Weekly digital jigsaw – New owner eyes four reason recreation at Umcolcus Sporting Camps – Star-Herald
T8R6, Maine — Jeff Fay is looking forward to his first summer running the Umcolcus Sporting Camps after purchasing the business from the Currier family in March.
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Fay, who has run Spaulding Lake Outfitters in Oakfield since 2011, said he saw the historic sporting camps near Oxbow as a good fit for his hunting and guiding business and an opportunity to attract more year-round vacationers and recreators.
“I learned Umcolcus was for sale about four years ago. As my business grew, it was always in the back of my mind,” Fay said, adding that he was attracted to “the location and history behind it.”
“I hope it’s good for Aroostook County and the Oxbow area.”
The Umcolcus Sporting Camps date back to 1917, first established by Maine Guide Walter Swett and named for the Umcolcus Stream, a tributary the Aroostook River that means “whistling duck” in Abenaki.
Swett soon built a lodge for the industrialist financier Charles Schwab, and for a time, it was the only sporting camp to feature hot and cold water and an indoor bathroom. Although Schwab ended up never even visiting, the Umcolcus Camps made a name for itself attracting high-profile clients in the 1920s such as Jack Dempsey, the world champion boxer.
In 1926, the camps were sold to Almon Currier, who had worked there since the beginning. Almon’s son Norman and later his grandson Al ran the camps until recently, when Al and his wife Audrey sold the business to Fay.
“Al and Audrey are great people,” Fay said, adding that the Curriers added new cabins and a new dining lodge in the late 1990s.
Fay, who’s originally from Limington and moved north to work as a Maine Guide, said he’s going to continue running Spaulding Lake Outfitters for guided big game hunts, fishing and other trips, while also marketing Umcolcus Sporting Camps for vacations, weddings and other events.
The camps are centrally located near North Maine Woods lands Fay leases for bear hunts, and well-suited for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, snowmobiling, skiing and other pursuits, Fay said. “The fishing is great. There’s a lot of brook trout,” plus landlocked salmon.
Fay said that each cabin has a full kitchen for guests who like to cook, and that the camps also will be offering full meal options.
“I’m looking to keep it open four seasons. In the winter, you can drive in from Oxbow,” Fay said.