2005 Alpine Steward Award Winner: Lester Kenway

Lester KenwayThe Waterman Fund presented its 2005 Alpine Steward Award at the Waterman Fund’s annual dinner on Saturday, April 9 in Bethel, Maine. The award is given each year to a person or organization that has demonstrated a long-term commitment to protecting the physical and spiritual qualities of the northeast’s mountain wilderness.

This year’s recipient is Lester Kenway of Bangor, Maine. Kenway currently serves as Program Coordinator for the Maine Conservation Corps, and is the owner of Trail Services, LLC.

Kenway’s stewardship of alpine areas dates back three decades. After leading trail crews in Maine, he rose to become Trails Supervisor of Baxter State Park, a position he held for 22 years. During that time, he pioneered a number of trail building techniques that reduced impact to alpine areas and became accepted as standard practice around the country.

In nominating Lester Kenway for the award, Baxter State Park Trails Supervisor Paul Sannicandro wrote that, “Lester’s innovation allowed him to become a pioneer in alpine zone trail reconstruction methods … he mentored hundreds of volunteer trail workers and has left a great legacy of fine work in the alpine zone of Maine’s great mountain, Katahdin.” Kenway has also trained crews for the Student Conservation Association, the National Park Service, US Forest Service and countless trail clubs.

In presenting the award, Waterman Fund board Member Laura Waterman noted that, “Lester Kenway has truly revolutionized trail work above treeline with his Griphoist. Like magic, this tool can lift and transport large rocks through the air from one place to another, without damaging a single plant. For the careful and caring thought behind his invention, and for his many years training and inspiring an entire generation of trail workers, Lester has surely achieved this award, many times over.”

Kenway received a dramatic, framed photograph of Katadhin in winter, by noted mountain photographer, Peter Cole, of New London, N.H.

Friends of the Waterman Fund attended the annual dinner, which was held at the Sudbury Inn. At the dinner, Fund President Chuck Wooster announced that nearly $200,000 has been raised towards the Fund’s endowment goal of $250,000. “Thanks to the support of hundreds of donors, from across the region and beyond, we are well on our way to providing permanent protection for the alpine summits of the Northeast. With their sweeping views, rare ecology, and enduring spirit of wildness, these peaks are the crown jewels of the Northeast’s mountains, captivating and inspiring us for many generations to come.”

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