A Short Biography
Born in Florida but raised in Lima, Ohio, and in Farmington, Maine, perhaps it is of no significance, but I like to think it matters a little that I have two and a half centuries of ancestral roots in Franklin County, Maine, in the Sweet and Porter and Knowlton families. I also share ancestry with Aaron Woodbury, who, in the 1820s, was the first settler in what is now Lincoln, Maine, in Penobscot County. It is appropriate, I suppose, that I lived in Franklin County at the time of my graduation from Farmington High School, and that I now live in Lincoln.
It is also perhaps of no significance, but it is humbling to me that I am a cousin of Fly Rod Crosby. Cornelia Crosby, 1854-1946, was the “woman who marketed Maine.” She was a guide herself and lobbied the Maine legislature to begin licensing guides in the state. When that came to pass, Cornelia was granted Registered Maine Guide license number 1 in 1897. She was the first and last person recorded to have brought down a caribou in Maine. Her mother was a Porter, and I am her mother’s first cousin four times removed.
Also descended directly from True Woodbury, Jr., of Litchfield, Maine, (location of Woodbury Pond), my great-grandfather was George H. Woodbury, (great-grandson of True, Jr.). George ran the fish hatchery at Belgrade Lake in the early decades of the 1900s. My mother’s ancestors came from the Gardner family of Black Lick, Pennsylvania, a Miller from Roanoke, Virginia, and generations of Dershem, Sunderland, Wagoner, Imler, and Betts families in western Ohio.
After spending much of my youth in Lima, Ohio, with regular trips to a family camp on Porter Lake (a.k.a. Sweet’s Pond) in New Vineyard, Maine, my parents moved the family back to Maine and settled us in the Farmington area. At 18, I nearly severed my right index finger at the palm. That ruined a planned career as a classical pianist. Even so, I was accepted in a classical music conservatory where Russian was an elective, but the finger would not behave, so after a year of that I joined the Army, aced the language test, took the Defense Department’s intensive, one-year Russian course in Monterey, California, (1971-72), and served in Germany as a Russian language cryptanalyst, (1972-73), in the Army Security Agency at the height of the Vietnam disagreement.
After returning to college with the intention to study languages, I changed major once again and completed a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management, University of Maine 1977, with a minor in Russian. In Russian class there I met Beth, and we were married in 1975. In 1996 I made my own solo trip to Russia and Ukraine, which has had its own intense effect on my life.
Hired at Great Northern Paper Company in Millinocket, Maine, as a laborer in the spring of 1977, I began a papermaking apprenticeship before joining management as a production coordinator. Within a few years, the human resources field became my career specialty. In 1999, after 23 years at GNP, I began a ten-year stint as Director of HR at Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln, and have since retired from that stressful line of work. I now make enough to pay for my fishing and hunting equipment by doing some freelance professional guiding. (To paraphrase a friend who is an anesthetist, I’m not paid to take them out into the wilderness, I’m paid to bring them back.)
I am immersed in hobbies from model railroading to beer making and from woodworking to collecting historical documents. I like to read the classics such as O. Henry and Dickens, non-fiction by authors such as Simon Singh and John McPhee, and the works of the early Christian theologians, who add dimension to a life of faith. With all of these interests to support it, I find that writing comes easily.
Beth and I, along with our children of various sources, have hiked, camped, boated, fished, hunted, and generally explored the north woods of Maine until it became obvious that guiding was a logical way to help others enjoy the region in much the same way.
I collect Maine fossils, insects, and wildlife skeletons, I have practiced tracking numerous species, have successfully transplanted wildflowers and trees, and have photographed and/or observed in the wild (in Maine) pileated woodpeckers, other scarce woodpeckers, bald eagles, eastern panthers, bobcats, river otters, bear cub triplets, fishers, mink, weasels, and spruce grouse, as well as the usual raccoons, moose, coyotes, beaver, deer, adult bears, foxes, roughed grouse (partridge), turkeys, all manner of ducks and other waterfowl, everything that inhabits inland waters, and much more.
I am interested in sharing with others the opportunity to enjoy the same treasures of the Maine wilderness. As a Registered Maine Guide for fishing, hunting, and recreation, (the most rigorous guide licensing process in the nation), I am also a licensed commercial boat operator, certified in infant-child-adult CPR and wilderness first aid, have expert skills with map and compass and with GPS, and am reliably familiar with the woods and waters, flora and fauna, landowners and rules, and the beauty and hazards of northern and eastern Maine’s wilderness resources.
In addition to having an avocation as a naturalist and being immersed in numerous hobbies from model railroading to beer making, Beth and I have been treatment foster parents for the better part of two decades and are an area resource on developmental disabilities and the legal system. In addition, I am an author and publisher, with opinions and books offered at woodburydavid.wordpress.com.
In the realm of wilderness guiding, there is a good chance that I share an area of interest with virtually anyone who comes along.
A WORD ABOUT INSPIRATION
As a youth, I spent a few years as a Cub Scout and as a Boy Scout, (Quilna Camporee, Lima, Ohio, October 1962), and also took part in a number of YMCA programs — all of which paid particular reverence to our nation’s aboriginals, our Indian heritage.
Taught before the modern descendants of aboriginal Indians (including myself) were all presumed to share certain political leanings, which they do not, and before the legacy, legends, and legions of indigenous people were co-opted by certain self-righteous non-Indians as instruments to insult other non-Indians, appreciation for the Indians was called Indian lore or Indian skills.
As Indian lore was conveyed in the innocence of the 1950s and 1960s, I loved it. I learned to admire my indigenous ancestors’ understanding of animal behavior, their stealth in hunting, their ingenuity with natural things, and the artistry of their handicrafts, as well as their varied cultures and their conservation ethic.
Whenever I am exploring the wild and exposed to its whims with only my wits and experience (and my GPS, PFD, CPR, etc.), nevertheless I do still think of the hundreds of generations of hardy humans who led the way where I now respectfully pass.