Lee Baker

Lee Baker

Into the Woods

“My mom and dad weren’t hikers, but I always remember playing out in the woods with my sister—always hiking or cutting brush.”

These experiences stayed with Lee, who grew up in Peterborough. As a child, he connected with the woods and essentially never left! Lee is well known for his love of hiking and his passion for land conservation.

Leading the Way

His association with the Harris Center began back in the 1970s when he co-led a ski workshop with Cecil Lyon and Jack Corser. After that, he went on innumerable hikes with John Kulish. (It’s rumored that Lee can do an excellent impersonation of John!) Eventually, Lee became a hike and outing leader himself, co-leading his first expedition in 1982.

“I notice things when I hike, like a caterpillar on the ground, a hawk flying overhead, or beautiful ice formations in puddles. People would say to me, ‘Lee, you see so many things when we hike!’ So I began to think I might as well make it a point to take a few people along.”

In noticing things that others might miss, Lee adds richness to the experience of the hikes, cross-country ski treks, and paddles he leads as a volunteer for the Harris Center. By our calculations, he’s averaged one outing a month since 1982 — an incredible commitment and a huge gift to the outdoor-loving community!

Lee was presented with the 2019 Volunteer Extraordinaire Award at the Harris Center’s 2019 Annual Meeting for his extraordinary contributions of time and talent over several decades. But leading outings is only part of the story.

A Land Lover

Lee Baker pauses on the trail. (photo © Denny Wheeler)

Lee on a 2003 outing. (photo © Denny Wheeler)

Earlier in life, Lee worked outdoors in various capacities, including serving as a lift supervisor at Temple Mountain and a caretaker for large estates in Peterborough and Sharon. His love of the outdoors and deep connection to the land seems to be part of his DNA.

When he retired, Lee shifted his focus to increased volunteering. In addition to leading outings, Lee has helped build and maintain many miles of Harris Center trails and regularly helps with ongoing work on the Harris Center grounds. You can also find Lee mowing the growing number of fields the Harris Center maintains on our conserved lands.

He’s also been involved with the Friends of the Wapack — which helped to protect three-quarters of the 21-mile Wapack Trail — for almost 40 years, currently serving as their secretary. He was also recently honored by the Forest Society for 25 years of service as a volunteer Land Steward.

View to the Future

Lee and Jeannette Baker help with grounds cleanup at the Harris Center. (photo © Margaret Baker)

Lee and Jeanette lend a hand during a volunteer grounds cleanup at the Harris Center. (photo © Margaret Baker)

Lee and his wife Jeannette, who is also an avid hiker, enjoy the quiet and the natural beauty of life in Hancock.

“There are still places people show me that I haven’t seen. The natural world is a big area around here. You can go for weeks and weeks without doing the same hike twice. There’s so much to see!”

The Harris Center community continues to benefit from Lee’s ability to “see” things and to help others view the natural world through his eyes. His love for the land and its inhabitants is palpable, and we are grateful for his decades of selfless service to the Harris Center and its mission.

“I’m totally in line with what the Harris Center says and does. It’s wonderful what it’s accomplished, to see it grow to what it is today—being able to protect more land and contribute to the world through education. You’ve got to get to the young people; to me that’s the most important thing—teaching the young people and getting them away from the computer!”

A happy hiker! (photo © Meade Cadot)

A happy hiker! (photo © Meade Cadot)

A jolly crew for an autumn hike, led by Lee. (photo © Meade Cadot)

A jolly crew for an autumn hike, led by Lee. (photo © Meade Cadot)

Contact Us

For more information on the Harris Center’s 50th anniversary celebrations, please contact Lisa Murray at (603) 525-3394 or by email.