Board of Directors & Staff
BOARD of DIRECTORS
Doug Burnell, President
Doug Burnell, USVLT’s President, recently retired as Principal at H.E. Bergeron Engineers in North Conway. Doug has deep family connections in Western Maine and the Mount Washington Valley, and he has been active in the community since childhood. He has been on numerous non-profit boards in the area, most notably serving as President of Tin Mountain’s Board when the organization relocated to a new campus and built an outdoor education facility and office space. He has been on the USVLT Board since 2010.
Jim Doucette, Vice President
Jim was born and raised in New Hampshire and graduated from UNH with a degree in Biology. He came directly from college to the Conway area to see a girl - and 41 years and four grown children later, he’s still here. Jim has served on many Town Boards and committees, coached little league and hockey and “enjoys it all.” Jim, who lives on property surrounded by conservation lands, says: “Every day, I see firsthand the importance of preserving open space. I became involved with USVLT because of respect for the work they do and an interest in helping that effort. My wife’s family has put hundreds of acres of forest and lake front property into conservation easement for the love of the land. To me it is exciting and satisfying to be involved in helping land owners and the USVLT to preserve valuable assets for future generations.”
Jim Hastings, Treasurer
Jim is a retired Chief Financial Officer and a former Certified Public Accountant. He and his wife Linda moved to Bartlett full time in 1998 after being weekend visitors since 1985. He joined the Trust as a conservation easement monitor and is currently contributing in that role as well as being a Board member and Treasurer. Jim’s reason for being involved in the Trust is simple: “I think it’s important that we preserve the character of the unique landscape of the upper Saco River valley. One way this can be accomplished is through the work of the USVLT, its supporters and involved landowners.” Jim and Linda have one son, Ryan, who lives with his wife Sinead in Tahoe California.
Ann Bennett, Secretary
Ann Bennett came to the Mt. Washington Valley in 1970 to work for the Appalachian Mountain Club. She lives in Jackson and is the property manager for forest and farmland in the East Branch Valley (the Dundee easement). She is also a former editor and longtime contributing writer to the Mountain Ear Newspaper. A two-term member of the Jackson School Board, Ann also chaired the SAU 9 board, and has worked for many years as the administrator of the Jackson Grammar School. Other board affiliations include MWV Dollars for Scholars, the Pequawket Foundation, and the Whitney Foundation, which oversaw the construction of the Whitney Community Center in Jackson in 2008. Ann and her husband Richard have been USVLT members since 2008, and joined the Board in 2012.
Mark Dindorf first hiked Mt Chocorua at the age of 5 and has been an avid outdoorsman ever since. He attended Union College and moved to the White Mountains in 1980 to work for the Appalachian Mountain Club. Mark has been an Innkeeper for 31 years, most recently for Notchland Inn in Hart’s Location. Mark also is a selectman for Hart’s Location (currently in his 5th term), and he and his wife Nancy Ritger live on the Davis Path, where they raised their 3 children. In the late 1990s, Mark spearheaded the Bemis Bridge project – a replacement footbridge across the Saco River providing continued public access to the Davis Path. The collaborative project involved the Forest Service, the AMC, the North Country Council, the National Scenic Byways Program, the Trust for Public Lands and private landowners. Completed in 2000, the bridge project won numerous awards for design and project coordination.
Tom served as President of USVLT from 2005 through 2012. An organic farmer with deep roots in Conway, Tom was a charter member of the Land Trust. He was also a founding member and participant of the first Conway Farmers’ Market from 1980 – 1994. Tom and his wife, Ruth, live in South Conway and run Earle Family Farm, selling their produce, meats, maple syrup, and fiber out of the Farm Store just off the Brownfield Road. The Earle Family Farm hosted a Community Supported Agriculture project from 1989 – 2001, and continues to innovate and experiment with permaculture techniques today.
Tom Gross and his wife, Maria live in South Conway. They have three children and two grandchildren. Tom is an international management consultant specializing in facilitating organizational change. He is also a trained Gestalt therapist and executive coach. He serves, as well, on the Board of Directors of the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation which supports eco-science research. Maria is a metal smith and jewelry maker and also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Conway Lake Association.
Rick Jenkinson resides in Kearsarge with his wife, Vickie, and is an active skier and hiker. In addition to the Upper Saco Valley Trust Board, Rick also serves on the Appalachian Mountain Club Board of Advisors, the Advisory Board of the NH Institute of Politics, and is the deputy chief of the Granite Backcountry Alliance. He also serves on the Kearsarge Lighting Precinct Board of Commissioners.
Wendell “Wink” Lees, a Mount Washington Valley native, can always be found out in nature – whether it be for work or pleasure. Wink served as the Northern New Hampshire Land Steward for The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire until early 2016, where he maintained all aspects of all the north country preserves for TNC – a monumental task. Prior to his work with TNC, he also co-ran Floribunda, a landscape design business. Wink joined the board of the Land Trust in 2006, and is also a volunteer monitor for USVLT. He spearheaded our Mount Surprise project in his neighborhood of Kearsarge, NH.
Anne Pillion has 30 years of professional experience in the field of environmental site assessment & compliance. She has investigated contamination at Superfund sites and developed successful pollution prevention and sustainability programs. Beginning in 1965, Anne grew up with her family at their home in Jackson, swimming in the rivers, and hiking and skiing the mountains. Most recently, Anne received an EPA lifetime achievement award for “Exceptional Commitment to Excellence” in recognition for her tireless advocacy on behalf of our environment. She joined the Land Trust board in 2016, and is grateful every day for the gift to live in the Mount Washington Valley. As an avid birder, Anne also volunteers for Tin Mountain Conservation Center, leading their kestrel nesting box project. She lives in Intervale with her wife, Bartlett Police Chief Hadley Champlin.
Tyler returned to the Mt. Washington Valley in the summer of 2014 joining the law firm Cooper Cargill Chant as a real estate and business attorney. Tyler’s primary areas of practice include business and real estate transactions, including efforts in land conservation, agriculture and recreation. While spending the past ten years practicing in Providence, Rhode Island, Tyler was a long-serving board member and Secretary of Farm Fresh Rhode Island, a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on creating a local food system in the Rhode Island and Southern New England region. Born and raised in nearby Bridgton, Maine, Tyler is an avid outdoor enthusiast always looking for the next big adventure whether by ski, bike or foot. Tyler lives in Kearsarge with his wife Anne and two young boys, Nelson and Levi.
Dr. Burgess Smith is an historian and retired college executive, currently a Senior Lecturer and Faculty Fellow at Granite State College, with a specialty in teaching online. After graduate work at Johns Hopkins and Nova Southeastern Universities his career has focused on teaching and developing degree programs for adult learners. He is Vice President and Director of the Properties Commission for the Greater Lovell Land Trust, and also coordinator for the Upland Headwaters Alliance of land trusts that protect the upper regions of the Saco and Crooked River watersheds in Maine. He joined the USVLT Board in 2010 and lives in Brownfield.
William Abbott, Executive Director
William Abbott joined USVLT in 2012 after working for the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County, near his hometown. In California, William worked on wetland restoration efforts, helped to re-establish historic trail access to the “back country”, and led the trust’s stewardship program. William has also worked in the green energy sector, for environmental consultants, and in environmental education, notably the Chewonki Foundation in Maine. William and his husband, David Paige, live in Conway on West Side Road in David’s family’s historic homestead – a ca. 1800 farmhouse across the street from the Kennett easement. William holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MS from the Field Naturalist Program at the University of Vermont. William also sits on the Board of the New Hampshire Land Trust Coalition and the Pequawket Foundation, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He likes plants and is still trying to remember his East Coast botany after too many years in California.
Email William: wabbott (at symbol) usvlt.org
Linda Comeau, Land Protection Specialist
Linda Comeau was a founding Board member of USVLT in December of 2000 and stepped off the Board to become the land trust’s first paid staff. A passionate outdoorswoman with a love of the White Mountains, Linda completed the AT in 2015. She is also working on the “grid” – summiting all 4,000 footers in all months of the year, for a total of 576 summits. Linda’s hard work as Land Protection Specialist has brought in over $1M in grant revenue in the past decade, securing USVLT’s economic and land conservation success. Linda has a Master’s in Resource Management from Antioch New England.
Email Linda: lcomeau (at symbol) usvlt.org
Susan Beane, Development Associate
Susan Beane joined the Land Trust staff in 2015. A native Mainer, over the last twenty years, she’s had the opportunity to work with many non-profit organizations in the Mount Washington Valley region whose missions have focused on education, global travel, and the environment. Susan is a passionate farmer/gardener and participates in a multi-family farm up the hill from her house in Denmark, Maine. She is dedicated to raising awareness of our precious natural resources, and she believes that safeguarding those resources is key to the continued economic success of the Mount Washington Valley and Western Maine.
Email Susan: sbeane (at symbol) usvlt.org
Jesse Wright, Office Manager & Local Food Systems Advocate
Jesse joined the Land Trust staff in 2015. After spending time working in, traveling around, and experiencing Europe, she returned to her New Hampshire roots in 2013. She has her BS in Business Administration from Babson College and Master’s in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School. Jesse is an avid rugby enthusiast with a passion for understanding all things agriculture, and she serves up a mean cocktail at the local favorite: May Kelly’s Cottage . She has a deep love for the Mount Washington Valley and is excited to be working to preserve this beautiful landscape.
Email Jesse: jwright (at symbol) usvlt.org