Volume Four Number One Late Winter 2000
During the last several months FEN has organized numerous flights over the proposed Maine Woods National Park and Preserve region. Our thanks go to Rudy Engholm and Steve Williams of Northern Wings for their piloting skills.
The purpose of the flights has been to give political and business leaders an opportunity to see firsthand the region proposed for inclusion in the National Park and Preserve and to encourage them to support a feasibility study by the National Park Service. Dana Connors, director of The Maine Chamber and Business Alliance, after his flight commented, "it would almost be criminal not to explore the feasibility of the park and preserve". Others who have flown with us include: Rep. Tom Allen, aides of Sen. Collins and Snowe, Dr. William P. Carter Jr. of Maine Medical Center, Julian Coles of Allen and Coles Moving, Chip Davison of Great Eastern Mussel, Booth Hemingway of Piscataqua Landscaping, Jim Hearty of Lehman Brothers, Bill Green of Hewlett-Packard, and Neil Rolde and Rob Gardiner of MPBS. All who have flown have been impressed by the magnificent grandeur of the mountains, lakes, and forestland. They have been saddened by the scope and amount of forest destruction, but inspired by what could be if a commitment was made to restoration. Seeing the proposed Park and Preserve put the project in perspective (it is not all of the Maine Woods - only about 19%) and helped highlight the potential economic benefits for northern Maine, particularly in light of the declining economic contribution of the pulp and paper industry in northern Maine.
Future flights are being scheduled for Rep. Baldacci and Sen. Snowe as well as other business leaders.
Tentative plans are for another foray to the beltway this Spring to solidify support and hopefully introduce a feasibility study. We need your help. Please write the delegation and tell them to support a feasibility study. Send letters to:
FEN Director, Jonathan Carter, was invited by the Western Massachusetts Sierra Club Chapter to be the keynote presenter at their annual meeting. Thanks should go to FEN members, Peter Klejna and Alexandra Dawson for helping to set up the event. Jonathan discussed and gave a slide show on the future of the Maine Woods. The event was so well attended that Jonathan had to give his talk twice. Rep. John Olver, an ardent environmentalist, attended the event. He was impressed by the proposed Maine Woods National Park and Preserve and has scheduled a meeting with Jonathan in the near future. It is hoped that he will be a leader in the fight to move the feasibility study forward in the halls of Congress.
Jonathan has also recently given presentations to the Augusta Rotary and the Muskie Archives at Bates College.
Project Harmony directed by Debra Andrews, former Rep. Tom Andrews' wife, recently brought a contingent of Moldavan environmentalists to meet with FEN. The Moldavans are on a cultural exchange trip. Jonathan discussed the history and current fight to establish sustainable silviculture in Maine. He was followed by Beth Wheatley of RESTORE: The North Woods who presented the case for the National Park. Both Jonathan and Beth were aided by an interpreter since neither speaks "very good" Russian or Romanian. The Moldavans are just coming to grips with the environmental problems and concerns so long overlooked by the former Soviet Union republic. The exchange was well worthwhile, and we hope that the Moldavans learned how the grassroots activism of a democracy can chance the world. Thank you to Debra Andrews for setting up this opportunity.
September 24-26 FEN had a table at the Common Ground Fair in Unity. As usual, it made for an interesting and enjoyable weekend, providing an opportunity for FEN staffers to speak to many members of the public about forestry issues in Maine. We also took advantage of the opportunity to collect the names of people willing to help on election day with collecting signatures for our forestry initiative. The names of volunteers we were able to gather at the fair played a large part in the eventual success of our signature collection.
FEN board president Steve Swift was one of several to receive the 1999 Restoration Leadership Award for his outstanding efforts in signing up businesses in support of the Maine Woods National Park & Preserve. Steve personally recruited scores of businesses for the Maine Woods National Park business partnership. Along with being president of FEN's board of directors, Steve is a board alternate for the Maine Woods National Park Coalition, and is the owner of Swift Arrow, a wholesale jewelry distributor in Waterville, Maine.