I am a Portland resident who made the mistake of canoeing the Saco river from Canal Bridge to Walker Bridge on Monday, July 30. What I saw was disgusting beyond belief.

While I am an ardent supporter of local businesses and frequently enjoy all of the beauties that Maine has to offer, I will not be canoeing on the Saco again, and further, I will be actively discouraging others from doing so because of the sorry state that I saw the banks of this river in. I saw mountains of garbage on every single sand bar along the river.

It was shocking. I simply find it unconscionable that any one person would leave any garbage behind, let alone campsite after campsite after campsite.

It was an embarrassment to the state of Maine and I am convinced that there are many to blame.

First and foremost, the unbelievably selfish jerks who feel so entitled that they can’t even be bothered to clean up after themselves. Shame on you.

But I equally blame the canoe rental companies for not doing their part to prevent this abuse from occurring, as well as local law enforcement and town councils for creating an environment where this kind of selfish abuse is not punished and is ignored.

Finally, where are the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Is it not their charge to deal with this?

It is clear that steep penalties are needed with clear policies and stringent enforcement to prevent and discourage this sort of behavior. Without this, the state of Maine will no longer be Vacationland, but rather Garbageland. Step up and do something about it!

Scott Tombleson

Portland

Legacy discussion should include Bates art museum

I commend reporter Bob Keyes and the Maine Sunday Telegram for the fine and thoughtful articles on the legacies of Maine artists.

As director of the Bates College Museum of Art, I’d like to bring the MoA into the conversation.

As someone with years of curatorial and directorial experience elsewhere in the U.S., I recognize Maine’s arts community as something unique to this beautiful, rugged, independent-minded and culturally wealthy state.

The Bates museum is important to this cultural fabric. We are known for presenting adventuresome scholarly exhibitions bringing a world of ideas to Maine; for significant collections representing Maine, national and international art; and for integrating our resources into the curriculums of Bates and public schools in the region.

The Marsden Hartley Memorial Collection comprises art and documentary materials related to a Lewiston native who became a pioneering American modernist. Still expanding, it includes drawings, paintings, art equipment, letters, photographs and other ephemera.

Many other broadly significant artists with Maine ties are represented in the collection. Works on paper, contemporary Chinese photography and growing holdings of art from other cultures are among the collection’s strengths.

We often offer Maine premieres of work by important artists and lead the way in exhibiting contemporary Chinese art in northern New England.

As Keyes states, most Maine museums lack the resources to purchase large collections and major works of art. However, what the Bates College Museum of Art and our sister museums do offer is a home for art that provides stewardship and access, ensuring that the works of artists important to Maine continue to be woven into the cultural fabric of this great state.

Dan Mills

Lewiston

Say no to BPA in containers by buying organic products

I read two letters in the Portland Press Herald on Monday, Aug. 6, under the title, “Enact safeguards against chemicals.”  

The letters expressed concern over the use of the chemical BPA (bisphenol A) in cans of food adults and children eat, and also in the lids of glass jarred foods.  

I can understand why some parents want BPA removed so as to better safeguard the health of their children and themselves.  

One way to circumvent ingesting the BPA is to not use cans or jars.  

Parents could buy organic fruits, vegetables or meat and prepare their own baby food. They could freeze this baby food in small Pyrex dishes or in ice cube trays.  

By buying organic, they would be saying no to pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, etc.  

And they would be honoring and continuing the work of Rachel Carson, who championed against toxic chemicals.  

Linda Gerard Der Simonian

Waterville

Revitalize, don’t sell, Congress Square Park

The citizens of Portland are on the brink of losing Congress Square Park forever.

The investment firm Rockbridge Capital wants to build an extension to the Eastland hotel on this public space, strategically located on the corner of Congress and High.

Many local people, including nearby property owners such as myself, do not want the city to sell the park. Rather, we believe the park needs to be revitalized. Events such as last Friday evening’s concert shows that it is possible.

The task force studying the hotel proposal voted Aug. 1 to block the hotel plans in favor of keeping and improving the park as a public space after hearing the pleas of public citizens.

Please help save our park from business developers.

Joan Grant

Portland

Joe Discatio deserved to be subject of feature obituary

I opened the obituary section on Sunday and was truly surprised that Joe Discatio was not the feature.

With all due respect to Mr. McCracken of “Michigan” and his family, Joe certainly deserved the headline.

Joe was an “icon” with devotion to his family, his city, and his church.

He epitomized what hard work and sacrifice meant.

Not only that, he probably sold more of your newspapers in his lifetime than any 10 stores combined.

The Discatio family will always have a special place in my family’s heart. Let the party begin in heaven.

Pat Olore

godson, Gorham