The drama troupe of Searsport District High, and Middle, School is known for tackling DIY productions. This year, director Chris Goosman and her students are bringing a haunting story from Maine’s north woods to the Maine Drama Festival — an annual event that, this remarkable winter, has had every competing school dealing with Arctic expedition conditions.

SDHS, along with Belfast Area High School and Mount View High School, will present its one-act competition piece to the public the week before the regional competitions. The annual Waldo County tour will begin Thursday night, Feb. 26, at the Searsport school, 24 Mortland Rd.; and continue Friday, Feb. 27, at Belfast Area High School, 98 Waldo Ave.; and Saturday, Feb. 28 at Mount View, Route 220 in Thorndike. Shows start at 7 p.m. and admission is $5 at door.

Goosman’s troupe will present their own cutting of a full-length stage adaptation of “An Allagash Haunting,” one of Tim Caverly’s Allagash Tails Collection books that also has been turned into a radio play. Maine Drama Festival entries may run no longer — even a few seconds longer — than 40 minutes. Goosman said some of the appeal for the theater students is that the ghost story is a Maine one and represents a real change from last year’s competition, when the school did a cutting of Maurice Maeterlinck’s Symbolist play, “Pelleas and Melisande.” Caverly has done several presentations in the school system, so that had an influence too.

“He's kind of like a minor celebrity around here,” said Goosman.

In the past five years, Caverly, who lives in Millinocket, has done 140 multimedia presentations for some 5,000 students in Maine and beyond; the week before the Waldo County tour, he was in New Hampshire. He also presents to organizations and at libraries, including Camden Public Library. His Allagash Tails Collection books, illustrated by regular collaborator Franklin Manzo Jr., draw from his experience as a ranger, as well as waterway and wildlife stories.

“I was a park ranger for 32 years, 18 years as supervisor of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, so I don’t have to make anything up [for the Tails tales],” he said.

And yet, a bit of fiction inserted into “An Allagash Haunting,” the Collection’s second book that led to both a prequel (“A Wilderness Ranger’s Journal”) and sequel (“Headin’ North”) has taken on a life of its own. The story is based on something that happened up to Churchill Dam, which was a thriving logging community from the 1920s to ‘50s. Little is left to bear witness to those bustling days, aside from an old, abandoned boarding house … and perhaps the echoes of its former occupants.

Seasonal volunteers help maintain the site, pitching tents for overnights. One night there was a downpour and they asked Caverly if they could sleep in the boarding house instead.

“I said, 'Sure!' No one had been in that building for 50 or 60 years. After a while, they heard footsteps coming down from the lumberjack quarters. Then they heard fiddle music upstairs, and they were out of there,” Caverly said.

The next morning, the group told Caverly’s colleague Gil Gilpatrick about their experiences. Gilpatrick asked Caverly what the ghost’s name was, and he came up with Emile Camile, inspired by some locals he’d worked with.

“The Northwoods Sporting Journal wrote a story about the ghost being up there. A few weeks later, they got a letter from someone saying she was Mrs. Camile,” said Caverly.

The Houlton Star Bright Children’s Theatre adapted the Allagash Tails “Haunting” book into a play that runs about an hour and a half, with intermission. The play landed in the Searsport school’s library during one of Caverly’s visit and the librarian, Searsport Lions Club member Brian Richards, brought it to Goosman’s attention.

“I went down and met with the kids, really had a great time. I’m looking forward to being at the show,” Caverly said.

“We really want this to be spectacular for him, as well as for us,” said Goosman.

He will have the Allagash Tails series of books, which Caverly, who followed up his outdoor career with five years teaching in the Millinocket school system, wrote with the Maine Learning results in mind, on hand and for sale. He hopes to have the sixth book, “Solace,” as well; it was being printed in mid-February. His tales of the north woods also have found fans among grownups, and he now has five adult programs available for presentation. The programs include more than 120 historical and scenic photos of the Allagash, a place he has a passion for.

“I grew up in the woods; my father was a Maine Forest Service fire warden and my brother a ranger at Baxter State Park,” he said. Now, Caverly and his wife, whose family was among the Penobscot River drivers, live 60 miles from the start of the Allagash River, which runs 92 miles north to Allagash Village.

“For 18 years, I paddled it, snow shoed it or snowmobiled it once a week,” he said.

And while Caverly no longer works the river, his Allagash Tails presentations work to build awareness of the rare treasure the region represents to Maine’s past, present and, he hopes, future.

“The river runs through 3 million miles of wood forest, so any discussion of it can get pretty political pretty fast,” he said, adding he hopes that when inevitable legislation is proposed, there will be a core of people around the state who have a sense of what is at stake.

“I, and anyone who has been there, have a deep feeling for the place,” he said.

For more information about Caverly’s Allagash Tails books and presentations, visit After the Waldo County performances, SDHS will take its “An Allagash Haunting” to the regional competition at Mount Desert Island, where Mount View High School and its cutting of Moliere’s “The Would-be Gentleman” also will compete. Belfast Area High School will bring “The Good Doctor,” written by Neil Simon and Anton Chekhov, to the Midcoast Regional at Oceanside High School in Rockland; see the story linked below. All the Maine regionals will take place Friday night; and Saturday afternoon and night, March 6 and 7.