January 16, 2018
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LURC plan offers rebirth of Greenville


My opening statement to the Land Use Regulation Commission about Plum Creek’s Moosehead region conservation and development plan was delivered on Dec. 3, 2007. My closing statement in this lengthy proceeding was presented to LURC on Sept. 23, 2008.

That’s time enough to deliver a baby. Greenville region residents can only hope that LURC’s recent approval of a scaled-down plan will deliver something of equal consequence as they anxiously await the birth of a new economy.

On a recent weekend my wife and I visited a charming village in Maine’s western mountains for a fall harvest fest. We stayed in an amazing resort hotel, one of several in the area. I fished on Saturday out of a drift boat in a Two-Fly Contest, enjoying a day on a spectacular river catching rainbow trout.

This village has many wonderful lodging accommodations and first-class restaurants, and we enjoyed a terrific dinner on Saturday night. Sunday offered breathtaking views of fall foliage as I stood on the first tee of perhaps the state’s best golf course. Above me I could see the trails of a world-class ski area and out to the horizon were some of the state’s best conservation lands surrounding a stunning group of mountains.

Monday morning I spoke to a conference for one of the state’s major organizations at my hotel that was very busy over the weekend hosting weddings and other events.

When I left Bethel at noon Monday, I wondered why some people think Greenville does not deserve the same opportunities that bless the residents of Bethel: great resorts, a major ski area, ATV and snowmobile and biking trails, a fabulous golf course, all kinds of wonderful accommodations, all kinds of vacation places from small hunting camps to jaw-dropping homes scattered throughout the mountains, many fine restaurants, lots of conservation land, one of the nation’s most beautiful rivers, and a well-organized tourism industry that is sponsoring a major initiative to improve the fishing and bring more anglers to Maine and working closely with the state on several economic initiatives.

This is all Greenville and Rockwood and Jackman want: the same opportunities as their neighbors in Bethel.

Everyone recognizes that Bethel is a gorgeous, thriving energetic village, a great place to live and a major destination for tourists and sportsmen. My wife and I had a wonderful weekend there.

Plum Creek’s plan will change the Moosehead Region — and I know we often fear change. But it’s a good change. The plan offers hope to the hard-pressed residents of that region.

Perhaps LURC commissioners were thinking about Bethel when they voted for Greenville and gave preliminary approval to Plum Creek’s plan.

George Smith is executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.

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