From the Moosehead Lake area, he used the lakes and watersheds to explore the northern reaches of the state. This meant paddling the length of Moosehead, portaging to the Penobscot, down to Chesuncook Lake. He paddled across that lake and portaged into Chamberlain Lake, heading north, passed Eagle Lake downstream to Churchill Lake. From there it was a series of upstream drags and portages which lead him to Echo Lake and the beginning of the Aroostook River. Upon arrival there, Will explored the interconnected lakes and streams that make up its upper reaches. He went down Munsungan Lake and noted its perfect fitness for a sporting camp. He also noted the many opportunities for hunting and trapping in the area, which did prove abundant. He followed the flow downstream to the small village of Oxbow where he decided to build the Atkins Hotel, his base camp.our paragraph here.
Will Atkins had discovered a vast resource with the potential for becoming a true Sportsman's Paradise. He built a set of cabins on Munsungan Lake and a set on Millinocket Lake. He linked the whole area with trails, small trapper cabins and outpost cabins for his sports. Eventually there were some 60 cabins in the area that he built and used for fishing, guiding and trapping.
Atkins' Camps were but a short trek from the major cities of the Northeast. Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston were the origins of many of his clientele. They traveled by railroad to Oakfield where they were met and transported by wagon the 30 miles to Oxbow and his Atkins' Hotel. After resting from their three days of travel they would be met by their guides the following morning. The sports piled into canoes along with their baggage, their guide poled and paddled halfway to the Lean-to Camps, while they fished all the way. The following day they would fish, paddle and pole to Atkins' Camps on Munsungun Lake, and there begin their anxiously awaited stay which was often over a month, sometimes the entire summer season.
The Bradford Camps for these past 125 years has had but five owners, a testimonial to the quality of the resource from which it has gained the reputation for providing quality outdoor recreational opportunities. It also is a testament to the perfect choice Will Atkins made in placing Bradford Camps beside Norway Brook on Munsungan Lake. The land is flat and dry, the nearby brook runs fresh and cold, fair breezes keep insects at bay, and world class sunsets paint the sky in the evening. It’s the type of perfection that can never be recreated, but we all win for its presence.
Come see for yourself!!
The HISTORY OF BRADFORD CAMPS
The Bradford Camps as they are presently known, were founded by William Atkins as far as history can determine about 1890. He came to Maine from Quebec and began his guiding career in the Rangeley Lakes region of western Maine where he was prompted by his "Sports" to find an area of his own to enter business for himself. It was with a small nest egg provided by his guests that he set out in search of a place for his Atkin’s Camps.