It seems that when the land in northern Maine changed hands, so did the respect for the wildlife and environment. The diverse native forests and wildlife habitat are being replaced with farms of softwood trees (not a forest).

We have proclaimed the Allagash Wilderness Waterway and the North Woods as a pristine wilderness and sportsman’s paradise, teeming with native trout and wildlife of all kinds. Is that really true, or is it how it used to be?

The timber companies have cut all winter deer habitat and replaced summer range of all wildlife with planted spruce trees, which no animal will consume. They have sprayed tens of thousands of acres with herbicides, killing all green leaf and woody vegetation that all wildlife depend on as a food source. This practice is used widespread, including within a stone’s throw of tributaries of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.

Where are the studies of any adverse effect on wildlife and humans who came in direct or indirect contact with these chemicals, other than the obvious loss of habitat? To understand the destruction, a veteran said about a place near Jones Pond and Beau Lake that it looks like Vietnam in 1969: “a place where another ‘safe chemical,’ Agent Orange, was used.”

The question is: Where are the environmentalists, the animal rights people, the state and federal departments that protect the wildlife and the environment? The sportsmen will not come to see spruce plantations when that is all there is left.

Hilton Hafford


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