‘River Dave,’ banned from New Hampshire site, moves to Maine

Aug 16, 2022, 8:14 PM | Updated: Aug 17, 2022, 12:53 pm
FILE — David Lidstone, 81, sits near the Merrimack River on Aug. 10, 2021, in Boscawen, N.H. Lids...

FILE — David Lidstone, 81, sits near the Merrimack River on Aug. 10, 2021, in Boscawen, N.H. Lidstone, a former hermit who a year ago was forced to leave his New Hampshire compound after two decades, has found a new home in Maine. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

(AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A hermit known as River Dave — whose cabin in the New Hampshire woods burned down after he had spent nearly three decades on the property and was ordered to leave — has found a new home in Maine.

David Lidstone, 82, has put in windows and is working on installing a chimney on his rustic three-room cabin, which he said is on land he bought.

“The foundation needs repair work,” Lidstone, who received more than $200,000 in donations following the fire, said in a phone interview on Monday. “It’s just an old camp, but I enjoy working (on it).”

Lidstone, who grew up in Maine, declined to say where he was living or provide a contact for the landowner. A search of Maine county registers of deeds did not show any recent transactions involving Lidstone, but a cousin confirmed that he had moved to Maine, and a Facebook post had photos of Lidstone with a family member in his new home.

“He’s working on putting it together, and clearing land, and planting gardens, and he’s got some chickens. He’s moving on,” said Horace Clark, of Vermont, Lidstone’s cousin.

Lidstone said he had to leave Canterbury, New Hampshire, over his dispute with a different landowner since 2016 over a patch of forest near the Merrimack River that Lidstone called home for 27 years. A judge issued an injunction in 2017 for him to leave after the landowner, Leonard Giles, sued him, and another judge recently ruled Lidstone would receive a $500-a-day fine if he didn’t move.

There have been many delays in the case. Besides the pandemic, Lidstone didn’t always show up for court, and he was in and out of jail as he resisted the injunction.

It also was difficult to serve Lidstone with a notice to appear in court. There’s no road access to the property, which is about a mile and a half (2.4 kilometers) into the woods. In January, one process server slipped, fell down an embankment and injured his leg in his attempt to reach Lidstone, according to a motion filed by Giles’ attorney.

In March, a judge said Lidstone would face the daily fine if he didn’t leave the area by April 11. The judge ruled Lidstone also has to pay some of Giles’ legal fees. Separately, Lidstone faces trespassing charges in connection with the property.

Giles, 87, of South Burlington, Vermont, died in July. It wasn’t immediately clear if his death changes the status of the case. His attorney didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Lidstone said he was sad to hear that Giles died. “I had nothing against the old man,” he said.

But he seems to be embracing his new life.

“I’ve got all kinds of friends up here,” he said. “I’ve had friends every weekend, all summer.”

Last August, while Lidstone was in jail over the property dispute, his cabin, which had solar panels, burned down as it was being dismantled at Giles’ request. The local fire chief said the fire was accidental.

Lidstone agreed to collect his remaining possessions. He had secured temporary housing as he figured out where to live next — he had offers — and believed that he could not go back to being a hermit. But late last year, he returned to live in a shed on the property that had survived the fire, prompting more legal action.

“Sometimes, you have to stand up for what is right,” he said in January.

Court records said the undeveloped property has been in the Giles family since 1963 and is used for timber harvests.

Lidstone, who represented himself in court, had claimed that years ago, the current owner’s father gave his word — but nothing in writing — allowing him to live there. He also disputed whether he was on the property in the first place.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)...
Associated Press

Fish and Wildlife shoots wrong wolf, more attacks confirmed

Wolves from two packs in northeast Washington state have attacked more cattle
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — ABC’s “This Week” — National Security Council spokesman John Kirby; Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. __ NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Reps. Don Bacon, R-Neb., and Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich. __ CBS’ “Face the Nation” — The nominees for Arizona governor, Republican Kari Lake and Democrat Katie […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Fulton County Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis is shown in her office on Tuesday, Jan. ...
Associated Press

Flynn, Gingrich testimony sought in Georgia election probe

ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia prosecutor investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and others illegally tried to interfere in the 2020 election filed paperwork Friday seeking to compel testimony from a new batch of Trump allies, including former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis […]
15 hours ago
First lady Jill Biden gestures while meeting with medical professionals and students during a visit...
Associated Press

Jill Biden: ‘How could we go back?’ after Roe is overturned

Jill Biden on Friday used the story of how one of her teenage friends ended a pregnancy at a time when abortion was illegal, including being declared mentally unfit, to illustrate what she says is at stake for women in November’s elections. “How could we go back to that time?” the first lady asked in […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., is pictured on July 16, 2013. The ...
Associated Press

VUMC to pause, review gender-affirming surgeries for minors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Officials at Vanderbilt University Medical Center announced Friday that they are pausing gender-affirming surgeries for minors in order to review their practices. The news, delivered in a letter sent to a lawmaker who has demanded an end to the surgeries, was publicly released Friday afternoon. It comes amid mounting political pressure […]
15 hours ago
FILE - In this May 24, 2019, photo, teachers and students from Northwest Montessori School in Seatt...
Associated Press

Gray whale population off western U.S. continues to decline

SEATTLE (AP) — U.S. researchers say the number of gray whales off western North America has continued to fall over the last two years, a decline that resembles previous population swings over the past several decades. According to an assessment by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries released Friday, the most recent count put […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
‘River Dave,’ banned from New Hampshire site, moves to Maine