For Reichen Kuhl, who owns a summer home on Lake Pennesseewassee, protecting the lakes of Norway, Maine from invasive species is an ongoing mission that helps keep up the natural local ecosystems. As a member of the Lake Association of Norway, he finds help and support from dozens of volunteers with the same mission of protecting the waters and its surrounding wildlife.
Reichen Kuhl is a member of LAON, the Lake Association of Norway, Maine, which helps to uphold the natural land and waters in the area. It is a conservation association to keep his lake (Lake Pennesseewassee, where his summer home is located) and other lakes in the Sebago Lakes region clean, healthy, and free of invasive species for the most part. In this way, the members of LAON deter encroachment and degradation of the natural beauty that drew them there in the first place.
“Nature conservation is something we all hear about but few of us actually know where or how to get involved,” says Reichen Kuhl. “I am lucky enough to be a summer resident on one of Maine’s most pristine lakes, and I was happy to discover this organization which looks out for the welfare of fish, plants, trees, and all the animals who live around the lake.”
The area that is known as Norway, Maine today was first called Rustfield after Henry Rust of Salem, Massachusetts, who was a well-known landowner at the time. It was later cleared and settled after 1786 by Joseph Stevens, and was home to many soldiers from the Revolutionary War. A sawmill and gristmill were established in 1789, and in 1796, the first road was built. Since then, the land has mostly been unchanged except for small developments and municipalities around the lakes.
Keeping the waters of Norway clean and healthy is a challenging task, but Reichen Kuhl isn’t alone in his fight to preserve nature there; the support group that has banded together around Maine’s lakes have made strides in preservation efforts. LAON functions as an all-volunteer group that is dedicated to preserving all four of Norway’s pristine lakes: Sand Pond, Hobbs Pond, North Pond and Lake Pennesseewassee.
Through their efforts, volunteers like Reichen Kuhl can protect the lakes from harmful invasive plants and pollutants by monitoring and reporting on the lakes’ conditions, encouraging responsible recreational activities in the area, and creating campaigns that reach their entire watershed community.
The sponsors that help keep the program funded are caring local businesses that understand the direct bond between economic vitality and the quality of the bodies of water. Most people in the area enjoy activities like swimming, fishing, and boating in the summer as well as ice fishing, snowmobiling, and ice skating on the lakes in the winter.
“The town of Norway is our biggest partner, and additional funding is made up of local business and individual donations,” says Reichen Kuhl. “We are very proud of our lakes and extremely grateful for all the support we have in protecting this area.”
Reichen Kuhl is formerly known as Reichen Lehmkuhl, whereas he and other members of his family shortened their last name to “Kuhl” in 2014.