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Athens Businessman Robert Linkletter Receives Wilkins Award for Forest Stewardship

AUGUSTA – Today, Governor Paul LePage, along with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF) and the Maine TREE Foundation, honored a well-known Maine forest-products businessman who has made outstanding contributions to forest management and the forest industry with the ninth annual Austin Wilkins Forest Stewardship Award.

Linkletter, owner of the Maine Woods Pellet Co. in Athens, received the award for his significant contributions to the Appalachian Trail/Maine Department of Conservation 2011 “Saddleback Connector” initiative. That initiative created an invaluable interface between the national hiking trail and the region’s snowmobile and ATV trail loops.

“The Linkletters’ businesses are a perfect example of how we can choose to support both our economy and natural resources. We all have a vested interest in protecting Maine’s natural resources, and sustainable working forests are key,” said Governor LePage. “I am pleased to see the Linkletters’ leadership in showing how it’s done.”

Established in 2004, the Wilkins Award is named after Dr. Austin Wilkins for his lifelong leadership in being a steward of Maine’s forests. The award is the major recognition for landowners and individuals who are outstanding examples of managing the working forest of Maine in an exemplary and sustainable way. It is the only award that recognizes stewardship of the working forest.

Also attending this year’s award ceremony were ACF Commissioner Walter Whitcomb, Sherry Huber, Maine TREE Foundation executive director, and Dr. Bill Beardsley, former Maine Department of Conservation commissioner.

Linkletter and his family own and operate timberlands as Linkletter Timberlands, LLC. He also is vice president of Linkletter and Sons Trucking of Athens. The businessman received a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Maine and is one of the state’s first Master Loggers. He also serves as president of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine.

Past Wilkins Award recipients have included: Dr. Austin Wilkins; Seven Islands Land Co. and Pingree Heirs; Sherry Huber and John Hagen of the Manomet Center for Conservation Science; Roger Milliken Jr. and the Baskahegan Timberlands Co.; Baxter State Park Director Jensen Bissell; Prentiss & Carlisle of Bangor; and president of the Robbins Lumber Co. of Searsmont, James L. Robbins.

For more information on the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, go to: http://www.maine.gov/acf

For more information on the Maine TREE Foundation, go to: http://www.mainetreefoundation.org/index.htm

For more information about Maine Woods Pellet Co., go to: http://www.mainewoodspelletco.com/index.html