Baxter State Park Director Retiring After 31 Years in Millinocket

MILLINOCKET, Maine (WABI) The current Baxter State Park director is saying goodbye to the job after a career spanning more than three decades.

Business manager at Baxter State Park Christine Theriault says she has mixed feelings about saying goodbye to the park's director, Jensen Bissell.

"I'm sad for the park and myself because I've worked with Jensen pretty much my whole time here. He's been a great boss for me and I'm going to miss him greatly. Pleased for him. Retiring is a big deal for people and I'm glad that he's able to do it and his health his good and all that and he can have a good time after retirement," says Theriault.

"To me it's such a such a rare opportunity to have something like this to preserve and protect," Bissell.

It's almost 31 years to the day Bissell was hired to work for the park. He's been the director for the last 12 years.

"It's been a privilege to work for the park. I feel like the position is a privilege to serve the people of Maine this way. So, I feel good about my time here, I love this staff, it's just a great staff and the landscape is the best place in Maine to work," says Bissell.

He says he's excited to be getting married next year and to be able to travel and spend time with his family. He knows he'll never have to really say goodbye to the land he loves because of the way the land was preserved by former Governor Baxter.

"The governor put together a very durable system to make sure the park is managed well into the future," says Bissell.

A new director hasn't been named yet, but Bissell, who says he's loved the variety the job brings, has some advice.

"What you're really protecting is how you feel when you're on the table end of Katahdin. Don't let that feeling go away for anybody else that hikes the park and uses it that way. That wilderness feeling has to be preserved," says Bissell.