May 24, 2018
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National park information overload

By Bruce F. Leavitt, Special to the BDN

What transpired at the Millinocket Town Council meeting on June 23, came as somewhat of a surprise. On that night, four councilors decided they needed more information about a potential national park. One after another, those who were in favor of the park said they needed more information, though their stated intent, I believe, was they needed the feasibility study. A study is just a behind-the-back way of working a federal park into the area.

Some will state that since Roxanne Quimby has softened her viewpoint by allowing limited ATV and snowmobiling on a minuscule part of her land, she is looking for a middle-of-the road option. This is like dangling a carrot in front of a donkey. Now comes another carrot in the form of a feasibility study. Well, I guess this approach has seemed to work in light of the council’s vote.

Paul Renaud said, “You are afraid of change.” Change is not always for the best. He further said that 60 percent of those there “didn’t have enough information” and basically stated we did not know what we were talking about.

“My wife and I are not against it, and we are not for it,” he further stated. That certainly is an astounding revelation.

Wendy Polstein mentioned her children, and that maybe traditional uses would be a great way to further the future of the area’s children.

In regards to Charlie Cirame’s view that because they own the land they have a right to do what they want, by Maine state law no landowner can keep you from going to any body of water of 10 acres or more. A federal park would take this away from the people. We want the freedom to enjoy, not extremism.

We all have a right to our opinions, and one should not be respected any less than another. But to say you need more information is a cop-out. There is plenty of information, though some, including those on the council, may have rolled their eyes at my suggestion that they should read the information that Councilor David Cyr has. There is all kinds of information online if they wanted to find it.

For those who are from outside of the area I would say that I, as well as others, know perfectly what we would like to see. We love the great outdoors, too, and know we have a valuable resource in the northern Maine area that should be used in all its aspect. If Roxanne Quimby and others such as the Nature Conservancy are so concerned, then maybe they should manage their own land themselves or let the state do it. A national park would destroy “the way life should be.”

They do not want balance. I do not hunt or fish but respect those who do. I have hiked Mount Katahdin several times, I have rafted several times and I enjoy taking wildlife pictures. I did go moose hunting once and believe it or not I enjoyed that to some extent.

Please do not tell me that I do not know what I am talking about, or that I do not have enough information on how I feel about a national park. I am fully aware of my thoughts and so are the majority of the people in northern Maine.

Was there a reason some of you came to Millinocket? Well, leave the area alone and we can all still enjoy the way it is. On the other hand, if you do not like what is happening, my suggestion is go back and enjoy the wildlife where you came from, instead of changing our way of life.

Those who live in town need to let the councilors know how you feel, especially the four who  need information overload.

One last thought in respect to council chambers and our way of life: some of you should remove your hats.

Bruce F. Leavitt is a retired Millinocket public works employee and a member of the Fin & Feather Club.

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