Like other Mainers, I was dismayed to see our governor continue his crusade against the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. I had hoped the governor would follow the lead of Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins by working to amplify the early successes of this monument – which is already bearing fruit.
What offended me most in our governor’s letter to President Trump was his choice to quote President Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech.
The irony of quoting America’s most impactful conservationist in urging Trump to use Roosevelt’s signature law, the Antiquities Act, to justify undoing this generous gift is beyond the pale. The overarching message of Roosevelt’s speech that he quotes is that material and individual success means nothing if it is not in service of higher ideals – an ideal that the Quimby family’s gift embodies.
It was Roosevelt’s visits to Katahdin region as a young man that toughened him and inspired his rugged individualism and love of the outdoors. I believe he would have wholeheartedly supported this monument.
After all, it was he who said, “Conservation means development as much as it does protection. … Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us.”