New campground offers wilderness adventure 5 miles from Houlton

7 years ago

LINNEUS, Maine — Want wilderness adventure with a slab of local history?

Granite Quarry Wilderness Campground might be just what you need.

The campground, located at Nickerson Lake, opened on Memorial Day and boasts eight campsites, towering pines and chunks of the granite that powered an entire industry during the last century.

“This whole mountain used to be a granite quarry,” said Denny Gallop, who owns and operates the campground. “In fact, one of the rocks I dug out, I could see the marks on it from the old tools they used.”

Jason Howe, a board member with the Aroostook Historical and Art Museum, has researched the Nickerson Lake quarry (along with the granite quarries at Drews and Cochrane lakes).  While he hasn’t been able to determine exactly what years the Nickerson Lake quarry was active, he has found that local granite powered plenty of projects.

His research showed that the Houlton Granite Co. cut rock for jobs around the town and County. Information from the historical society shows the granite company cut the granite, and then, when the lake had frozen for the winter, hauled it across the ice.

Denny Gallop might not be cutting any granite, but at his campground the landmark rocks are never far from sight.

Boulders the size of a small car are just about everywhere, but the fanciest salute to Nickerson Lake’s rocky history may be the towering campfire sites he created with gracefully-stacked granite.

“Those bigger pieces of rock were already there, of course,” explained Gallop, pointing to one of the bigger campfire sites. “I could see it in my mind, how I wanted the rest of it to look. It came out pretty good.”

Granite Quarry Wilderness Campground is just that — a wilderness campground which means it offers just the camping basics. Campers get their sites, lake access and wash houses. (Firewood also is included free of charge.)

What else does the campground offer? The chance to get away from it all within a short drive from Houlton.

“We’re only about five miles from town, but it sure doesn’t feel like it out here,” said Gallop.

Gallop has plenty of plans for the campground. He’s hoping to add more campsites next summer and says he’s always working to upgrade his existing sites. (He also has a houseboat available to rent.)

Camping rates start at $18 a night with special weekly or monthly rates available.

A grand opening is planned for the first weekend in August, during which two lucky winners will grab a certificate for a free camping weekend.

For more information about the new campground, call Gallop at 694-0278 or visit Granite Quarry Wilderness Campground on Facebook.