The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) has awarded the 2020 Henry M. Rowan Conservation Award to Carl Heilman, II, Brant Lake resident and renowned photographer and author.
The Rowan Award is named after Henry M. Rowan, who received the inaugural award in 2003. The award is given annually to recognize exemplary individuals and organizations for their conservation efforts around Lake George.
The award is typically presented during the LGLC’s annual President’s Reception, but because of the pandemic the event has been cancelled for this year. The physical award will instead be presented in person during next year’s Reception.
“Carl’s work to portray the beauty of the land and the lake has inspired countless people to protect this special place,” said LGLC Executive Director Jamie Brown. “It’s a unique form of advocacy that truly goes to the heart of why we need to make sure that it remains protected for future generations. Like the land and water that it captures, Carl’s work endures over time to evoke warmth and a connection to a place like no other. We are grateful for all that his work has done to protect this watershed.”
“Carl’s photography has been a part of LGLC’s story since our beginning,” said LGLC Communications and Outreach Manager Sarah Hoffman. “Time and again he has willingly responded to our requests for specific photos to help promote a project or region, often with more choices than we could have asked for. Thanks to his stunning images, people feel more connected and inspired to this beautiful place. He has also volunteered his time, as a presenter for programs over the years, and as our official photographer for the Hike-A-Thon since its start in 2013.”
In acceptance of the award, Heilman said, “Before the Northway existed, like so many other travelers, we drove through Lake George village on our way to vacation in the Adirondacks. Storytown was a milestone on our trip from southern PA, followed by Lake George Village with a policeman at each intersection, and a view of the statuesque Jolly Roger as we crept our way northward through town with the traffic. My Mother always commented on the beauty of the lake and mountains and how refreshing it was to be back in the Adirondacks for a while again.”
“I moved to our Brant Lake summer home in 1973,” Heilman continued, “and started exploring the region on my own. I was drawn to the High Peaks summits and especially loved being above timberline in the winter. After several years of devoting most of my spare time to hiking, camping, snowshoeing, and paddling among these spectacular mountains, I decided to start ‘giving back’, and joined the Adirondack Mountain Club to support the primary group that was helping take care of the peaks and trails. In the years that followed, I have enjoyed working with and offering my photography to many other regional groups whose goal is to protect and preserve the environmental quality of remaining open spaces in the Adirondack Park.
“I have especially enjoyed working with the LGLC. When I’m out and about, I’m always looking for outcroppings and open areas that have potential vistas, plus new waterways to paddle and explore. Over the years I found a number of prominent Lake George vantage points that showed up as private on a map. Then, over time, as if by magic, these special locations I’d found plus many others have been purchased by the LGLC and opened for public access, and are all helping to protect the environmental quality of Lake George.
“This is no small task, and I thank and applaud the efforts of so many others who have volunteered in some way to help all of these projects come to fruition, in conjunction with the LGLC staff who are working at these negotiations and other ecological issues on a daily basis, one step at a time. This is a joint effort, by so many others who are devoted to the cause, and I am thankful that my photography has been able to help with these efforts.
“I feel honored to be considered for the Henry M. Rowan Conservation Award. It has been a privilege to be able to share in the work of the Lake George Land Conservancy to maintain and improve the environmental and aesthetic quality and open space of the Lake George basin for current and future generations. Thank you for this consideration and award, and thank you for all you do!”
Photo: Carl Heilman during the LGLC’s 2019 Hike-A-Thon, during the event’s helicopter flight.