View Full Version : Baxter Park Director Eben Sypitkowski resigns.

TJ aka Teej
02-10-2022, 09:23
The Nature Conservancy has announced (https://www.nature.org/en-us/newsroom/maine-director-land-management/) Eben Sypitkowski as their new director of land management.

No official comment from Baxter State Park as yet. (2/10/2022, 8AM.)

02-10-2022, 11:43
Lots of money is getting pumped by federal funding into national and regional land conservancy organizations. The head of the AMC recently moved into the head of the Trustees of the Reservations position (at a substantial pay increase. I have seen several other moves of late in regional organizations. These non profits may pay their head office competitive wages but the entry level tends to be staffed with lot of low/no pay interns just out of college and mid level folks that are paid well below private industry. Unless they hang around a long time and are real good at fundraising or have a spouse who can pay the bills, there is not a lot of financial incentive to stay so the pool of skilled folks are low. Many organizations were staffed by boomers and they are retiring so the rush is on to try to hire away staff from other organizations rather than doing it the hard way of paying their mid level folks.

From afar I did not see Eben as anything more than a caretaker. director. He just did not seem to be active in promoting a long range vision like the past directors, he had minimal media presence. The claim when the prior director had given plenty of notice was that the commission was going to look at a wide pool of high level candidates across the country. There was a fairly wide gap between when the prior director left and Eben was announced. The perception was he was a reliable backup. His first summer reportedly was rocky due to staffing issues. Add in two summers of Covid which no doubt required a lot of extraordinary effort and he may have elected to go back to land management. I do not think he did himself a good thing with long term Baxter folks like me by cutting out opening day. Generally, the staff present seemed to look upon that day as a nice break to winter but at least one ranger in attendance on the last opening day made it known that it was somewhat below his perception of his job to have to show up and he was definitely advocating its elimination. I also expect that from a cash flow basis it was a nice injection of dollars at a low point of the budget. My guess is the decision was made based on what was easiest for the senior staff, rather than realizing that a small but key group of long term supporters of the park would regard this as a slight. Add in a real bad decision this past summer forcing folks who wanted backcountry sites to go back to calling the understaffed reservations clerks in place of the on-line reservations and furthered the perception of the park being an unfriendly place. I ran into some folks who called the reservation lines repeatedly for several days getting busy signals until they gave up or eventually got a clerk. They could have just as well kept the online reservations open and added a few pop up warnings.

He also stopped any work on the prior director's goal of building some additional backcountry hiking trails. The addition of a trail to the gap between Fort and Millen along Annis Brook to connect up with the Northwest Basin trail and the logical connection of the new Twin Ponds trail to the Russell Pond Trail would have attracted more people to the backcountry and away from the overused summit trails. At least he did allow the Twin Ponds trail to be opened.

My guess is the chief ranger who transferred from the AMC 100 mile wilderness program to BSP is at least a strong candidate (assuming he is still around).

Unfortunately it is a bad time to fill a director's slot as the park should be concentrated on getting seasonal staff lined up for summer.

02-25-2022, 07:11

06-26-2022, 13:43
Any update on who the current director or acting director is?

07-23-2022, 15:37
Any update on who the current director or acting director is?

Answering my own question here: Dan Rinard is the Interim Park Director. I had a small interaction with him and I was impressed with his courtesy and professionalism.