Don Mansius, director of Forest Policy and Management Division at the Maine Forest Service (MFS) not only nominated Doug Denico for the Maine Forest Products Council’s 2020 Abby Holman Public Service, also presented the award at MFPC’s “virtual” annual meeting September 21, saying: “Doug Denico is one of those rare people who was able to move from the private sector into the public sector and step into the role of public servant without missing a beat. As state forester for eight years, Doug took care of Maine’s forests and forest policy and left both in better shape.
The Council presents this award to Doug Denico in recognition of his lifelong commitment to Maine’s forests, including a decades-long career in the private sector and his service as Maine’s State Forester, in which he implemented the state’s first Outcome Based Forestry agreements, consolidated forestry regulations under the authority of the Maine Forest Service, chaired the Baxter State Park Authority, embraced the Urban and Community Forestry program and improved operations on Maine’s Public Lands.
“During his tenure, Doug worked well outside the traditional comfort zone of most foresters who come in to government for the industry. He reached out to a diverse forestry community to implement progressive forest policies. And even in a contentious environment at the legislature, Doug managed to maintain his professionalism and sense of humor. I’d like to highlight two of Doug’s signature accomplishments as state forester. Both are of significant value to the private sector.
“First, without Doug’s initiative, prodding and persistence, it’s doubtful that Outcome Based Forestry would ever have become a reality. Because of his efforts, we now have four agreements covering nearly 2.8 million acres of the state’s forestland, where participating landowners can practice silviculture without having to worry that they might have violated our rather complex Forest Practices rules. We survived a couple of runs at the program by the naysayers and the program is still going strong.
“Second, he consolidated the forestry rules that were spread among several agencies under the authority of the Maine Forest Service (MFS). When you think about the bureaucratic turf wars, inertia and barriers set up to make this idea not work, Doug worked all the levers to succeed. Forest landowners don’t have to go to two or three different agencies looking for an answer to a regulatory question. Because MFS is the regulatory authority, there’s a practical, sensible approach to how the process works and it’s done by foresters to understand the realities of forest operations.
Doug’s Maine Forest Service family appreciated the time he was able to spend with us. He was a great boss. He gave us a sense of mission, inspired us and, like our best generals, always supported the troops. So with that, I’ve got the honor of presenting Doug Denico with the 2020 Abby Holman Public Service Award. Congratulations.”