LETTERS

Friday, March 1, 2013: National parks, government shutdowns and an east-west highway

Posted Feb. 28, 2013, at 11:06 a.m.

Don’t fear the changes

My family has visited some wonderful national parks over the years, from Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon.

We have hiked, gone horseback riding, river rafting and whale watching. And everywhere we have spent money.

By electing to spend our vacation dollars there we have not only lent our support in keeping these areas preserved but have helped keep people employed — within the parks themselves and at neighboring hotels, restaurants, shops and outdoor sporting centers.

Even the most remote of our national parks have vibrant communities nearby — communities where everyone benefits from the presence of the park, the tourists and the revenue generated.

In Maine one only need compare the communities of Bar Harbor and Millinocket to see the benefits of having a national park nearby.

Besides thousands of jobs in the outdoor recreation and hospitality industries, Bar Harbor boasts great schools and social services. It is a place where doctors, lawyers, psychologists, teachers and others want to live and work.

Millinocket meanwhile has become a sad little town, the gateway to a tremendous state park that few outside of Maine have ever heard of, and perhaps many want to keep it that way.

People fear the changes a North Woods National Park would bring.

But the visitors this would bring would bring new life to the region, while creating little negative impact. It would help preserve a Maine way of life for many who can now barely make it.

Stephen Blythe

Jonesboro

LePage disrespect

Once again, Gov. Paul LePage shows his ignorance and disrespect by refusing to meet with the president during the National Governors Association meeting in Washington, D.C.

Even as seven Republican governors have agreed to expand Medicaid, LePage sticks to his rigid ideology and refuses to help the Maine people.

Part of the problem was corrected by electing a Democratically controlled Legislature in November. Hopefully, the remainder of the problem will be corrected by sending the governor to Florida permanently in 2014.

Christopher Duffy

Augusta

Shut down not so bad

I’m am retired from the Department of Defense. At one time, I was essential personnel.

The government had a shutdown, and all non-essential personnel were sent home. They had most of the month of November off.

If essential personnel wanted time off, they had to take leave or time off without pay.

It is my understanding that the personnel who were not essential got the time off and were paid back pay when the government passed the budget. This might not be so bad as they want to make it out to be.

Larson Alley

Jonesboro

Tank positions

It is totally beyond my ability to believe that the Searsport Planning Board’s intelligent and educated people would still want a tank, especially after all that has been learned through the recent process of discovery.

I can only imagine that you must feel there is no way to save face if they were to now change minds and agree that, yes, the tank is a very bad idea for the entire Penobscot Bay region and

especially for Searsport.

To that end, I offer that if the board does not accept the overwhelming evidence that the tank would have a devastating effect on the whole area, and it continues to hold a position in favor of this development, one can guarantee that members will have lost the faith of all they have been entrusted to protect.

Members of the board should resume their dutiful positions to protect the health, safety and welfare of all of us and stop the tank.

Dorie Klein

Camden

Slogan change

On Feb. 23, an informational meeting was held in the town of Garland. More than 100 residents attended, and the overwhelming consensus was firmly against the east-west corridor project.

At times folks were emotional when discussing the possibility of losing their way of life forever to this environmental disaster in the making.

The residents of Garland and all of Maine need to stand together to stop this from ever happening. We live here in rural Maine because we have seen and experienced life in more urban areas and do not want that lifestyle, the congestion, the noise and pollution.

We call upon our state leaders to halt this project before it’s too late and Maine is forever altered.

One of Maine’s slogans is, “The way life should be.” Let’s not have to change it to, “The way life once was, until big business came along and destroyed it.”

Joseph Valentim

Garland

Correcting misinterpretations

A Feb. 23 BDN article by Tom Walsh called, “Bill pulls sustainability, legality of seaweed harvesting into spotlight,” has led to significant misinterpretation of the intent of a Department of Marine Resources proposal sponsored by Rep. Ellen Winchenbach, R-Waldoboro.

The bill, LD 585, directs the department commissioner to develop a plan for a consistent approach to the management of seaweed harvesting throughout the state.

Walsh wrote that the bill calls for repealing legislation that established the Cobscook Bay Rockweed Management Area. This is only partly true.

In fact, LD 585 specifically calls for repeal of the statute that governs the Cobscook Bay Management Area 90 days after the adjournment of the second session of the 126th Legislature.

Should the bill become law, this provision ensures that the rockweed management area will not be repealed until a statutorily authorized management approach is put in place statewide.

Walsh also suggests that 90 percent of all rockweed is harvested in Cobscook Bay, which is not true. The correct figure has in recent years been much lower, which underscores the need for a management plan that addresses Maine’s entire coast.

Likening rockweed to an old growth forest is inaccurate. Rockweed has high capacity for growth and regeneration. The biomass of unharvested rockweed beds is completely replaced with new growth every three to 11 years. Numerous scientific studies have documented that harvested rockweed beds regenerate within two to three years after cutting.

The department’s proposed bill would ensure a more comprehensive approach to seaweed management and provide a broader set of measures that address all species of seaweed, along the entire coast.

Patrick Keliher

Commissioner, Maine Department of Marine Resources

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