Chris Beach is a retired lawyer and history professor from Wilton. After joining the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust’s High Peaks Land Conservation Initiative in 2008, Chris and Lloyd Griscom recognized the hiking community needed more local allies to achieve success. The small local meetings previously held by Lloyd, Roger Lambert, and others, soon evolved into the public effort known as the High Peaks Alliance.
Early projects Chris recalls contributing to include: creating the first AmeriCorps position, held by Ben Godsoe; the 6,000-acre Orbeton Stream Forest Legacy conservation project in Madrid; the Moose Loop ATV Regional Trail System; the West Saddleback Multi-Use Trail Crossing of the Appalachian Trail Corridor; and the initial public forums on a possible new High Peaks National Wildlife Refuge.
Looking back, Chris believes the effort to form working alliances between motorized and non-motorized local trail groups produced solid initial results. Future successes will occur when the “4 Valleys” surrounding the high peaks backcountry better ally themselves to promote their mutual “backyard”- Maine’s priceless, unique High Peaks Region.