As many of you know, I recently left Belgrade’s town manager position to join the 7 Lakes Alliance. Two factors played into that decision.
One, working for the 7 Lakes Alliance as its new director of communications and operations affords me the opportunity to work, day-in and day-out, on the most critical issue confronting the Belgrades the health of our lakes.
The lakes are the lifeblood of our communities. That’s true economically. For example, 60 percent of Belgrade’s tax base is on its shorelines, and in Rome, the figure is closer to 85 percent. The lakes are also a wellspring of recreational opportunities (fishing, swimming, paddling, picnicking, birdwatching, skiing, boating, snowshoeing, sledding), regardless of whether one owns a camp.
Most importantly, our lakes, with their aesthetic beauty, give the Belgrades a sense of place. They are the area’s defining feature, drawing seasonal residents and throngs of visitors and tourists year after year and generation after generation. In turn, those folks help support local businesses, some of which (Day’s Store, the Village Inn, Camp Runoia, Hammond Lumber) are important community institutions. Frankly, without our lakes, we are little more than bedroom communities of Augusta and Waterville.
So what is the role of the 7 Lakes Alliance in protecting and preserving these vital waterbodies? 7 Lakes is a nonprofit organization that, working with partners such as Colby College, takes a science-based approach toward ensuring clearer water in the lakes. Land conservation is a critical component of that mission, because what happens on the land drives water quality. In other words, the land and the lakes are inextricably linked. Plus, the land conservation yields wonderful opportunities for hiking and communing with nature.
So, 7 Lakes seeks to stem erosion that degrades water quality and sparks algal blooms, along with preventing the spread of invasive species. Both missions are critical to the long-term health of the watershed’s seven interconnected lakes. That is, what happens in East Pond eventually flows into Messalonskee Lake.
My role with the 7 Lakes Alliance will involve ensuring the effective and efficient operation of some of the programs necessary to carry out the mission, along with informing, educating and enlightening folks about what we’re doing, how and why, the urgency of that work, and how they can help. We’ll be doing that through every avenue possible including in the pages of this wonderful publication.
The second reason for the move is it will afford my wife Christina and me the lifestyle we wish to live. Serving as town manager was a rewarding privilege. It was also taxing more so than I imagined. Still, I largely enjoyed it.
Joining the 7 Lakes team allows me to continue to perform important work in the place Christina and I have chosen as our home. Like many of you, we absolutely love it here! And we want to ensure the lakes are still thriving for our great-grandchildren and beyond.
You can write to Anthony Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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