Changes in climate, technology, leadership and tourism are impacting Baxter State Park, a special place that many people wish would never change.
On a recent fall day, the park’s director, Eben Sypitkowski, went on a short hike in the north end of the park. Along the way, he shared some of his thoughts about the future of the park and the challenges that he has faced during his first year as park director.
“As I’ve tried to learn about leadership and how to lead an organization like this one, something that’s been a constant attractive framework for that is this notion of facilitative leadership,” Sypitkowski said. “Leaders are no longer sort of the hero that comes in and has all the great ideas that are going to solve everything. … We’re shifting away from that toward where leaders are hosts of conversations held between all those that are concerned about a particular thing.”
While standing on a ledge near Lower South Branch Pond, the 36-year-old park director pointed out the composition of the surrounding forest. Red pine, maple, birches — the species of trees told him a story that most other people wouldn’t see.
“This was likely a forest type that was created by one of the fire events that happened in the early 1900s,” Sypitkowski said.
Prior to being hired as park director, Sypitkowski spent four years as the resource manager for the park’s 30,000-acre Scientific Forest Management Area.
Aislinn Sarnacki is a Maine outdoors writer and the author of three Maine hiking guidebooks including “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine.” Find her on Twitter and Facebook @1minhikegirl. You can also...
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