When I read the first of the two recent articles about Millinocket from Maine Sunday Telegram, it brought back sad memories. I, too, labored at Great Northern Paper Co.’s Millinocket mill to earn tuition and expenses for college. For seven summer seasons, I was employed by Great Northern doing work as varied as poling wood and feeding grinders on the graveyard shift, stenciling the sides of gleaming white rolls fresh off the paper machines, blowing down the paper room floor with an air hose, and many other challenging and sweaty tasks. But I was young with a strong back, and was lucky to get the summer work to help defray the costs of my schooling. In hindsight, learning the value of such hard work was a character-building enterprise for me.

The second article in the Press Herald gave me a renewed sense of hope for my hometown of Millinocket and, more broadly, for the Katahdin region. The prospect of this region realizing its potential as a recreational mecca, especially in light of the severe decline of the forest products industry, will be nothing short of redemption for a place so close to my heart. If you’ll forgive a mixed metaphor, this part of Maine has put all of its eggs in the wood basket for far too long. Area developments, such as lakeside second homes, and yes, a Katahdin Woods and Waters National Park, will help bind up the wounds of our hemorrhaging local economy. What our area most needs is a healthy, diversified business atmosphere, consisting of recreation and wood products jobs, that will bring back the creative and hardworking folks we have lost over the years.

Paul Corrigan


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