On October 20, 2011, Roxanne Quimby apologized to a gathering of about 75 people in E. Millinocket, Maine. The scheduled meeting was to be a Q&A session for E. Millinocket residents. It turned out to be a well-planned ambush by her opponents who came armed with prepared remarks.
Roxanne’s comments in a Forbes magazine article created a firestorm of vicious, personal attacks from hundreds of people who commented on the inflammatory, one-sided article in the Bangor Daily News whose purpose was clearly to create more controversy surrounding Ms. Quimby’s wish to create a new national park in the Maine Woods.
It wasn’t that Roxanne’s remarks about Maine having a very high percentage of old, overweight citizens who are dependent upon government assistance were inaccurate; no one disputes that. What Roxanne was attempting to do was demonstrate that a new park would help diversify the economy in the region badly in need of jobs.
She is only guilty of a lack of judgement in making those comments and not understanding how her opponents would use them against her.
In her response to a sarcastic, opening comment by an elderly gentlemen, Roxanne offered her apology and asked for forgiveness. This public apology from a woman who has been vilified, demonized, and slandered in the Bangor Daily News for months because she wants to give her land to the National Park Service took a great deal of courage.
Roxanne Quimby will be admired for her generous gift of land to the people of the State of Maine and America, for her determination to face her attackers with respect and grace at every turn, and for the humility she displayed in making her public apology.
This whole trumped up affair is more a reflection on the lack of professionalism by the Bangor Daily News, and the character of anonymous slanderers who comment in the BDN.
Over the past several months following the continuous negative reporting by reporter Nick Sambides about Roxanne Quimby’s vision for a new national park on her own land in the Maine Woods, the Bangor Daily News has consistently allowed comments by hundreds of anonymous cowards that ridicule, attack, demean, and slander Ms. Quimby.
This week, the BDN allowed hundreds and hundreds of vitriolic attacks on Ms Quimby that were in blatant violation of their on-line comment policy to treat others with the same respect they’d want for themselves, to avoid personal attacks and name-calling. I was so outraged that I sent a letter to the editor demanding that all of those comments be removed, that they pay someone to review comments before publication, and that they issue a formal apology to their readers and Ms Quimby.
By allowing this outrage to continue, the BDN has lost all respect and credibility of a professional news organization and have lowered themselves to several steps below grocery store tabloids!
I encourage everyone who reads this blog to email or write letters to the editor expressing outrage at this gross injustice and violation of their own policies.
Anyone who cares for the land and wishes to preserve and protect beautiful places for all time will love this 50 minute movie by Jeff Dobbs, a masterful filmmaker who lives in Bar Harbor.
This is the same region where Roxanne Quimby has purchased land that she wishes to give to the people of America as a national park. Ms Quimby’s 70,000 acres is adjacent to Baxter State Park on the east and west of the Penobscot River.
Roxanne’s interests are the same as other philanthropists who gave such places as the Grand Tetons and Acadia to the National Park Service. Like those before her, Roxanne believes stewardship of this incomparable place means preserving it for future generations and not exploiting it for short term profit.
There are those who believe “there ain’t nothin’ to see up here,” but there are over 300 million people who cherish and visit our national parks each year who would disagree. Baxter State Park’s 70,000 yearly visitors would certainly not agree.
A new national park on Roxanne Quimby’s land would “brand” the area in a way that only a national park designation could and would introduce millions of people to the history, culture, and beauty of the Maine Woods.
Take the time to enjoy this wonderful movie and if you are asked to sign a petition favoring a feasibility study by the Park Service that would lead to the creation of a new national park in the Maine Woods, please do so and help make this vision and gift become a reality.
Breakfast at the Appalachian Trail Cafe in Millinocket, Maine on Wednesday (8/31/11) provided another serendipitous encounter with an extraordinary 89 yr old hiker. My friend Charlie Cirame and I were having breakfast with Brian Kevin, a young freelance writer, when we noticed a half dozen young AT hikers posing for pictures with someone who appeared to be somewhat of a celebrity.
A short time later, Jamie Renoud, the owner of the Cafe suggested that I interview the hiker who was attracting so much attention. I approached this gentlemen somewhat tentatively and asked if he’d do an interview. He replied with a big smile that he’d be glad to.
We sat down at one of the tables and I conducted a long, rambling interview with Cimarron. Rarely do I post a video this long, but it is well worth viewing , and I hope you enjoy meeting Cimarron as much as I did.
Senator Cynthia Dill has become an outspoken supporter of a new national park in the State of Maine. On Thursday, August 18, 2011, she attended a large gathering of the citizens of Millinocket, Maine and the region and told the Secretary that she was in favor of a new park and a feasibility study.
I met Cynthia earlier this year in Cape Elizabeth and asked her why the Maine State Legislature had approved of a “resolution” opposing a national park. Basically, it was rammed through without public input or discussion during the closing moments of the session when legislators where tired, anxious to go home and were not paying much attention. Cynthia was one of only three legislators who opposed the resolution.
Cynthia since has taken on the cause and is sure to revisit this issue in the next session of the legislature.
Anyone who supports the creation of a new national park in the Maine Woods should visit her Facebook Cause page and begin to interact with a growing number of supporters.
I met him on the Golden Road as he was approaching Abol Bridge. My friend, Charlie Cirame, struck up a conversation with a hiker as I was shooting video footage of Mt. Katahdin from Abol Bridge.
When I asked the bearded young hiker his name, he replied “Special Delivery.” The twenty nine year old hiker from New Hampshire had just come out of the Hundred Mile Wilderness heading into Baxter State Park where he would climb Mount Katahdin the following day. He started hiking the Appalachian Trail on April 10 of this year at Springer Mountain, GA.
Only one in four hikers of the thousands who attempt a thru-hike each year complete the 2,180 miles of the Appalachian Trail in one trip. That is a mammoth undertaking that is almost hard to comprehend.
His smile and eyes were warm, friendly, and bright. I asked if he would mind being interviewed for my blog. With a big, happy grin he said, “sure, what do you want to know?”
I hope you enjoy some of what Special Delivery had to say as much as Charlie and I did.He has accomplished something I wish I had been able to do at some point in my life. In sharing his story on my blog, I hope others might be inspired to undertake this epic journey of self-discovery and rediscover an appreciation of the wonder of our natural world.
It seemed appropriate to me that the terminus of the Appalachian Trail would be Maine, the most wild, rugged and uninterrupted wilderness in the eastern United States. There is little doubt that this magnificent region is worth preserving for our children’s children and all who would long to discover what the world must have been like before humans.
Several Millinocket business people gathered for a roundtable interview at the North Light Gallery. All are passionate about creating a stable economy for the town of Millinocket which has been hard hit by the closing of two mills in the region. These wonderful people are doing all they can to survive and to employ people.
In this segment of my People For The Park series, these folks are extolling the virtues of Roxanne Quimby and her vision for a 70,000 acre national park in the Maine Woods that would diversity the economy and save a dying town.
I’m happy to share their comments and hope that those of you who view this short video will join in supporting the cause.