Situs of Mount Kahtadin
Penobscot Indian name meaning “The Greatest Mountain”
the highest point in Maine (5,270 feet)
and Northern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail
Baxter is not a national park, as clarified by Lone Stranger’s great comment (see below) It is a wonderful, precious asset, shared by the people of Maine. It is also tightly managed, swarming with Park staff, requiring permits and reservations. It appeared to be the most controlled area on the entire trail.
During an August visit, I was approached by a pair of park staff soon after arriving. Another member of the park staff approached me an hour later as I entered a campground. It was an interrogation: who, what, where . . . (WOW!)
Although I pride myself in being a suspicious-looking character
Admittedly, August is during Baxter Park’s peak season of heavy use
When I returned to Maine to climb Kahtadin, off-season in June, it was a ghost-town.
I hiked through the Smokey Mountains the following spring – didn’t see any staff, not even atop Clingman’s Dome.
Admittedly, Baxter State Park is in pristine condition, unlike some other areas of the A.T. which more resemble a garbage dump than a National Trail. Also, the serious terrain of Maine’s trails may demand special monitoring for the safety of some casual out-of-state hikers.
There is a serious quote attributed to the Baxter State Park web site,
where it details search-and-rescue statistics:
Going up is voluntary, coming down is mandatory….