Protecting Katahdin woods and waters

The designation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is a perfect gift to the nation and Maine on the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary.

I know I join so many other Mainers and Americans in thanking President Barack Obama for designating this truly unique place a national monument. He has added to the National Park System a place filled with vast forests, incredible rivers, streams, ponds and mountains. And because it is now managed by the park service, it will be known to the entire world. Visitors will come from everywhere to get something they can get in fewer and fewer places — wild nature.

Along with Obama, I want to thank Roxanne Quimby, her family and their foundation, Elliotsville Plantation Inc. Without her vision and generosity, this would not have been possible. On behalf of my grandchildren and those who will someday be their grandchildren, I am grateful.

It often has been the dedication and foresight of a few that saved many of the places we treasure today. What would the nation be without the Grand Canyon, which President Theodore Roosevelt had the foresight to protect from mining interests; without Yosemite, if John Muir hadn’t dedicated his life to preserving and promoting it; or Acadia National Park, which was originally protected as a national monument thanks to the work of George Dorr?

Now, because of a remarkable woman and a president with the vision to accept her gift on behalf of all of us, we can enjoy the Katahdin woods and waters forever.

Susan Burgess

Newport

Zeigler for Legislature

In April, Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill to allow nonprescription sales of naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses if given in time.

He notoriously said, “Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose.”

The Legislature overrode that veto.

Greater access to naloxone is a step forward but doesn’t do enough. That’s one reason my friend Stanley Paige Zeigler Jr. is running as a Democrat for state representative for House District 96, comprising Belmont, Liberty, Lincolnville, Montville, Morrill, Palermo and Searsmont.

I know Zeigler will work with other legislators, regardless of politics, to reduce the harm caused by drugs. I hope he’ll try to counteract drug-company profiteering on naloxone, now at several times its price before the current opioid crisis.

Having worked as a night counselor in a residential drug-rehab program, Zeigler understands the pain of poverty or illness that leads to dependence on painkillers, as well as the pain of addictive disease. To him, people with addictions are not to be thrown away. They are people. They need a helping hand instead of a cold heart. Please vote for Zeigler.

Gary Stimeling

Freedom

Reviving the Katahdin region

President Barack Obama’s designation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument will have enormous benefits for the area where I spent my childhood and often return.

Growing up on a farm in Benedicta in view of Katahdin in the 1970s into the 1990s, my generation never got to experience a thriving Katahdin region. We grew up at a time when the farming, manufacturing and paper industries already were in decline, and our communities were already feeling the effects. We heard the stories and lived among the remnants of a once prosperous region; one where there were good paying jobs and an economy that gave hard-working folks a chance to raise a family with a decent standard of living.

Thanks to the generosity of Roxanne Quimby and her family, the dedication of those working to make it possible and the foresight of Obama, future generations in the region have hope for a prosperous future again.

History and countless economic studies show that communities around national parks and national monuments prosper. Millions visit America’s important historic and natural wonders, spending money at local businesses. Some decide to relocate their families to a town near the park or monument with which they fell in love. Entrepreneurs open businesses to serve the local community and visitors. This won’t happen overnight in the Katahdin region. But thanks to Quimby and this amazing gift to us, we now have an economic catalyst that can and will allow prosperity to return.

John Rush

Newport

Chasing the corn cob

This country is experiencing an alarming rise in drug use. A significant rise in drug use seems to happen when either gasoline containing ethanol sales increase, the Environmental Protection Agency mandates an increase in the amount of ethanol, or both.

In my opinion, ethanol in our gasoline is a cause of the drug use. Is there anyone that can prove this assumption is wrong?

Ralph F. Stevens

South Berwick

Long road to monument designation

In the long effort to create a Maine woods national monument, one event stands out in my mind as a Katahdin region resident as the turning point. This past June, U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin convened a congressional field hearing in East Millinocket. It was intended as a partisan affair with Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, gaveling the event.

During the first hour, the distinguished representatives gave five prominent opponents five minutes each to speak out against the national monument. Softball questions were then lobbed to the panel allowing panel members additional time to elaborate their opening statements.

The hearing was then opened to public comment. In 2015, a nonbinding straw poll brought out more East Millinocket residents against the proposed national park than for it. Perhaps Poliquin was expecting the same turn out. Instead, for every opponent who stood at the podium, four national monument supporters got up and spoke with eloquence for the creation of a national monument. Friends and neighbors expressed their hopes and dreams with strength.

Then, on Aug. 24 — the date of my 65th birthday — President Barack Obama created a Maine woods national monument. I feel honored to have shared in the effort with folks in my region and around the state and nation to make the dream of a monument in the Maine woods a reality. Thanks Obama for adding these beautiful lands along the East Branch of the Penobscot River to the roll of American monuments.

Paul Corrigan

Millinocket