Letters, Camden Herald
Protect bears, hounds
I support the efforts by Maine citizens to advance a ballot measure to protect Maine's bears and hounds. Although it has been referred to as the "bear-baiting referendum," this ballot measure also seeks to outlaw trapping our iconic black bears and chasing them down with dogs.
Most people would agree that cruelty to animals is wrong. So how can leaving a frightened bear to suffer in a 2 1/2-inch foot snare for up to 24 hours be thought of as anything but cruel? And how can allowing hunting dogs to chase a terrified bear for miles, possibly separating her from her cubs and leaving them to starve, be thought of as moral? The dogs are sometimes severely injured or killed by a cornered bear. I eavesdropped on a couple of hunters describing how they lost their dogs in the woods and finally had to go home without them, returning days later to find the dogs freezing and starving. Where is the reverence for life? As Mahatma Gandhi said, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
Bear baiting actually increases the bear population through high-calorie supplemental feeding, which helps more cubs survive. The bear population remained fairly stable until bear baiting began in earnest, in the early 1980s, at which point it grew rapidly.
Inhumane hunting methods are not necessary to manage the bear population. When hounding and baiting were outlawed by referendum in Washington, Oregon and Colorado (trapping had already long been banned), the bear population in these states stabilized. If Maine's bear population did need to be decreased, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has stated that increased opportunities for still-hunting or stalking, including lengthening the hunting season and increasing the bag limit, are ways of managing the bear population.
Supporters of the referendum are encouraged to watch the newspapers for information about a hearing to be held in Augusta in the near future. You may respond online at fairbearhunt.com/hearing.
Positive vibes, positive people
I am 22 years old and I live in Camden. I support McLean coming to Camden to help people recover from addiction. I am excited that this will provide year-round employment with benefits for over 20 local people. This kind of work is extremely difficult to find in this two season community. I cannot imagine a better use of this beautiful property. I don’t want to see that land developed. Let’s put positive vibes and positive people in that building.
There are many young people in Camden talking about McLean opening a community recovery house at Fox Hill. No one that I have talked to is against it. In fact, they are all strongly in favor of it. But every time the newspaper comes out there are letters from people who do not want McLean here - even though the zoning issue has been resolved. I have been thinking about these people and their never-ending fight against McLean.
You have your career or your retirement. You want young people to serve food in restaurants or mow your lawns. If we want to make something of ourselves, you expect we will move away and that is okay with you. I went to Camden Hills High School. I have had my struggles in my life and have made positive changes. Do you know what it feels like to read your letters? You do not have anything positive to offer. It’s clear that you don't care that McLean will help people recover, bring jobs into the area, or that they will provide education in the community which will do so much for this town.
Please stop your negative complaining and work to build a future where young people can live and work in Camden, where living clean and sober is encouraged, and where addiction is understood to be a treatable disease. McLean coming here is a step in the right direction.
End of an era
On Sunday, March 16th, an era came to an end. It was the last day of running of the big T-bar at the Snow Bowl.
I rode the “Big T” the day it opened in January 1967, I rode it the last day it operated on Sunday, and every year in between. It was like the passing of a friend. The Big T served the Snow Bowl well for 47 years.
What I call “Phase Three” is underway. The Snow Bowl expansion has started. It wasn’t the first expansion:
“Phase One” was when a group of dedicated volunteers decided to build a lodge and offer skiing and skating at Hosmer Pond (1936). Hundreds of volunteers gave thousands of hours to make this happen. Over the next thirty years again hundreds of volunteers gave thousands of hours to keep the Snow Bowl operating. During this time nearly all the operations, from management to fundraising to trail clearing, ski school, ski patrol, and ticket sales, was done by volunteers.
What I call “Phase Two” was when the Big T was installed (January 1967) and started carrying skiers to the top of the hill. That fall the lodge burned. Again, hundreds of volunteers gave thousands of hours, blood, sweat and tears to keep the Snow Bowl going.
My point is that without Phase One and Phase Two, there would be no Phase Three. For 78 years thousands of volunteers (far too many to list here) gave tens of thousands of hours to bring the Snow Bowl to date. It was because of the efforts, sacrifices, and hard work of many people over many years.
Phase Three has taken a great deal of the same type of dedicated volunteers who have likewise spent thousands of hours to get to this point. It will need that continued dedication to remain an asset to the people of Camden and the surrounding area. May the future be successful and provide as much fun as the past. Long live the Snow Bowl!
Union & Camden
Creating 'a big box inn'
The Camden Harbour Inn has asked the town for a “special exception” from the ordinances set forth to protect our town from exploitation, overcrowding, etc. Their business sits within the “Traditional Village Zone” and is already considered “non-conforming” due to its larger than allowed size within this zone. The allowed commercial use is currently limited to 15 rooms maximum on 3.5 acres or more, and only if it has been in existence prior to 1993. The inn currently sits on less than an acre, and has 20 rooms. They want to increase to 30 rooms.
While the idea of mixed usage within a village is wonderful, there is a reason that the commercial usage is kept to a certain limit. It preserves what we have today, a very special gem of a town on the coast of Maine. Their business exists in a lovely neighborhood of older homes, is permitted only as a nonconforming use, and at least in 1993 was in scale and in character with its surroundings, a large summer home with wraparound porches.
Now the inn would like to expand. Remove most of the single story porch area and replace it with three story monolithic mass. From Bay View Street, this would look like a big box inn. Imagine what is there now, and double it. That is what they are proposing. This quaint Camden village neighborhood has been “discovered” and business-minded individuals want to exploit it. It is up to all the townspeople in Camden to express their concern over our village district. If the inn is allowed an extension of their already nonconforming existence, will other businesses, waterfront properties, etc. attempt the same? Intelligent rational individuals put the zoning laws in place to protect this village, and we owe it to them and to our children and grandchildren to stand up and protect it.