Monumental opportunity

President Barack Obama’s designation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is a really good thing for Maine.

As my family and I live in Bar Harbor, I know firsthand how important Acadia National Park is to the communities surrounding it. The park brings diversity — economic and human — to the region. It also protects and celebrates something unique, beautiful and special.

The lands around the East Branch of the Penobscot are just as special and beautiful, though in very different ways. As National Parks Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said while visiting Maine in May, the lands of the new monument are “absolutely worthy.” They are just as deserving of this protection and recognition. And the communities bordering the country’s newest national monument deserve the economic vitality that accompanies global notoriety the park service brings.

After growing up in Maine, I attended the University of Maine in Orono and, like so many of my fellow Mainers, fell in love with the Katahdin region. I spend as much time as possible there, hiking, camping and enjoying a part of Maine that hasn’t received nearly the recognition it deserves — until now.

The president’s wisdom in accepting such a generous gift from a visionary landowner means my son and someday his son’s grandchildren will be able to enjoy this amazing place. It also means, with proper planning and thoughtfulness by the gateway communities, there can be a vibrant economic future that doesn’t diminish the landscape or the culture that’s grown up within it.

Glen Beane

Bar Harbor

Monument thanks

I would like to thank Roxanne Quimby, her family and Elliotsville Plantation Inc., the foundation they set up to make incredible conservation gifts to the nation. While they have recently announced a host of gifts, the one that will have the most profound benefit to Maine is the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

Thanks for the generous donation of nearly 90,000 acres of property and for the millions of dollars pledged along with it. Thanks to President Barack Obama for recognizing the importance of our national parks system, and the near universal popularity it enjoys. Maine’s pristine and unique North Woods now has the recognition it has always deserved.

Thanks to the Natural Resources Council of Maine as they have been instrumental in making this a reality. The Natural Resources Council of Maine has worked with stakeholders to help adjust Elliotsville Plantation’s proposals. The Natural Resources Council of Maine has worked hard to educate people throughout Maine about the facts of the proposal and the opportunities it provides.

Thanks for conserving this amazing place for us all to enjoy.

Emily Parker

Newport

Giving up gun rights not common sense

Several anti-gun writers have claimed that in states that require background checks for all handgun sales, fewer people are killed. They’ve never specified which states those are. I suggest they haven’t because their statement is just another bit of false propaganda supplied by Michael Bloomberg, and they hope if it’s repeated often enough, someone will believe it. Think about it. New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., all have extremely restrictive handgun laws, yet their murder rates dwarf those in Maine, Vermont and other freer states. Don’t believe everything the anti-gunners say.

The anti-gunners say universal background checks are a “common-sense” limitation on our Second Amendment rights. They can’t say these checks would have prevented most recent mass murders because most guns used in those were legally obtained. They can’t say gun transfers without background checks have been even a minor problem in Maine because they haven’t.

Though universal background checks wouldn’t reduce gun violence significantly, they would make gun ownership more expensive, less convenient and less common, which is the goal of the anti-gunners. No doubt if this referendum passes, there’ll be another one soon asking for even more onerous limitations on our rights.

Bloomberg and his wealthy anti-gun friends are spending millions of dollars to try to change the system that’s worked well in Maine for centuries. Please vote “no” on Question 3. It’s not common sense to give away our constitutional rights.

Lawrence E. Merrill

Bangor

Can’t afford another park

First of all I would like to clarify that as a seventh-generation landowner on the coast of Maine (my family celebrated our 200th anniversary on the family island last summer), I appreciate and understand the importance of publicly-owned and accessible land. But I must say after every summer of listening to people tell me what we should do with our property, that not everyone has the experience and ability to be a landowner. If they did, they would be paying more attention to their own holdings instead of thinking that they know what’s right for the rest of us. I have yet to hear anyone mention the financial impact to all of us whose tax dollars will go to support yet another national park in Maine and never feel the need to go visit it.

Plus, I don’t know what is stopping people now from visiting the Roxanne Quimby land. As far as I know, it’s accessible for those who want to go for a hike or a canoe ride. It seems that the National Park Service is always running a maintenance backlog that it doesn’t have the money to cover. So how responsible is it to add yet more land the public can’t afford? Enough about the park already, it’s time to represent all the people, not just the ones who think because it’s free they are entitled and their free time and enjoyment is something we all should pay for.

Andy Arey

Warren

Thanks Roxanne

Roxanne Quimby made a fortune and, for years, has diligently been preparing an enormous gift to the people of the United States, which was delivered Tuesday. It would be a better world if more people with such disposable wealth worked so hard for the benefit of society. I say thank you so very much to Quimby.

To Gov. Paul LePage: It’s not ego. It’s grit, compassion, generosity and self-sacrifice. Excellent character traits for a successful businessman or businesswoman, I believe.

Matthew Leahy

Bangor