Hermit Receives Outpouring of Help After Losing Cabin

'I feel about as good as I ever have in my life,' says David Lidstone, 81
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 9, 2021 9:20 AM CDT
Hermit Whose Cabin Burned Receives Offers of Help
This undated photo provided by Jodie Gedeon shows David Lidstone, 81, who for nearly three decades lived in the woods of Canterbury, N.H.   (Jodie Gedeon via AP)

An off-the-grid New Hampshire hermit known to locals as “River Dave,” whose cabin burned down on the wooded property where he was squatting for 27 years, says he's grateful and overwhelmed by fundraising efforts and offers for a place to live. “I feel about as good as I ever have in my life," David Lidstone, 81, said in a phone interview with the AP. “I live down there in the woods because I like being alone, being away from people, so this publicity is not anything that I’m used to at all." Lidstone lived in the woods along the Merrimack River in the town of Canterbury. He was jailed on July 15 on a civil contempt sanction and was told he’d be released if he agreed to leave the cabin. The property owner, 86-year-old Leonard Giles, wanted Lidstone off the property.

A fire destroyed the cabin on Wednesday, hours after Lidstone defended himself during a court hearing. He was released Thursday from jail after a judge ruled that he would have less incentive to return. The state fire marshal's office is investigating the fire. Lidstone, who is currently staying with friends, said he tried to go back to the site to collect some things, but was told he had to go to police first. The woodlot Lidstone called home was just a few miles away from Interstate 93, north of the capital city of Concord. But it was hidden by the trees; it’s on 73 acres that have been used for timber harvests. Jodie Gedeon, an avid kayaker and advocate for Lidstone, said there's been discussion of setting up a trust for him, in addition to finding him a home. There have been at least 20 offers for him to relocate to another plot of land, from California to Maine.

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