Are you looking for good places to snowshoe in the Bethel area? Many local snowmobile trails are open to snowshoers, but be sure to "snowshoe defensively." Watch for snowmobiles and move out of their way. Also watch for animals and birds on the trails.
On Sunday, I snowshoed two of the trails in Maggie’s Nature Park. The park is located on the Greenwood Road in Greenwood across from South Pond. I snowshoed up the Ring Hill trail which takes about an hour round trip. There are beautiful views of South Pond, and from the rocks at the top of the trail you can watch skiers coming down the Mt. Abram trails. There are a few steep sections and you need to watch children or dogs near the upper part of the trail. Near the trailhead is a short loop called Maggie’s Trail, which has some beautiful "ice formations" on the cliffs facing the trail. The parking lot is plowed and sanded and a large map explains the trail system. The park is dog-friendly, but when I was there, someone had posted a sign saying, "Please keep trails clean. Remove your "Dog doo.' It sticks to snowshoes and boots. Yuck. Thanks." The sign seems to have worked. The trails were pristine.
A Public Supper (no charge) is being held on Wednesday, Feb. 23, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bethel Alliance Church. The church is across from Telstar at 251 Walkers Mills Road.
World Day of Prayer will be celebrated at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church on Friday, March 4, at 11 a.m. The snow date is Friday, March 11. It is an ecumenical service and everyone is welcome. A luncheon will follow the service. The first World Day of Prayer was in Canada on Jan. 9, 1920. Today, hundreds of thousands of people around the world collectively participate in this event. Each year a different country writes the worship service. This year the theme is "How Many Loaves Have You," written by the women of Chile.
I have tried to stay away from politics and controversial issues in this column. Until now. Rep. Sheryl Briggs (D-Mexico) has introduced a bill that will allow towns and cities to dump plowed snow wherever they want –- including into lakes, rivers, inlets, and bays –- without permission from the Department of Environmental Protection. This means anything the towns plow up can be dumped anywhere. This could include anything from snow and ice to chemicals, dead animals, automobile parts, cans, bottles, or batteries. Do you get the picture?
How many of you are old enough to remember when pollutants were pumped directly from the paper mills into the Androscoggin River? If you are my age and grew up in Bethel, it’s probably a vivid memory. The pollution of the Androscoggin started in Berlin, N.H., just a few miles from the river’s source. By the time the river got to Bethel, the stench was sometimes so bad that we could smell the river from a mile away. As a child, I remember watching brownish-yellow piles of foam floating down the river.
Obviously Briggs does not recall those days. Is Briggs aware of how hard Mainers have fought to clean up our waterways? Briggs says she is sponsoring the legislation in order to review the regulations. "I’m not saying it’s a good idea, but I am saying the discussion should come forward," Briggs says. Is Briggs naïve? Her actions play right into the hands of those who want to abolish protective legislation under the guise of luring more businesses to Maine. A hundred years ago, Eugene V. Debs said that "It’s better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don’t want and get it." Briggs needs to take a lesson from him.
As for us, we need to watch this bill. Overturning any protective legislation is a giant step backward.
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