Maine Park: I Am Only One, But I Am One

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.  [Edward Everett Hale]

If you have not visited Roxanne’s Elliotsville Plantation website yet, keepmebeautiful , you owe it to yourself to have a look around as physically and psychologically it is very telling and informative.   Physically it is telling for a number of reasons – first being that due diligence has indeed been accomplished – a lot of the site reads like a NPS feasibility study to me.  The dominos are placed in all of their appropriate positions and just waiting for that first one to be tipped – the first one being local support. Once that domino is tipped, everything falls into place.  And yet, when one looks more than casually into it, there are certainly some leaks in the dam of information.  Almost every  Mainer that I have come in contact with has two preconceived notions – first, that there is nothing remarkable about the area that would cause it to achieve NP status, and second that it’s never going to happen.  To address the latter part of that sentence – she is certainly  trying very hard…to sit back and do nothing is not prudent – as to the former part of that sentence the website has identified flora and fauna that could indeed meet NP criteria the way it is written, especially for someone that has not explored much of Maine, which I think is the key.

I have never heard of, nor can I find any cited references/published works for, the ecologist that purportedly did the study  – Dr. Bart DeWolf.  The only references found are those tied to EPI’s website.

Lets go over a couple of the ‘findings’; first being Northern firmoss…that certainly  sounds exotic and rare doesn’t it?…here’s an image;

Anyone that has ever set foot in the Maine Woods has seen this stuff – it grows everywhere, and it’s conservation status is listed as “secure”.  Finding this is  literally almost the equivalent of buying some property in Maine and cataloging that you discovered a Pine tree on the property.

Their ecological survey also mentions orchids, a name that sounds rare, and yet is certainly findable in Maine, the most prevalent being the (common name) ladyslipper family.  In fact I can’t find any of what they describe in their ecological “survey” on the Maine endangered plant list which is available here, with the exception of two specimens.

A fragrant woodfern is described as being found…to take some liberty I will make the assumption that they actually mean a fragrant cliff woodfern (an assumption I make with some trepidation since I can find no references of the ecologist that purportedly found it), and purple clematis is also described as being found.  The fragrant woodfern falls into S3,G5,SC and the Purple Clematis into S3 G5T5,SC in the chart below from the Maine Natural Areas Program – please note that the SC designation means; Rare in Maine, based on available information, but not sufficiently rare to be considered Threatened or Endangered.  Maine also is on the southern tip of the fragrant cliff woodferns range, very similar to the Canadian Lynx which is “endangered” here in Maine, yet one only has to drive a few hundred miles to cross the Canadian border where the Lynx can be harvested without restriction.

 

Preservation State Rarity Ranks

  • S1 Critically imperiled in Maine because of extreme rarity (five or fewer occurrences or very few remaining individuals or acres) or because some aspect of its biology makes it especially vulnerable to extirpation from the State of Maine.
  • S2 Imperiled in Maine because of rarity (6-20 occurrences or few remaining individuals or acres) or because of other factors making it vulnerable to further decline.
  • S3 Rare in Maine (20-100 occurrences).
  • S4 Apparently secure in Maine.
  • S5 Demonstrably secure in Maine.
  • SH Known historically from the state, not verified in the past 20 years.
  • SX Apparently extirpated from the state, loss of last known occurrence has been documented.
  • SU Under consideration for assigning rarity status; more information needed on threats or distribution.
  • S#? Current occurrence data suggests assigned rank, but lack of survey effort along with amount of potential habitat create uncertainty (e.g. S3?).

Note: State Rarity Ranks are determined by the Maine Natural Areas Program.

Global Rarity Ranks

  • G1 Critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity (five or fewer occurrences or very few remaining individuals or acres) or because some aspect of its biology makes it especially vulnerable to extinction.
  • G2 Globally imperiled because of rarity (6-20 occurrences or few remaining individuals or acres) or because of other factors making it vulnerable to further decline.
  • G3 Globally rare (20-100 occurrences).
  • G4 Apparently secure globally.
  • G5 Demonstrably secure globally.
  • GNR Not yet ranked.

Note: Global Ranks are determined by NatureServe.

State Legal Status

  • E ENDANGERED; Rare and in danger of being lost from the state in the foreseeable future; or federally listed as Endangered.
  • T THREATENED; Rare and, with further decline, could become endangered; or federally listed as Threatened.

Note: State legal status is according to 5 M.R.S.A. 13076-13079, which mandates the Department of Conservation to produce and biennially update the official list of Maine’s Endangered and Threatened plants. The list is derived by a technical advisory committee of botanists who use data in the Maine Natural Areas Program’s database to recommend status changes to the Department of Conservation.

Non-Legal status

  • SC SPECIAL CONCERN; Rare in Maine, based on available information, but not sufficiently rare to be considered Threatened or Endangered.
  • PE Potentially Extirpated; Species has not been documented in Maine in past 20 years or loss of last known occurrence has been documented.

 

Personally, I would like to see the specimens in question to verify that is indeed what they are.

So, physically speaking all of their “findings” sound fantastic as written, but in fact are not unique, as most Mainer’s would attest – however, one needs to keep in mind that the folks reading this are not from Maine, and to them it sounds like the rare plant/unique area jackpot.

Imagine all those “rare” plants surviving years of wood harvesting – proof of the resiliency of nature.

The psychological aspect of their website is even more telling as to mindset.   Edward Everett Hale whom I quoted above,  was a supporter of Irish immigrants and “noted the  inferiority of the immigrants…compels them to go to the bottom; and the consequence is that we are, all of us, the higher lifted.”  Sound familiar in any way? Let me refresh your memory – Roxanne, in a recent movie I watched on Facebook, said the following; “Times are changing and people are not going to access all this land “unfettered” anymore.”  That’s who you and I are as Mainers–people accessing land “unfettered”.  Remember, we are drug addicted, welfare receiving, unedumacaded folks who are compelled to go to the bottom.  Simple common sense however, is something that cannot be taught.

Her property now has unfettered access instead for artists and writers in camps once used for trapping, hunting, and exploring Maine’s rugged wilderness.  A program for which room, board, and travel expenses are paid for by the way.  Which is why I am quoting Edward Everett Hale, as he is listed on the website among those being inspired by the North Maine Woods, along with Thoreau, John Greenleaf Whittier,James Russell Lowell, and Fanny Hard Eckstorm.

Fanny Hardy Eckstorm???  The woman most famous for writing “The Penobscot Man” ? The woman who so eloquently  summed up the rugged individuality of Maine and it’s people in just a few short sentences when she wrote;

The question is sometimes asked why a state like Maine, so sparsely settled, poor, weak in all external aids, can send forth such throngs of masterful men, who, east and west, step to the front to lead, direct, and do. We who were brought up among pine-trees and granite know the secret of their success. It comes not wholly by taking thought: it is in the blood. Here are stories of men, the kind we have yet a-plenty, who die unknown and unnoticed; and every tale is a true one, — not the chance report of strangers, the gleanings of recent acquaintance, the aftermath of hearsay, the enlargements of a fading tradition; but the tales of men who tended me in babyhood, who crooned to me old slumber-songs, who brought me gifts from the woods, who wrought me little keepsakes, or amused my childish hours, — stories which, having gathered them from this one and that one who saw the deed, I have bound into a garland to lay upon their graves. Such tales are numberless; choice becomes invidious unless rigidly limited, and therefore, since the old West Branch Drive is no more, I have chosen solely among its members, and have strung these tales, like beads of remembrance, upon one thread, — of which we who love it never tire, — the River. These are stories told with little art. In the long run, the books that lie closest to the facts have the advantage. It is lovely to be beautiful, but it is essential to be true. The events are actual occurrences; the names, real names; the places any one may see at any time. Yet each story is not merely personal and solitary, but illustrates typically some trait of the whole class. Their virtues are not magnified, their faults are not denied; in black and white, for good or evil, they stand here as they lived.

We who were brought up among pine-trees and granite know the secret of their success –  I say we do indeed!! More powerful words have rarely been written.  Each of these writers were inspired by the ruggedness of the people intertwined with the land – the river drivers, the loggers, the trappers, the hermits – the list is endless.   An idealistic, preservationist artist/writer  in an old hunting camp in a sanctuary would never achieve the same inspiration today without having lived it as all these previous writers have.  How could they once the paved roads, the gates, and the tollbooths arrive with rangers to check on your well being.  Today, over 100 years have passed since Thoreau’s famous canoe journey into the north Maine woods, and yet you can still recreate it today – I’ve paddled most of it and it still looks similar if not the same as when it was paddled by Thoreau – thanks to Maine’s stewardship of the land – no National Park required!!!  As Fanny Hardy says in the above quote  the places any one may see at any time.  These places are still here today, and one is able to recreate the timeless history of our forebears  in the North Maine Woods.

Fanny Hardy was the daughter of Manly Hardy -  fur-buyer, hunter, naturalist, and sometimes writer. If you’ve never read the book Manly Hardy it is well worth the read.  It is a shame that Maine is slowly letting those traditions slip slowly past each year by people who haven’t taken the time to understand our timeless traditions as a state.   When did hunter and naturalist begin to separate anyway?  One cannot be the one without first being the other – they are inextricably tied.

While I fully support the right of the property owner to do as they will, when their will is to create a National Park that affects me and the entire state of Maine, that makes it my business.  You are only one, but you are one.  What will it take for you to stand up for the State of Maine?  You who were brought up amongst the pine trees and the granite -you who have sat around a campfire and heard stories of the Lunksoos -the men whose stories Fanny Hardy bound into a garland for their graves whose spirit still lives on in the freedom of our Maine woods?  You are only one, but you are one – you can do something – do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.  Make your voice heard – ask those that sell their land knowing the agenda if their greed is worth short selling the future of our great State.  Write a letter to Maine’s elected officials.  Sign our petition.  There is a lot you can do as one – if we all do it, together we can stop that first domino from falling, together we can stop the Park.

A Wolf Is At The Door
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