I enjoy my work with the High Peaks Alliance for its intersection of people seeking ways to find overlapping values we can all rally around. As a group, we come together to preserve our natural resources and traditions, because we know that we can’t take this area for granted.
My introduction to the High Peaks area was in the mid 80’s on outing club hikes of the Appalachian Trail and canoe trips on the area lakes and rivers. Some of these trips were overnight trips by pack or canoe, but many were day trips with incredible views, accessible after several hours of walking.
I have always been amazed at the many and varied expectations placed on these mountains and waters and their ability to fulfill these needs, whether managing timber, hunting, fishing, day hiking, long distance hiking, snowmobiling, biking, ATVing or wildlife watching (I’ve certainly missed some uses, but appreciate that all of them occur here).
My life’s professional and volunteer work has been dedicated to promoting and conserving these many uses. In the early 2000’s, I made my living as a forester and staff biologist for a Maine-based family land management company participating in forest certification programs. A bit of the company’s land is held in permanent working forest easements, and since that job, I have been employed by several land trusts and conservation organizations as a biologist helping to identify the lands and waters needed to satisfy the many interests and expectations of the forest, plants and wildlife for both residents and visitors.
The High Peaks Alliance works to protect the way of life in these mountains. Our future is linked to the natural resources of this landscape and no matter how you use the land we can work together to help preserve this place.
Peter McKinley is the lead ecologist for the Maine office of The Wilderness Society and serves as the High Peaks Alliance’s Vice President.