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Bryan Wentzell, AMC Maine Woods AdvocateAfter nearly two years in his current position, you might say Bryan Wentzell has settled into his job as Northern Forest/Maine Woods Advocate for the Appalachian Mountain Club. But then, Bryan never really settles. It seems he’s always on the go, whether traveling to meet with colleagues around the 100-Mile Wilderness region, hiking or skiing in the backcountry, or soaring aloft in a small, single engine airplane. Among other accomplishments, he earned his private pilot’s license five years ago.

Recently, Bryan was part of a team that worked together to produce the recently released Southern Piscataquis Recreation Map and Guide,  a cooperative effort highlighting the natural and cultural resources of the region and the importance of outdoor recreation. Bryan has high praise for the work of team members, who represented the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council’s Cultural Heritage and Ecotourism Committee (CHEt), Maine Cooperative Extension, and AMC.

A Middlebury College graduate who has continued his education through study at Penquis Leadership Institute and other academic programs, Bryan feels fortunate to be able to combine his love for the outdoors with his interest in community–based conservation in his position with AMC.

“The Maine Woods Initiative is, in many ways, a visionary project, and I can see its success providing benefits to local residents and visitors, as well as to the landscape of the 100-Mile Wilderness region for generations to come. It’s a new and innovative approach, and that can sometimes be challenging, but it’s always exciting and energizing,” he said.

Bryan has also served as a hiking guide in Denali National Park and a ski instructor in New Hampshire. No stranger to the AMC, he served for five seasons in the AMC’s White Mountains hut system, rising to the rank of hut master.

A native Mainer, Bryan’s roots in the state run deep. His grandfather on his mother’s side of the family worked for Gov. Percival Baxter and helped create Baxter State Park. His great-grandfather on his father’s side ran logging operations and river drives for Brown Company in northern Maine and New Hampshire, and his grandfather worked for more than 20 years in a Maine paper mill.

Bryan is pleased to live, work, and play in the same state in which he was born. “I feel lucky to be able to contribute to this cooperative effort, and to know my work, and others’, will help to maintain Maine’s character, build its economy, and make it an even better place for current and future generations,” he said

Photo: Courtesy of Bryan Wentzell