and we started disbanding the property. Several years later, we put on a few Amish cabins on the property when we bought some more lands abutting the original log cabin. Then we ended up buying another little cabin that was at the end of the road located just a few hundred yards away when we turn off from the Happy Corner Road to the driveway of the original log cabin as I call it.
We bought that piece of property. We bought another 70 acres behind that, added more Amish cabin then we built another beautiful little cabin that was built actually by Happy whose real name is Gary Nichols but we call him Happy. He is a great friend of ours to this date and still goes up there with us on occasion. He’ll usually make it about once or twice a year during deer season. So he built a beautiful place for a mentor of ours, a financial mentor, a personal mentor and just a really great gentleman. He’s a father of Cole Haan shoes. His name is George Denney.
So Happy built a very nice cabin for him. We continued to expand, but then we started having events. It was business related events really networking through a lot of other companies that we affiliate with, do business with, customer affiliates. And then of course we all commingled. We have lots of friends and relatives and we started doing some pheasant hunting. These events started from 10, 15 people and really started to grow. Michael has an older half-brother who is very set in his ways and love to bird hunt and loved to pheasant hunt. So he kind of get after us if we weren’t doing things right. So one year, we actually had orange hats made up that said the Arthur Liberty School of Pheasant Hunting and it was quite funny.
So that name stuck for a couple years and then we stopped. We didn’t do the events for a while. It just got very busy for all of us personally and professionally. That was probably in the later 90’s then we started doing the events again and then they just kept getting bigger and bigger. We acquired some more lands across the street from one of our partners another 155 acres, beautiful field. So in 2012 going to 2013 we bought another 40 acre off the back of our properties. So now it’s like 400 acres in this one spot and from there we– Another piece of property became available to us. It abuts our property. It is on the other side of the 40 acre. It was a big camp and I knew the gentleman that owned it. He is from North Carolina.
He was a bear hunter and I hunted with him a couple of times. That became available and so I took Michael down to look at and he’s like oh yeah we should get this. We can maybe use it as outpost or something. So we did it and from there we had a vision and we ended up completely remodeling that camp and it was a big building but the building was in rough shape. It wasn’t even square. Our contractor, Travis Libby. He’s in construction. In 62 days, he made it into what you can see today on our website as just a beautiful hunting lodge.
Brian Wilson : So right now today how many acres is under the Camp Katahdin umbrella?
Nate Humphrey: It’s about 400 acres on that one parcel at the end of the Happy Corner Road and also the main entrance to Camp Katahdin and Denney Lodge is off the French Hill Road so the whole parcel is roughly 400 acres.
Brian Wilson : But that’s not all the land that’s available for your guest to hunt on, correct?
Nate Humphrey: Absolutely.
Brian Wilson : You have access.
Nate Humphrey: There’s another land public lands up there and even private lands that people allow access to. Absolutely.
Brian Wilson: When did that the pheasant business start? The full service pheasant hunts that the people can come regardless of season, the license required, it’s all under the same corporate roof and harmony with Maine laws. How did that come about?
Nate Humphrey: It all started with if you recall the story I was telling you about the hunts that we have. We just have events come up with friends and family and businesses and all that, people we’re doing business with and that started in the 90’s believe it or not. Michael was up deer hunting once and he shot a doe and this was probably 1983, 1984. It’s right when we bought the cabin. And he started telling me deer out of the woods and his compass got ripped off in his jacket and he got a little turned around. So eventually he ended up coming out with a deer. He spotted a wood splitter in a big pile of wood and a husband and wife splitting wood. And so he came out and he said excuse me but where am I? This old fella kind of gives a look up and down and said you’re in Maine.
And he goes could you perhaps be a little bit more specific. I shot a deer and I got a little turned around. He goes you mean you got lost? And he goes okay yeah, where am I? You’re on the Happy Corner Road. And like oh okay. Was it okay if I go get my vehicle and come get the deer? Of course. And that gentleman’s name was Glenn Kennedy and a friendship started there that lasted through the next generation. Their family, Glenn and his wife, Cokie passed away. Cokie died last year. So they had a big beautiful farm and a dairy farm and a horse barn and a couple of draft horse.
And we bought the farm but that was where in the 90’s we would raise the pheasant. So we would buy a few pheasant from out of state, import them and then raise them and also hatched chicks. And that happened for a long time in the late 80’s and early 90’s and then it was just stopped for a little while as we got busy. But then probably 6, 7 years ago we rebuilt the pens, redesigned the pens and started– bought a few pheasant again that we’ve been hatching them and raising them on our own. We actually haven’t done a professional guided hunt and when I say professional I mean for compensation or for hire.
We literally just made the decision this year over the winter to start offering this to the public. The events we get so much feedback by the events that we put on. We really have people flying in from all over the world what a magnificent time they have and we really enjoy having them there and showing them a good time and sharing a place that is very special and very near and dear to our heart. We have two events a year. A spring father son fishing event. We have a fall event which we call the corporate retreat. Other than that we probably– because we’re busy with our other company and family and spend a little– and only get up there about a half a dozen time.
Brian Wilson : On the pheasant hunting my understanding is that while there is a bird season for pheasant and grouse and partridge, you’re offering this anytime of the year, 7 days a week. You got a commercially zoned corporate entity that doesn’t require individuals to stick to the season?
Nate Humphrey: That is correct and there really is no– That is absolutely correct and we have those license for quite some time to grow and raise the pheasant, to possess the pheasant, to release them and then to be able to hunt them on our property. It called a commercial shooting zone and we needed to have that so that people from away didn’t have to get a hunting license so that we can also hunt on a Sunday and not a season and things like that. So we decided why don’t we offer this what we’ve been doing for our company and our family, why don’t we offer this to the public? And we’ll accomplish two goals actually three goals. We will share this wonderful property with others. We will create jobs and economically stimulate a very financially challenged area and then lastly we will build a very simple self-sustaining business that can last a generation. So that’s what we’re doing and why.
Brian Wilson : And you have activities, adventures that everyone can participate in. you have ATVs. There’s the snow mobile routes. You can go hiking, climb Mt. Katahdin. No one’s going to be bored spending time at Camp Katahdin.
Nate Humphrey: Oh my gosh, no.
Brian Wilson : All the information you need and some great pictures of Camp Katahdin and the world class facilities and shots of the great mountain itself at CampKatahdin.com and on Facebook and on the website, there are some pictures of what appears a magnificent sport shooting range. You are able to have a rifle, shut gun, hand gun. There’s a special archery course for the bow hunters. What am I leaving out?
Nate Humphrey: Nothing. We have a beautiful shooting pavilion and from the shooting pavilion we can set up hand gun courses and we have a rifle range where you can be under the cover of the pavilion up to about 300 yards. We also have other ranges that go from 360 yards, up to 900 yards. So the shooting sports– and we do a sporting place as well. So the shooting sports you can explore, enjoy and learn from it at Camp Katahdin Adventures. It’s really endless. We do have access to some very high level people that can train with you, work with you and help you if you want to learn a new shooting sport such as long range shooting for handgun or something like that or if you’re already proficient but you want to work and develop your skill those are all things we can help you with.
We really have a pretty good list of personnel that we can draw up on that have great expertise in the business.
We have three things that are really special about our property.
1. Shooting: It’s world class, exceptional shooting ranges that’s very different. You don’t see that in Northern Maine. It’s something you see out west or down south. We have excellent shooting ranges.
3. Pheasant Hunting: We have our pheasant and a commercial shooting zone. Those are the unique activities that we offer at Camp Katahdin Adventures.
Contact Nate Humphrey to check rates and availability here or call direct: 1-800-6218203
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