Nearly 10 years have elapsed since first we heard the name Plum Creek here in the Moosehead Region. During that time, we have all come to learn much about the workings of the corporate machine, regulatory agencies and land use policy, as well as of the will of the people of Maine.
It has been my great pleasure to work with the many dedicated and thoughtful people from throughout the state on this issue, specifically those who live and work here in the Moosehead Region, as we have struggled to put our arms around our varied visions for the future of the North Woods of Maine.
As one of the first among many to bring thoughts of concern to the front regarding Maine’s largest landowner, I have found the strength of conviction of Maine people in particular, regardless of their position, to be one of the most rewarding enlightenments of my life. As we collectively endeavored to first define and then support our individual hopes and desires for the future of much of Maine’s last surviving, intact forested lands, it has been this one element of character that has come to define us all. Nowhere else, in my view, would so many have risked so much for so little personal gain, than that which has been expended by the people surrounding this long and contentious discussion.
As we near a turning point in the process, with the Land Use Regulation Commission seemingly bound to provide this company from away with their long-awaited “plum,” I look back upon the many hundreds of hours of discussion, argument and heartfelt outpourings of personal feelings that I have witnessed from these people, and I am proud to have been among them and to have even led some of them while they pursued their beliefs in what their hearts told them was right. This strength of character and willingness to commit to personal belief is what makes us, the people of Maine, who we are, and what will forever bind us to this land we love — regardless of its fate in the generations to come.
While some may say the outcome will forever change the landscape around us (and they may be right), it will never undermine that strength of conviction that we have all so willingly given. While dividing lines were drawn, sabers were rattled, feelings were hurt and emotions ran rampant, we can still — all of us — come away with that one, magnificent and well-deserved realization that we were, after all, a part of the process and for that we should be proud and thankful.
I wish to offer my personal gratitude to the many who have willingly given their time, resources and abilities throughout these recent years, and thank you all for your contributions of energy, facilities and coffee, without which none of the good work we accomplished would ever have gotten off the ground.
Together we have made great strides; we have forced change and we brought an entire state’s attention to the fate of our region. We all can take part of the credit for that, and we all will hold a share in the results. For my part, I can only hope that the best work of our collective endeavors will leave a legacy about which those who follow us will be proud.
And while there is still much to be done, we can take pride in knowing that each of us has made a difference in our own way. Now though, we have to get back to the business of being friends, neighbors and lovers of this beautiful country, for isn’t that what we fought for anyway?