Article on the Saturday evening public meeting of The Nature Conservancy from the Magic City Morning Star
Nature Conservancy Meets Amid Protests
By Ken Anderson
Sep 13, 2003, 13:11MILLINOCKET -- Members of The Nature Conservancy arriving at the River Drivers Restaurant for their annual meeting this morning were met by a group of from 20-30 protesters holding picket signs.The protest was amiable, with some TNC members stopping to converse with the picketers on the way in.While TNC supporters argue that the organization is not in favor of a new national park in the North Woods, others disagree."With The Nature Conservancy, there's no middle ground," said David Cyr. "When they come, they take, and once they've taken it people can't live there anymore. There's no work."Asked what they hoped to accomplish today, one woman said that she wanted to let The Nature Conservancy and those who support them know that people know what they are up to."What they hate most is the light of day, because the light shows what they are doing," she said, adding that The Nature Conservancy is used to working secretly, pretending to be something that they are not.TNC members and supporters believe that there is confusion between their organization and RESTORE: The Maine Woods, a Massachusetts environmental organization seeking to create a 3.2 million-acre Maine Woods National Park."The Nature Conservancy had every opportunity to foreclose on the Katahdin Forest Project land during the GNP bankruptcy and they didn't," said Matt Polstein, the owner of the River Drivers Restaurant and NEOC compound."These people came to this area to answer questions and to talk about what they are doing," he said, adding that he thought we should give them a chance.Polstein said that the environmental movement has changed. While in the past, there were no concerns shown for the local economy, The Nature Conservancy has shown a willingness to work with the needs of the community rather than against it.The people holding picket signs disagree."They are both working toward the same end," said Cyr, although it may be that they don't talk."The Nature Conservancy is a hoax," said a woman whose name I didn't get. "They pretend to be against creating a park yet when everything is said and done, properties that they have acquired will go toward a national park that excludes those of us who live and work here.""I defy them (TNC) to show me one community that they have improved," said Cyr. "When they come to a community of 10,000 people, only 5,000 can live and work there when they leave.""It's bigger than The Nature Conservancy," said a Millinocket resident, who insisted that MAGIC, EMDC, and the Vision Conference were all working toward the same goal, and against the people who live here.Don McNeil, the president of the Millinocket Area Growth and Investment Corporation (MAGIC), was elected to the board of The Nature Conservancy today.MAGIC sponsored a series of community meetings in which Eastern Maine Development Council (EMDC) took part, and which have led to the selection of a group of 86 individuals to represent the towns of Millinocket, East Millinocket, Medway, and Woodville in a Katahdin Area Planning Conference, sometimes known as the Vision Conference, in which goals will be set, along with a plan for implementation.Yesterday, the Vision Conference decided to create a vision for the year 2050, and to focus on being "responsible stewards" of the environment, including the natural assets within and surrounding the Katahdin region.Mary Adams was upset over the naming of James Dowe, the CEO of Bangor Savings Bank, to the board of TNC, and in particular, about contributions that were made to the environmental organization by the bank."This is supposed to be a member owned bank," she said. "Yet they are donating money to an organization that is putting their own members out of work."The group broke up at about eleven o'clock, promising to be on hand at the Sno-Rovers Club in East Millinocket at 6:15 p.m. to picket the environmental organization's public meeting which is scheduled to be held there.From the Magic City Morning Star, where you can also find pictures.[ 09-13-2003: Message edited by: Ken Anderson ]
I have e-mailed my displeasure with Bangor Savings Bank to them. As a well satisfied customer of theirs it's not going to be easy to terminate that relationship, but I don't knowingly spend my money at places trying to put me out of business.