[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[at-l] Thoughts after 400 e-mails

"Weary: regardless of the merits you might find in what you just
posted, it is inappropriately out of date," someone writes.

My apologies. I just returned from 10 days in North Carolina closing out my father-in-laws
apartment. As I worked through the 100s of emails, I just couldn't resist. I'm now nearing the end.
Though I must confess I haven't read them all -- or any very completely for that matter.

But as I near the end, I have a couple of impressions that I can't resist posting -- out of date or

Wingfoot is his own worst enemy both in terms of garnering respect for himself and achieving support
for the issues that he believes so fervently in.

Despite a claim to the contrary, I don't kiss his butt.

Despite the almost unanimous opinion to the contrary of folks eating smarshmellows he has done good
things for the trail and continues to have the potential for doing good things. That's why I stick
around and try to encourage him to be more rational.

The best way to catch the attention of a politician is to become active in the political process,
work on local committees, donate money to the party and politicians of your choice, and when an
issue comes up try to talk with the politician directly.

Almost as effective are phone calls and personal letters.

E-mails of the kind that Wingfoot encouraged in which each mailer was forced to use their own
words are not as useful as letters, personal contact and phome calls but are helpful.

E-mails that are followed by personal letters as Wingfoot encouraged are especially useful.

Form e-mails are somewhat less effective, but still marginally useful. As are form post cards.

Any communication is better than no communication.

The anti-government comments reflect the ignorance of those who post them. The trail would not exist
had the government not stepped in and insisted on buying the corridor. We were losing scores of
miles a year as development encroached on the trail, despite the best efforts of the ATC and the
Maintaining clubs. The situation did not improve until the government stepped in in the 60s and

The Maine Appalachian Trail Club thought it could work out deals with the private landowners
and thus keep the federal government out of the trail in Maine. Except for a couple of minor
donations, the club failed.

Two thirds of the trail in Maine remained unprotected when the Maine
club gave up and called for National Park Service help. The two thirds figure would have been much larger
had not a handful of journalists and lawyers fought successfully (against overwhelming odds) for the recovery of
400,000  acres of public land that the
state had preserved when it sold its public domain more than a century earlier and then treated as
private paper company land. When a law suit was settled in the state's favor, the lead lawyer
commented, "to the surprise of everyone in the world, including me, we won."

Private funds have protected from development a million acres of the northern forest in Maine in the
last couple of years. Those
funds are drying up. Without an infusion of help from the federal government the greatest
opportunity to protect the largest unbroken expanse of forest in the east will be lost in the next
few years. Comments blaming environmentalists are simply meaningless babble from those who let their
hatred interfere with common sense.

I urge everyone to open the AMC site and respond with personal letters, phone calls and emails. The
AMC is urging emails on www.outdoors.org . The AMC effort is pretty good, but no
where's near as sophisticated as the Trailplace effort.

My apologies in advance to all those who think this rehashes dead issues, or issues that they don't
want to hear about.

But, believe it or not, land preservation efforts are at a crisis point. I know that the odds of anything useful
happening in the next few years is pretty small. Even Wingfoot has foolishly abandoned the effort.
But we won the Maine public land recovery fight against even greater odds.

The stakes are too important to just give up, so I continue my feeble efforts.