This past Saturday at Downeast Lakes Land Trust’s annual picnic and meeting, DLLT celebrated the conservation accomplishments of the 2021 Downeast Lakes Conservation Award winner, Lee Whitely. Those who know the inner workings of the Downeast Lakes Community Forest, know that Lee has been a driving force of the Trust’s efforts since its inception. A passionate outdoorsman, he has long-standing ties to the Downeast Lakes region, first coming to the area decades ago to hunt, fish, forage, and enjoy the peace and quiet of his Fourth Machias Lake camp.
“Lee shuns the spotlight, but he’s been instrumental behind the scenes at DLLT for nearly two decades,” said DLLT President David Montague.
After his retirement as President of the Technical Papers Division and Director General of the Axhom Division of Lydall, Inc., Lee moved to Grand Lake Stream, and became involved in numerous community activities and events, including the early formation of the Downeast Lakes Land Trust. With his recent retirement from the Board of Directors, he leaves behind an extensive legacy of exemplary land conservation successes, having served on the Leadership Committee of the Downeast Lakes Forestry Partnership, DLLT’s Forestry, Wildlife, Finance, and Governance Committees, and most recently, served for several years as DLLT’s Board Vice President.
“It’s rare for a board volunteer to actively seek out the hardest jobs and the toughest assignments in organizational governance – the sticky issues and challenging topics that no one enjoys sorting out – but that’s exactly what Lee did, and he did it for years and years,” said Montague.
The handmade paddle was generously donated by Dale Tobey of Grand Lake Canoe & Paddle, and wood-burned by Ryan Cross of Robbinston. To hear fellow DLLT Director Sue LaPlante’s speech honoring Lee, click the link below.
“Non-governmental organizations like DLLT rise and fall on the shoulders of the Lee Whitely’s of the world, and this award is just a fraction of the acknowledgement he deserves for the pivotal role he’s played in this organization’s growth and success.”