Jen Brophy was lucky enough to grow up right here at Red River and wouldn't trade the Deboullie township for the world. She's an engineer by trade and spent a decade in the big city, but she much prefers being a Jen-of-all-trades, doing whatever needs to be done around camp. Jen is a registered Maine guide, a certified wilderness first responder, and the president of the Maine Sporting Camp Association, but most of her days are spent helping out in the kitchen, cleaning cabins, solving plumbing issues, and working on any other camp tasks that crop up every day.
Red River chef Gloria Curtis previously owned and ran the Crooked Tree Lodge in Portage, where she hosted bear hunters and fishermen for fifteen years. She came to work for Red River in 2003 and has been providing great home cooking to our guests ever since. Gloria works as a Certified Nurse's Assistant during the winter, and when she has time, she loves fishing and riding her Harley.
In 1886, William Whitman, the wealthy owner of several textile mills in Massachusetts, and Harry Chapman, a businessman, decided to follow their love of the outdoors to a remote logging area in Aroostook County, known at the time as the Red River Lakes region. There, they built a two-story cabin on a small island on what would eventually become known as Island Pond. The cabin spared no expense, featuring as its centerpiece a fifteen-hundred dollar, two-story fireplace. The well built, stately fireplace still stands today as strong as it did a century ago.
After completing the island cabin, the Whitman and Chapman families built several buildings on the north shore of the pond, including a school, barbershop, wood shop, a lodge to gather in, horse barns, and sleeping cabins. For over thirty years, their extended families used the camp as a private retreat, typically staying for an entire season each year. If rumors can be trusted, they converted the island cabin to a dance hall, complete with piano, for a number of years.
In the early 1920's, around the time the first forest-fire lookout on Deboullie
Mountain was established, (a simple seat hoisted into a tall tree, and later an
enclosed cab atop a steel-framed tower), camp ownership transferred to the
McNally brothers, proprietors of several local sporting camps.
The McNallys named the camps Red River after the common name for the
region and ran them until 1932. The camps then experienced a succession of
Dr. AC Christie, a dentist from Washington, DC (1932-1948);
Herschel Currie, a Portage resident and railroad section hand (1948-1962);
Wilfred "Sleepy" Atkins, a 25-year veteran of the Warden Service and son of Will Atkins, legendary Aroostook County guide (1962-1967);
Gene Bovard (1967-1972); and
Pete and Christina Norris (1972-1979).
Toward the end of the Norrises' tenure, the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands purchased the township surrounding Red River to create the Deboullie Unit of Maine Public Reserve Land, conserving it for future generations. Deboullie is an Americanization of the French term d'eboulis, meaning "of the talus slope." It's the perfect name for a township characterized by rock slides and crumbled mountain slopes.
When the Norrises decided to sell Red River in 1979, the Brophy family agreed to run the camps for a season until the Norrises could locate a buyer. The rest, as they say, is history.
EXPERIENCE: Combined, we have nearly sixty years experience in the sporting camp industry and fifty in the Deboullie Township (as long as you count those formative childhood years in the equation).
ENERGY: No matter how busy we are, our infectuous enthusiasm for the woods and for camp life helps make your stay enjoyable and memorable.
INNOVATION: Whether testing out new recipes during the winter months, testing out new flies on one of the ponds, or figuring out the best way to pressurize the cabin showers, we do whatever is necessary to stay on the leading edge of providing a wonderful, delicious, and comfortable North Maine Woods experience.
DEDICATION: Jen wouldn't trade the Deboullie Township for the rest of the world on a silver platter. We're dedicated to making sure you love it, too.