John Harrigan on the Glory Days of Sporting Camps

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Courtesy photo

John Harrigan relaxing at camp.

By WAYNE D. KING, NH Secrets, Legends and Lore

“As a teenager” John Harrigan says, “my parents ‘gave me’ to their best friends in an agreement over the dinner table between the two families. “I lived there through my teenage years.” He worked at Rudy Shatney’s sporting camp on Clarksville Pond.

In the period following the Civil War the railroads began carrying Boston’s wealthy elite to the Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont woods, and the sporting camp tradition was born. Sporting camps were, and – of the ones still in existence – still are, a haven for fishermen and hunters: a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, to make new friends and trade tall tales of sporting exploits, to eat and eat and eat, and to rest weary bones in comfort in some of the northeast’s most remote places. Nowadays, the newer versions of sporting camps also offer peace and adventure to hikers, nature enthusiasts, families, paddlers, artists, and others.

Wayne D. King
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