Welcome to Debsconeag Lake Wilderness Camps
Chewonki’s Debsconeag Lake Wilderness Camps (DLWC) are Located on Fourth Debsconeag Lake in the middle of Maine’s pristine North Woods. DLWC is owned and operated by the Chewonki Foundation of Wiscasset, Maine. Chewonki has offered camp programs and wilderness trips for youth, adults and families for over 100 years.
We are delighted that you want to learn more about staying with us. Please feel free to reach out with any questions!
The Namakanta Reserve
DLWC is located in the heart of the North Maine Woods, approximately, 1 ¾ hours from Millinocket, 2 ¾ hours from Bangor, 6 ½ hours from Boston and 10 hours from New York City. As the only camp on 4th Debsconeag Lake and nestled within the Maine Department of Conservation’s Nahmakanta Reserve, DLWC is surrounded by more than 90,000 acres of conservation lands (owned by the State of Maine and the Maine Nature Conservancy). We are very conscious of our impact on this site and do our best to tread lightly on the land by using green practices wherever possible.
The original camps were part of a lumber operation in the mid to late 1800’s. By 1904 the site had become a sporting camp called Pleasant Point Camps. Indian Cabin was a trapper cabin built in the mid to late 1800’s. Legend has it that a native woman spent the winters decorating it with birch bark mosaics. The most recent owners, Cliff and Mardi George, purchased Pleasant Point Camps in 2001 and embarked on a major renovation. They sold the camp to the Chewonki Foundation in 2008. Chewonki built yurts and composting toilets and also expanded the main lodge.
Getting to Camp
For information about driving to Fourth Debsconeag Lake, please visit our directions page: https://debsconeag.chewonki.org/map/
Our parking lot is about a half-mile from camp. When you arrive, we will meet you in our motorized freight canoe to help bring your gear over. We can give you a boat ride as well, or if you would rather stretch your legs, you can walk the .5 miles along the shore trail into camp.
Things to Do
- HIKES – whether it is a hike to the bluffs or to 5th Debsconeag Lake, or a paddle and hike to 3rd Debsconeag Lake, or longer day trip on the Debsconeag Backcountry Loop Trail, there are a wide variety of short and long hikes to take during your stay.
- CANOEING & KAYAKING – As part of a chain of eight lakes and ponds, the paddling options around 4th Debsconeag Lake are plentiful. Guests have a range of from a quick sunrise paddle around the lake to an all-day canoe on 3rd Debsconeag Lake. To reduce the need to portage boats, we have 2 canoes stored on the shore of 3rd Debsconeag and two canoes on the shore of 5th Debsconeag for our guests.
- BIRDING – Loons, Mergansers, Barred Owls, Pileated Woodpeckers, an occasional Bald Eagle inhabit our area. Spring and Fall are also a good time to catch migrating birds.
- WILDFLOWERS AND BOTANY – the boreal forest has an abundance of interesting flora.
- FISHING – There is good lake fishing, especially in the spring (Maine residents and nonresidents 16 years of age or older, must have a valid Maine fishing license to fish in 4th Debsconeag Lake.) You may purchase a short term license online, at camp .http://www.mefishwildlife.com/
The Lodge sits in the middle of our property and serves as a space to come relax. The site host can often be found here. The lodge has quite a bit to offer:
- MORNING COFFEE – Join us in the Lodge each morning for a cup of coffee, cocoa, or tea beginning at 7:00 am.
- SHOWERS: You will find nice hot showers adjacent to the Lodge. Each shower has a pull chain to operate and to help reduce water waste. We ask that you use biodegradable soap and shampoo, if possible, This helps reduce the impact on our septic system.PROPANE GRILLS – We have 2 propane grills for guest to use, located on the deck between the Lodge and showers
- LIBRARY – Located in the Lodge, we have a small library containing a nice assortment of field guides and books about northern Maine and rural living.
- BOARD GAMES AND PLAYING CARDS – These are also located in the Lodge and may be used in the Lodge or taken back to your cabin or yurt.
- BINOCULARS are available to borrow
- INTERNET – We have wireless internet for guests to use during their stay. We have limited bandwidth, so we ask that guests not stream or download content.
- MAPS – We have a large assortment of local hiking and canoeing maps for you to use throughout your stay. Your host can help you plan excursions and discuss daily trails, and lake conditions.
Health and Safety
For your safety, we maintain a Sign out/ Sign in Hiking and Paddling Sheet This helps us know where you are headed and when to expect you back if you should have a problem while away from camp.
We DO NOT provide Lifeguards. Swimming is at your own risk. The designated swim area is next to Indian Camp, although you may swim anywhere on the lake. Please do not swim alone. Buddies are always better. Please feel free to borrow and swim in a DLWC lifejacket for an added degree of safety. We also ask that you be accompanied by a boat for any long distance swims. Please do not swim when you can hear thunder, during high winds, or at night.
Please enjoy our canoes, sunfish, and kayaks. We expect you to wear a fastened life jacket whenever you are in a DLWC boat. We expect that you understand the associated risk of boating, and that you will let us know if you have any questions or would like a bit of instruction. Please do not boat after dark or when you can hear thunder! Remember that in the early spring and late fall the water can be very cold. Please boat safely!
We have a combination of Outhouses and new Composting Toilets. All guests are free
to use the two new Composting Toilets located in the central part of camp. Point Camp, Chickadee Camp, Moose Camp, and Bear Camp, each has an Outhouse associated with each cabin. Indian Camp and High Camp are located close to one of the new composting toilets.
All of the DLWC cabins contain a small four burner propane stove with an oven and small
broiler, a small propane refrigerator with a small freezer, a wood stove for supplemental heat, propane lights, and all of the necessary pots, pans, cooking utensils, dishes, and eating utensils. In addition, each cabin is supplied with dish soap, a sponge, hand soap, a dish towel, and a roll of paper towels. There is running water in each cabin. All our water is potable and provided to each cabin through a state-approved treatment system. Beds are made with a fitted sheet and a light quilt on your bed, as well as pillows with cases. We ask that all guests bring a sleeping bag or extra sheets if you would like them. Please reach out if you would like to know the size of the beds that are in your lodging, or if you have questions about what type of sleeping bag to bring. Please bring your own towels.
Our Yurts are a wonderful housing alternative to the Cabins. Each Yurt is equipped a two
burner propane stove, a wood stove for heat and pots and pans, cooking utensils and all of the necessary dishes and eating utensils for a group of up to 8 guests. Potable water is provided in a 5 gallon container. Your dish clean-up will be done in the nearby Lodge. The Yurts have a ceiling vent, two doors and four windows. We also recommend that yurt guests bring a battery powered lantern or two as the yurts do not have supplementary lighting. Unless other arrangements have been made bedding and pillows are not provided in yurts.
GREEN LIVING AT DLWC
Our camps are off the grid although we do have internet and emergency telephone connections. We use propane gas to run the refrigerators, stoves, and lights in the cabins. The Main Lodge uses electricity from a set of solar panels with a backup propane generator which runs a bit every day.
- RECYCLING – as part of our commitment to being a green site, we recycle. You will find a recycle station in the Lodge.
- COMPOST – we encourage composting of all materials except meat, which goes in the trash. Napkins and paper towels are also compostable. You will find a small compost container in your cabin which you can empty into a large bucket in the Lodge.
- GARBAGE – “Real Trash” is anything that cannot be composted or recycled. You will find a covered trash container on the lake side of the lodge. We suggest that you keep your trash covered to keep unwanted critters out of your garbage.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR LIVING WITH WILDLIFE
A tug of war between the native creatures (mice and the occasional red squirrel) and the humans is inevitable. Please help us win this skirmish by keeping your food in the fridge, the bread box or other closed container. Anything left out will be an invitation to dine.
One of the beauties of this camp is its quiet and peaceful environs. We ask that you respect that atmosphere by keeping voices down. We ask that we have quiet hours between 9:00 PM and 6:30 AM
We ask that guests leave their dogs at home. If you have a service animal, please reach out, and we will be happy to accomodate you.
- Please let your host know your expected departure time. You can put your luggage on the freight canoe dock or on the swim dock.
- Strip your beds, and leave linens on the mattress
- Quick sweep of cabin is helpful
- Empty your fridge and wipe it out
- We are a no tipping facility, but if you would like to make a library donation, it is welcomed.
Here at DLWC, we try to create a community of teachers and learners willing to adhere to a set of collective expectations. By staying here you are agreeing to follow these expectations without exception.
- Drugs and alcohol. The policy is simple. No visitor may use illegal drugs or use alcohol in an illegal or irresponsible manner. The drinking age in Maine is 21. Those underage may not possess or consume alcohol at any time while at DLWC.
- Firearms. Are only permitted at Debsconeag Lake Wilderness Camps with express permission of the site manager or his or her designee. All firearms must be kept under lock at all time while on site.
- Tobacco use. WE ARE A SMOKE-FREE SITE. With our emphasis on wellness at Chewonki, you should know that all camps at DLWC are Smoke-Free Zones. If you absolutely must smoke, please do so well away from any buildings or the main lodge. Please be sure that second-hand smoke does not impact any visitor or staff. All cigarette butts must be completely extinguished, field stripped, doused in water and deposited in the trash.
A few suggestions as you pack:
- SHOPPING: It is important to note that you should come to DLWC fully supplied and equipped. Millinocket is a 1 ½ hour drive, Greenville is nearly a 2 hour drive and Kokadjo, with a tiny general store is about 1 ½ hours from camp. In route both Milo Millinocket have good supermarkets for perishables and last minute items.
- ORGANIZATION: To help us load your equipment into our freighter canoe, please have your gear as consolidated as possible. Packing your food and supplies in Tupperware containers, a cooler or two will also provide you with additional critter proof storage space in your cabin or yurt. If it is raining, gear will get wet in the boat, so water-proof any items that will not withstand 10 minutes in the rain.
- ILLUMINATION: Headlamps are very useful and well worth the investment. (Extra batteries if you are staying for more than a couple of days )