FARMINGTON – Ed Kfoury and Nancy Perlson of the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust were recognized Friday for their efforts that “go above and beyond” to serve Maine’s outdoors interests, fish and wildlife resources and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Under the guidance of Kfoury, the president of the trust since its inception in 1991, and Perlson, the executive director, the organization has conserved 12,500 acres of important wildlife habitat, 45 miles of scenic shoreline on lakes, remote ponds, rivers and streams and 15 islands. That’s according to Bill Pierce, spokesman for the Trust and former marketing specialist for the state Department.
The pair were recognized for their organization’s efforts to conserve land for future generations to enjoy while providing excellent stewardship programs on those lands, Pierce said.
“Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust’s lands provide a wide range of recreational use opportunities such as wildlife watching, fishing, hunting, hiking and snowmobile. The trust works closely with the IFW regional biologists to manage their lands and the areas around the region’s waterways such as Rangeley and Mooselookmeguntic lakes as well as the Kennebago, Rangeley and Rapid rivers,” according to Pierce.
Pierce and Department Information and Education Director Regis Tremblay presented Kfoury of Oquossoc and Perlson of Salem Township with the Department’s Commissioner’s Print Award, which is the department’s highest honor.
The prints were of brook trout swimming in the Rapid River, an area they have worked to preserve. The trust owns both sides of the river, Kfoury said.
The trust recently acquired the overlook known as Height of Land on Route 16 in Letter D Township and also maintains 27 miles of hiking trails and numerous picnic areas open to the public.
“By your leadership, great partnerships have been created,” Pierce said during the brief ceremony at The Homestead in Farmington.
Pierce also presented Kfoury with a sportsman license plate with 91 on it, representing the year the trust was started. Perlson received bouquets of yellow and red roses, the latter from her husband, Gary Perlson.
Kfoury said when they started out, the meetings were held at his kitchen table and his wife, Patti, did most of the correspondence and legwork.
According to Pierce, Kfoury has invested considerable time, effort and personal funds to insure that the people of Maine can enjoy the many wild and scenic areas in this national recognized region.
Nancy Perlson started with the organization in 1994 as its first employee and has seen it grow to a staff of four full-time and 12 seasonal employees.
Asked if they were done conserving land for public access, Kfoury said, “We’ll never be done.”
“We’ve only just begun,” Perlson added.
The trust has 1,100 members and uses the private money as leverage to get state and federal grants among other funding resources.
“When we started, we didn’t have any idea if we could raise the money we needed – about $400,000 over five or 10 years,” Kfoury said. “Now our budget exceeds $450,000.”