Alan Hutchinson was a conservation hero

From his 24 years of work as a wildlife biologist for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, to his 20 years of leadership of the Forest Society of Maine, Alan Hutchinson was a conservation champion.

He was also a great guy to work with, and I treasured those opportunities. Alan, who died suddenly of a heart attack at his home in Orono, was captured very well by Nick Sambides in a BDN story that I hope you read, or will read.

Alan was a leader in conservation much of our wonderful north woods, close to one million acres, including the land surrounding Sourdnahunk Lake where Linda and I own one of the camps at Camp Phoenix.

In Nick’s story, Karen Tilburg, a longtime Forest Society staff member, described him very well:  “Alan’s devotion to doing it in a way that was practical and in harmony with Maine values was really admirable. His death is an enormous loss to Maine.”

I also appreciated the words of  Pat Strauch, executive director of the Maine Forest Products Council, who told Nick that Allan “worked hard to bring together landowners anconservationists. He had a great reputation and he was very passionate about land conservation. He was a diplomat in the way he did his business. You could tell he was very dedicated to it.”

Ed Meadows, a former Commissioner of Maine’s Department of Conservation, sent a message to family and friends of Alan’s, and has given me permission to share it with you. Here it is.

Here are some wonderful words from gazing at stars in a beautiful night sky:
“Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through, and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”

The world is truly a better place because Alan was here.
He was an amazing leader:  effective, friendly, enthusiastic, quiet, diplomatic.

Like no one else I ever knew, Alan ALWAYS had the best smile and most gracious greeting every time you saw him.  He instantly made you feel better, just because you were with him.  He was so sincere and so gracious.

I had the pleasure of serving on the TNC board with Alan in the early 1980s, and then seeing his accomplishments over the next 30 years.  It is so engaging to know how many people appreciate so deeply what he accomplished.

Alan made an everlasting contribution to Maine, and Maine landowners.  We remember him for his devotion to his beloved Maine woods, wildlife and natural resources.

He will be missed, that is for sure.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.