For protecting the wilderness character of Baxter State Park
On a wall at the Natural Resources Council of Maine, we have displayed a quotation by Edward Abbey: “The idea of wilderness needs no defense. It only needs more defenders.” Wilderness found a defender in Buzz Caverly.
Buzz was the guardian of Baxter State Park for as long as many of us can remember. Before he retired this summer, Buzz had been the state’s foremost advocate for and defender of Governor Percival Baxter’s vision for the park—a vision for an enduring wilderness of great beauty, tantalizing remoteness, and extraordinary ecological diversity. In defense of that vision, Buzz stood as tall and was as rock-solid as Mt. Katahdin itself.
Wilderness first, access second. These values guided Buzz as he mapped out the strategic direction for the park and managed its daily operations. He maintained more than eighty percent of the park as wilderness. He closed unneeded roads and structures. He limited the use of snowmobiles in most parts of the park and denied access to ATVs. He did not bow to political pressure to change the balance of wilderness and access.
But as much as he respects the park, Buzz also respects the nearly 100,000 individuals who visit it each year. He guided visitors, opening their eyes to park’s lakes, streams, forests, and, of course, Mt. Katahdin. He also rescued many hikers who misjudged the mountain or underestimated the challenge of exploring true wilderness. Year after year, he welcomed the people of Maine to this natural treasure, protected and left to them by Governor Baxter.
For forty-six years, Buzz wrapped his head and heart around Baxter State Park. If it were physically possible, he would have wrapped his arms around it, too. By any measure of commitment, Buzz’s dedication to this beautiful, iconic wilderness has earned him the deep respect of his colleagues and the heartfelt gratitude of the people of Maine.