Thank you to Georgia Manzo for showing Bangor Daily News readers in her June 16 OpEd that there is significant local support for the proposed national park and national recreation area east of Baxter State Park.
I am a Katahdin-area resident (and former Baxter State Park ranger) who also believes the proposed national park and national recreation area on the Penobscot River’s East Branch will be a great boon to our region. Not only will the national park “brand,” which is known nationally and internationally, bring more visitors from outside Maine and the U.S. in pursuit of hiking, wildlife watching, canoeing, kayaking and fishing, but the national recreation area along the eastern shore of the river will provide for quality snowmobiling and hunting (the latter a traditional activity that is a great passion of mine). Hunting and snowmobiling already exist in portions of Baxter Park. The proposed park and recreation area will allow these activities to coexist on the proposed lands.
It will also conserve additional, contiguous habitat to support wildlife, particularly those species that require more mature woodland habitat for their survival.
My enthusiasm for the new park and recreation area arises out of a deep-rooted connection to the Katahdin region. Born and raised in Millinocket, my ties to this breath-taking landscape span six decades.
It is my wish that others experience the Katahdin region’s beauty. A national park and recreation area would help to make that wish come true.
Love of Maine
The recent OpEd by Georgia Manzo about the reasons for a Katahdin region national park was excellent. It hit the nail on the head.
I’m from Millinocket, class of 1948. Like many of my classmates, I left town to go to college, join the armed services or find work other than at the paper mills. With the steady decline of the mills and eventual closings, it is obvious that the region needs a new business and economic model. The Katahdin Region National Park is a win-win solution.
I now live on the Maine coast in an area that is a hotbed for tourists from all over the country and the world. The coastal and lakes regions of Maine are thriving from tourism. These tourists are mainly 25-55 years old, outdoors- and eco-minded people with good incomes who love everything about the state. They spend liberally while here and continue to buy Maine goods on the Internet when they return home.
There is no reason a national park in the pristine Katahdin region could not develop into a huge success with growing public interest in eco-sustainable forests and wildlife. The park could help to generate good incomes and jobs and help the region attract new tourism-related businesses, products and development.
Many of these people discover a love for Maine living and end up moving here, starting and investing in new businesses. Residents of the Katahdin region should stop the bickering and get with it. They will be glad they did.
In Susan Feiner’s June 15 OpEd on the struggles of USM, she ends with a disparaging comment about my university, Southern New Hampshire University.
Feiner seems deeply misguided about SNHU. Our university is thriving. We are hiring 45 more full-time faculty members, adding stunning new buildings to the campus, expanding programs, and keeping our prices low. SNHU graduates from the main campus leave with less student debt, on average, than they do from our state’s public flagship university.
While I suspect she feels threatened by our innovative online programs, those are designed for busy, working adults, not the 18-year-olds seeking an on-campus, coming-of-age education. Our new competency-based program offers employers very low-cost degree options for their employees. Over 50 companies are partnering with us in just the 10 months since this initiative’s launch.
By the way, SNHU is every year near the top of the “Best Colleges to Work For” list and has award-winning benefits for its faculty and staff. They have had 3- to 3.5-percent raises every year for the last five. Our center in Brunswick has long offered programs well designed for adults juggling family and work with their educational needs.
We admittedly try new things and innovate around delivery and lower student costs, but we do so without compromising academic values that I think Feiner holds dear.
I do hope things work out well for USM and for Feiner, but if they don’t, she might take a closer look at SNHU. However, if she applies, we will insist that she demonstrate more care and critical thinking in her work than she has demonstrated in her OpEd.
Dr. Paul LeBlanc, President
Southern New Hampshire University
I was impressed by the June 16 BDN OpEd by Georgia Manzo, secretary of the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce, expressing her organization’s support of the proposed national park and national recreation area east of Baxter.
I have had exposure to many national parks throughout our country. Through my experiences I have seen how the National Park Service develops the area into an environment that encourages the public’s access and use but also respects the natural environment. I have also seen how it benefits the surrounding towns and cities by the development of lodging, restaurants, transportation, tours and retail businesses.
I believe, as the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce does, that designating Elliotsville Plantation Inc.’s land as a national park and national recreation area will both draw people to the area and help to retain those who already live there. I applaud the chamber’s recognition that the proposal would be a substantial investment in the local economy, and I submit that it would also be a substantial investment in Maine’s natural environment.
In the June 19 BDN there is an article about Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges speaking about the evils of capitalism. It is interesting that a man who has “hatred for rich authority figures” was willing to accept a $10,000 prize from an organization created by a 19th-century capitalist named Joseph Pulitzer.