In Defense of Moving Water
By Jonathan Milne
The old man along the shore watched me closely as I began paddling out to a set of small rapids with my flyrod. “You should have seen it years ago when the fishing was better. I bet you don’t catch much more than one sucker today”. I couldn’t resist the urge to back-paddle and learn more. He had been around the rivers for nearly 40 years and had seen the river evolve from conveyor for old growth logs to conveyor for dioxin/tannin rich waters. I couldn’t help but ask him if he thought the river was in better or worse condition. In classic Maine vernacular his reply was simple, concise and telling. “It sucks! It’s all about how much money someone gets out of the deal”. He gave me a few pointers on paddling my wood canvas canoe and said he had to get going.
I think Aldo Leopold put it best when he said, “We console ourselves with the comfortable fallacy that a single museum piece will do, ignoring the clear dictum of
history that a species must be saved in many places if it is to be saved at all”
I’ve read this over and over again and I am beginning to wonder how many times I have to quote old, wizened men to get the message out there. Where are the young defenders of moving water? We may paddle different rivers, but it is our collective voice that will rule the day when the governor, or LURC, or any number of state agencies argues that we need to lower the quality of our rivers to protect jobs and stimulate economic growth.
Moving water is precious and vital and worth every ounce of effort to protect. Too this end, we as paddlers, fishermen and women, registered Maine guides, students, and business owners, need to become a strong voice for river and stream protection throughout our state. As I write this, one of the last remaining wilderness streams, The Wassataquoik, is under siege by liquidation harvesters with a potential plan to bridge the stream to access more remote territory right up to the eastern border of Baxter Park. As my friend, Andrew was fond of saying, “Where’s the Outrage”
Paddle with gusto, smile loudly, but make your voice known for the defense of moving water in this great state. Be it the Androscoggin, the Machias, the Dead, or the Wassataquoik. Help MaineRivers.org, join Americanrivers.org, or just join together to keep pressure on those who wish to further despoil these natural gifts for the sake of growth. In a voice of another old man, Aristotle, “Boundaries don't protect rivers, people do”.
Email nick [at] noumbrella [dot] com with your questions, comments and concerns.
Design and Content © 2002 to 2006 No Umbrella