Camden selects parks and recreation director
Landon Fake of Bethel has been selected as Camden Parks & Recreation Director.
Town Manager Patricia Finnigan said in a press release the Parks & Recreation Director is a key staff position, especially in Camden with its emphasis on natural resources and outdoor recreational opportunities that enhance people’s quality of life.
“I wanted this to be a very community-centered process. I talked with lots of people about what kind of person we should seek for our Parks & Recreation Director,” Finnigan said.
Fake was selected from among nearly 80 applicants from Maine to California. Finnigan said she was pleased with the overall quality of the applicants, and was especially impressed with the caliber of the finalists.
She said the search was especially sensitive since the person selected would succeed Jeff Kuller who had been Camden’s Parks & Recreation Director for 8 years before he died unexpectedly in a timber harvesting accident last November.
“Landon was the unanimous choice of the search committee,” Finnigan said. “He has a depth of experience and the leadership skills that are essential at this important time for the Snow Bowl and the community.”
Finnigan noted Camden has an excellent Parks and Recreation Department staff and said Fake will be a great addition to the management team of Beth Ward and William “Fitzy” Fitzcharles.
Assisting Finnigan with the selection process was a search team comprised of Brian Robinson representing the Parks & Recreation Committee; Bob Gordon, chairman of the Ragged Mountain Foundation; Town Finance Director Carol Sue Greenleaf; and Rick Knowlton of the Ragged Mountain Redevelopment Committee.
“Camden is a great example of a town government working with engaged citizens to create incredible recreation opportunities," Fake said. "I’m really excited to be part of that.”
Finnigan said Fake’s skills and experience are ideally suited to continue Camden’s outdoor recreational traditions and lead planned new initiatives.
“As we embark on the next step in the Ragged Mountain redevelopment, now more than ever we need a director who has a track record of taking major capital projects from ideas to reality, and the financial management expertise that brings projects in on budget,” Finnigan said.
Fake is very familiar with Camden and the Midcoast. He was the director of the Outward Bound Atlantic Region Wilderness programs where he managed programming and a $3 million budget. While there, his responsibilities included managing facilities, programs, logistics and supervising major capital construction projects.
Fake initiated and led Outward Bound’s relocation of its base of operations from Hurricane Island to the mainland, a strategic move that presented a multitude of challenges in order to streamline facilities and operations to ensure financial sustainability.
Fake currently is executive director of Western Maine’s Mahoosuc Pathways, where he has been instrumental in working with the town of Bethel and other stakeholders to develop a new 2,400 acre community forest of land for regional recreational uses including multi-use trails for hiking , biking and skiing.
“One of Camden’s great attributes is our citizens,” Finnigan said. “The residents are every civic minded and want to be involved in the community. Landon has extensive community outreach skills rooted in community engagement and open and transparent communications.”
“A lot of work has already been done to put the Snow Bowl redevelopment plan in place and I look forward to helping implement that,” Fake said.
In addition to his current position, Fake is a member of Bethel Conservation Commission, a member of the Mahoosuc Land Trust board, and advises outdoor organizations in the United States and internationally about developing recreational programs.
Fake currently lives in Bethel with his wife Margaret Haberman. They have two daughters — Anna, who attends Guilford College in North Carolina, and Cathryn, a dedicated FIS ski racer who will graduate from Gould Academy in June.
Fake plans to relocate to Camden this fall. The town manager’s recommendation will be considered by the select board Sept. 17. Fake will begin work full-time in mid-October. He will be in town a couple of days a week until then to meet with the staff and others in the community.