John Sinclair was born the son of a surveyor and potato farmer in the village of St. Francis, Maine. He grew up in the heart of the forests, rivers, and lakes of the north Maine woods. Leaving school at a young age to help support his family during the Depression, he worked as a ‘swamper’ and river driver on log drives. After working for the Army Corps of Engineering during WWII, he returned to Maine to become the iconic Maine woodsman and forester. As woodlands manager of the Pingree Family lands where he set a standard for excellence in stewardship of Maine timberlands, emphasizing long term planning and species diversity. He fought federally – sponsored plans for dams that would have submerged much of the northern forests of Maine. He was the creator of the North Maine Woods – a public private partnership that promoted the ‘shared use of resources’ – for forest management, timber harvesting and public recreation and a founder of the Maine National High Adventure program.
‘The life of a woodsman involves putting in about 100,000 miles, and I’ve done that much two or three times – by foot, canoe, and car – out there.’