To the Editor:
While looking in the Mount Desert Islander (Feb. 25, 2016) for my letter to the editor, I happened upon the guest column from supporters of a National Park in Northern Maine. And there it was, the question: What does it mean to live near a national park? The door was wide open – Hang on!
The answers: pain and suffering, oppression, intimidation, control, loss of freedom, speeding cars, rude tourists, loss of peace and quiet, loss of independence and self sustainability.
A national park spells the end of all hunting, trapping, fishing or even gathering any fire wood for heat or cooking. Just this weekend, I was charged and summonsed to Federal court in Bangor for cutting up a blow-down tree four feet from the road right in the middle of the village even though it had been laying there for more than a year. Even though the two young rangers were very cordial, I still had to unload the wood and leave it there and was charged with a crime.
My family helped settle Otter Creek. My great-great grandfather Julius John Smith fished for a living in Otter Creek Harbor and fought against slavery in the Civil War.
We also fought in WWI, WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, yet we are not allowed to carry a weapon to defend ourselves against all types of crazies coming from all over the country that accept an invitation to visit Acadia.
We no longer have any gravel pits or stone quarries, and were told we can’t use our old roads or paths because they’re not recognized.
We have to deal with and try to educate over and over every new park official that shows up. So far, I’ve been bullied by just about every superintendent from Ron Wrye who removed our little wooden pier at the town landing up at the head of the creek, to Keith Miller informing me that “eventually we plan on phasing out you people completely.” More recently, Sheridan Steel’s crew used chainsaws to destroy the Boat Slip Wharf at the fisherman’s landing in the outer harbor that dated back to the 1880s.
We’ve been passive-aggressive for more than 100 years seeking cooperation rather than confrontation. Our little reservation for locals is now nothing but a throughway, a toilet and a campground for complete strangers.
I could go on and on, but you must get the gist by now.
We want the park out. We want to reclaim our village and our namesake Otter Creek Harbor. The park can clean up their mess and move up to the mountains so we can get back to our heritage and inalienable rights in Otter Creek.