In 2009, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, in conjunction with the Maine Professional Guides Association (MPGA), did a wonderful thing. They created the Wiggie Robinson Legendary Maine Guide Award. It was fitting that Robinson was the first (posthumous) recipient of his namesake award.
The idea was to select annually a deserving registered Maine guide for this honor and public recognition.
Legendary is a big word. Since the fabled first Maine guide, Cornelia “Flyrod” Crosby, put Maine on the map for American sportsmen and women, there has been a continuous cadre of Maine guides, some famous, some not so famous, some obscure and a few, perhaps, even on the shady side.
Wiggie Robinson came as close as a contemporary Maine guide gets to being a bona fide legend. He was a true woodsman who grew up with it. He was well known and well liked. He was active and involved, having served on the Maine Guides Board, Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council and in other capacities as a sportsman and guide. He walked the walk and talked the talk.
Since Robinson set the stage and served as the role model for the Legendary Maine Guide Award, there have been a number of other deserving Maine guides singled out for this special recognition, dedicated guides like Gil Gilpatrick, Dan Legere, Gary Corson, Matt Libby, Don Dudley, Don Helstrom and others.
This spring, Downeast guide Lance Wheaton, from Forest City, was named the Legendary Maine Guide Award winner for 2018.
Steve Whitman of Princeton nominated Lance, saying that he has been a full-time guide for more than 55 years, has served on the Governor’s Advisory Council, is a lifetime member of the Maine Guides Association, has been cited by the Maine Warden Service for his help with search and rescue, is one of the original directors of the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust, has spent hundreds of hours preparing for and attending public hearings concerning environmental laws and has built nearly 100 guide canoes during his lifetime.
“I met Lance Wheaton 35 years ago as a new game warden stationed in Danforth. He is the personal definition of what a Maine guide should be. To be recognized by your peers as legendary is the highest honor,” said Deputy Commissioner Timothy Peabody.
Commissioner Chandler Woodcock commented, “Lance is an exceptional recipient of the Wiggie Robinson Award. He has committed his life to Maine’s outdoors.”
Maine has close to 5,000 registered Maine guides. As the recipient of this year’s Wiggie Robinson Legendary Maine Guide Award, Lance Wheaton joins an exclusive cadre of Maine guides who deserve to be recognized as the cream of the crop.