Park franchise a sensible solution
Tate Watkins wrote a wonderful, sensible OpEd in the July 5 edition of the BDN proposing a national park franchise for the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
His suggestion seems as though it would eliminate much of the rancor associated with making this area a national park, still protect the region, and allow it to be used in traditional ways. Certainly, it would be less expensive to the taxpayer’s as it would be funded by users and philanthropists.
This sounds like a great idea that probably won’t go far because there is too much common sense involved and we all know there isn’t much common sense in government.
Leave the nips alone
I travel the highways of Maine quite frequently. I believe I am a pretty good observer of what lies along the sides of the road concerning debris.
Seldom, if ever, do I see the little “nip” bottles that our governor and the liquor commission say litter our roads. I am amazed that these so-called experts have come up with this.
I see hundreds of cans and bottles, especially water bottles, everywhere, but not the little nips. Leave the little guys alone, and get your information right, guys.
Defend public lands
Recently, President Donald Trump directed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to “review” all national monuments designated under the Antiquities Act over the last two decades. For more than 111 years, Democratic and Republican presidents have protected places with unique cultural and historic value, including national treasures like the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty. Despite Zinke’s encouraging public comments following his visit to Maine, the review threatens to strip protections from several existing national monuments, including the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
As a part of the League of Conservation Voters’ recent annual Lobby Day, I traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak with Maine’s congressional delegation about a number of pressing environmental issues, including protecting our public lands and waters. I was glad to meet with Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Rep. Chellie Pingree to thank them for what they’ve done to protect our environment. I also asked them to oppose efforts to roll back protections for public lands.
In addition to protecting important parts of our natural and cultural heritage, national monuments also provide an economic benefit — in Maine we have a $5.3 billion outdoor economy that directly supports 65,000 jobs in the state.
Across the political spectrum, I know that Mainers care deeply about our nation’s national parks and monuments. Please make your voice heard by signing the petition at monuments.lcv.org/maine before the comment period closes on July 10.
Maine Conservation Alliance
Resist anti-LGBTQ tide
OUT Maine was pleased to see the June 22 BDN editorial, “Ryan O”Callaghan’s story shines light on cruelty of anti-LGBT laws.”
Maine’s LGBTQ youth are particularly challenged. Maine’s LGBTQ youth consider and act on suicide at three to four times the rate of their heterosexual peers. These youth represent 25 percent to 40 percent of Maine’s homeless teens, and they are at a much higher risk of substance misuse.
Eight out of 10 Maine LGBTQ youth report regular bullying and harassment based on their sexual orientation and their gender identity or expression. Many skip school or just drop out based on their safety fears, too often resulting in even more marginalized adult lives.
OUT Maine is working to change these rural LGBTQ youth realities by:
— Creating safe community spaces through regular programming and retreats
— Making schools safe through Gay/Straight/Trans Alliances, which can help reduce bullying and harassment
— Weaving a safety net of informed, supportive providers such as health and behavioral health professionals, educators, clergy and youth organizations through cultural competency trainings
— Supporting parents and families to keep LGBTQ youth at home instead of on the streets
In the last two years, we have trained more than 3,500 providers and envision more than doubling that amount in the near future. Communities filled with informed and supportive people can change the experience of Maine’s LGBTQ youth.
These youth are our children and grandchildren. They are Maine’s future. Help resist the anti-LGBT tide. Together, we can change lives.