Visitors to the new Medawisla Lodge & Cabins, rebuilt from the ground up and set to open in winter 2017, will find a new lodge, an expanded trail network, and views of lofty Katahdin—Maine’s highest peak and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail—from the camp’s perch on Second Roach Pond, near Kokadjo, Maine.
In addition to swimming and paddling on the crystal-clear pond, guests will be able to try out new multiuse trails for snowshoeing, hiking, and mountain biking. With a trail system that includes single-track and woods-road bike routes, Medawisla is poised to become a destination for fat-tire biking enthusiasts, says Dan Rinard, AMC’s Maine Woods Initiative operations manager.
And when guests need a rest, they’ll have the chance to spy moose, loons, and bald eagles from the private cabins’ porches. Five waterfront cabins and five deluxe, hilltop cabins (the latter with bathrooms) are under construction, as are two 16-bed bunkhouses and a pavilion for gatherings. This reincarnation of the popular Maine sporting camp—located in the northern reaches of AMC’s 100 square miles of conservation and recreation land, in Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness—replaces aging structures and offers new opportunities for backcountry recreation. AMC purchased Medawisla in 2006 and operated it for six years before temporarily closing the facility in 2012 to begin renovations.
The new Medawisla was designed and built to sit lightly on the land, incorporating such environmentally sustainable features as a robust solar-energy system, composting toilets, and extensive insulation. Lodge and cabin heat will be provided by locally grown, Forest Stewardship Council–certified firewood, sustainably harvested on AMC’s land.
While AMC has long demonstrated its commitment to the land and environment, these new facilities show the same attention to the visitor experience. Like AMC’s nearby Gorman Chairback Lodge & Cabins and Little Lyford Lodge & Cabins, Medawisla will be equipped with a wood-fired sauna for wintertime use. Home-cooked dinners and breakfasts will be provided, as will trail lunches. Waterfront cabins include kitchenettes, offering guests a self-service option.
Vehicular access to the lodge and cabins is available year-round, ensuring accessibility for visitors of all ages and abilities. Winter enthusiasts can enjoy Medawisla as a cross-country skiing destination in its own right, or as the beginning or ending point for a 32.8-mile, lodge-to-lodge ski trek connecting AMC’s three Maine Wilderness Lodges and the fourth-generation, family-owned West Branch Pond Camps. AMC has employed more than 50 locals on the project, a number expected to grow as work proceeds in the final months.
“We’re excited to see all the various pieces of Medawisla come together, and we’re very grateful to the many AMC members, donors, and volunteers who have supported this important project and our entire Maine Woods Initiative,” says Walter Graff, AMC’s senior vice president. “We welcome folks to come out and enjoy the magic of Medawisla, where they can hike, bike, ski, paddle, and simply relax in the beautiful Maine outdoors.”