Nov. 1, 2017- The NYSOWA M. Paul Keesler New York Outdoor Citizen Award is presented to an individual or organization that effectively has raised the public’s awareness of outdoor recreational opportunities and conservation issues in New York State. The award recipient, Gary Lee of Inlet, NY, was officially announced at the annual conference of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association (NYSOWA) in Lake George.
The award was created to honor worthy individuals and organizations, at the same time perpetuating the name of one of NYSOWA’s dearest members. The late M. Paul Keesler spent nearly five decades promoting and conserving the outdoor wonders and recreational opportunities within New York State
Gary Lee has spent a lifetime enlightening people on the opportunities of the natural world and outdoor recreation. He has also well known as a champion of maintaining access for key areas of the Adirondacks and protecting wildlife such as the loon. As a NYS Forest Ranger, an outdoor writer, a volunteer, and an advocate he has become widely known and respected throughout much of upstate New York, especially the Adirondack region.
During his tenure as a Forest Range in charge of the Moose River Plains Wild Forest he went out of his way to make the area accessible and let people know of the potential recreation from fishing, hiking, camping, and hunting to the opportunities to see rare flowers or birds.
Gary Lee has become a widely known and respected writer who has publicized the wealth of recreation opportunities throughout the Adirondacks. He currently writes for the Adirondack Outdoors magazine on a regular basis. Just one example of how widely known and popular his articles are is a story that he wrote on ice fishing for splake in Adirondack Outdoors that caused several anglers to drive 75 miles to try the fishing at Limekiln Lake.
He has written an authoritative book on Adirondack birding and several times a year he volunteers and guides people on birding hikes. He also does similar hikes and tours for birds, wild flowers, etc. on behalf of the Old Forge Library or View Art Center.
Gary writes a weekly column for The Weekly Adirondack that covers everything from wild orchids to moose. He has continually made his readers aware of the serious issues such as invasive species, climate change, threats to wildlife, or efforts by some groups to restrict access to areas of the Adirondacks.
He also frequently conducts seminars or gives presentations on all of these issues, especially education about loons. He is a regular volunteer all summer for the Adirondack Center For Loon Conservation. These duties include building nesting platforms, monitoring nest results, educating people to not disturb the loons nesting or the young chicks, banding birds, and countless rescues of loons caught in discarded fishing line.
Gary has never been afraid to speak out on important issues. He has led the efforts to prevent the environmental extremists from restricting access to many areas of the Adirondacks. His presence as public hearings, writing in his media outlets, and his extensive network of contacts have helped make people aware of these threats and as a result several important victories have been won. The Moose River Plains remains a wild forest with unique network of dirt roads for access instead of the restricted Wilderness area that the environmental extremist organizations lobbied for.
Gary Lee’s dedication, vision, and tireless effort epitomize the spirit of Paul Keesler.
For more information contact Leo Maloney (email@example.com)