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Betty and Gary Cobb
Cobb's Pierce Pond Camps
North New Portland, Maine

A Lifetime in the Maine Woods

Betty and Gary Cobb

Gary Cobb has always had a lifelong passion for the Maine woods. Hunting, fishing, guiding, and logging were his youthful pursuits learned from his father, Floyd, a lumberman and commercial bush pilot during the 1950s. Flying with his father gave Gary access to the "true woods" of Maine - wild, remote, undeveloped, and largely inaccessible except by float plane.

In 1958, Gary's parents purchased a cluster of old log cabins used for hunting and fishing on remote and pristine Pierce Pond, located in western central Maine. Such accommodations, known as sporting camps, are unique to Maine. At Cobb's Camps electricity is supplied by a generator, guests stay in cabins heated by wood stoves, and numerous outbuildings on the property facilitate the entire operation of the camp. The family still cuts a year's supply of ice each winter to store in the ice house.

When Gary came to the sporting camp for the first time at the age of 15, it had an immediate effect on him. He knew then and there that this would be his life. Gary had met his future wife, Betty Verrill, at college and the two of them taught elementary school for several years in Millinocket, Maine before moving to Pierce Pond. Gary founded and ran the Wilderness Bound Camp, located at Cobb's Pierce Pond Camps from 1967 to 1983, an outdoor experience for boys. In 1983, Gary and Betty took over the operation of the family sporting camp and raised their family there.

In the 1970s, the wild character of the area began to change dramatically. Accelerated logging activity created a network of new roads that provided easier access to the woods. Land developers and speculators came too, threatening to change the character of the woods forever. Realizing that Pierce Pond was not immune from this threat of development, Gary brought together a group of like-minded friends in 1988 to discuss a course of action to protect Pierce Pond. The result of that effort was the creation of the Maine Wilderness Watershed Trust, which, through land acquisitions and conservation easements, insured that the 11,000 acre watershed would be protected from development forever. The Trust soon became an active and strong organization with over 500 members.

To Gary and Betty Cobb, their sporting camp is much more than a business. It is a reminder of the way mankind lived in a much simpler time. It is important to the Cobb family that the grand tradition of the rustic, secluded sporting camp continues so that future generations can experience and enjoy a way of life that previous generations enjoyed. Gary's book, "The History of Pierce Pond," emphasizes that point through its text and archival photographs. "But it's not just the camps that are important. It's the woods too. The woods are a special place - they sustain life, purify the water and air, provide recreation, and are a renewable source of timber. Properly managed, the woods will serve generations to come."

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