During my career of 40-plus years in Maine, I have come to love its forested landscape. I have had the privilege to serve as director of the Maine Forest Service, run my own environmental consulting firm, and now serve as a senior adviser to the New England Forestry Foundation, but I have prepared this letter simply as a father.

I spent last week with my son and son-in-law camped on a small island on an undeveloped pond in the North Maine Woods. The campsite was accessible only by canoe; hence, we had the beauty and opportunity to observe the natural world entirely to ourselves. No matter how many times I visit the Maine woods, I am always struck by their beauty, diversity, tranquility and extent.

I will certainly remember this trip the rest of my life – my son summed it up by saying “this was like going to Alaska” (he has been there and throughout most of the western U.S. and Canada). We are all truly fortunate to have the North Maine Woods available to us.

I encourage all Maine’s residents to discover the many extraordinary values of the Maine woods and support:

n The North Maine Woods’ organization and the landowners who make it up in their efforts to provide quality recreational opportunities.

n Sustainable forest management (including harvesting) which by definition provides environmental, social and economic value and is responsible for many of the exceptional values of the Maine woods (e.g., certain wildlife populations).

n Maine’s forest products industry which provides the markets that have made it possible to maintain the north woods as a large, intact forest ecosystem with road access – buy local forest products whenever possible;

n Efforts to keep forests as forests and maintain the extraordinary values of the North Maine Woods.

Let’s all do our part.

R. Alec Giffen