The state of Maine received stunning and wonderful news yesterday: after landowner Roxanne Quimby transferred the deed of more than 87,000 acres to the U.S. government, President Obama announced an executive order creating the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. When I first moved here more than 20 years ago, talk was beginning about Quimby's hopes for a new national park, but there was much local nastiness. One of the founders of the Burt's Bees cosmetic company, she had used her earnings to buy up large swaths of timberland, pissing off paper companies and irritating hunters and snowmobilers who felt they had rights to use the property. "Dump Roxanne" bumper stickers proliferated on pickup trucks. But as milltowns in the region have begun to die, it has become clearer that conservation is really their only economic hope. And so little by little Quimby and her son Lucas St. Clair, who is now the face of the project, made their case for its protection.
This is Wabanaki country, Thoreau country, Audubon country. Its 87,000 acres are the giant version of my tiny 40-acre plot: running water, vernal pools, massive trees, lichens and stones and teeming animal life. I cannot tell you how jubilant I am about this. And our horrible reactionary governor is powerless to stop it.
If you're wondering about how the cretin and his cronies are taking the news, well, here's a headline in today's Bangor Daily News: "LePage conservation chief: 'Swampy woodlands' should not be a national monument." Go ahead and tell that to this moose, you moron.