Why are all those arrogant out-of-state do-gooders trying to save Maine from its residents? They have a mess to clean up in their own back yards.

We think of the NIMBY phenomenon when people who want something done that will alter the landscape don’t want it in their own neighborhoods. It’s pro bono publico – something we all want and need – but let someone else look at that recycling facility or waste treatment plant when they get up in the morning, not me.

It would seem anathema, then, if the something everyone wants and needs were to clean up, preserve, and protect a landscape, but if the loudest lovers of the landscape said NIMBY to that.

In June, 2002, I had the pleasure, and I mean that sincerely, of taking the train from Boston to Newport News. The ride was comfortable and every Amtrak employee we encountered was friendly and solicitous. The sad part was the landscape from Boston to D.C. – an open dump all the way within a hundred feet of the tracks. It was a steady view of cultch: discarded furniture, tires, rags, and the nondescript paper and plastic trash that characterizes roadside litter. But this wasn’t mere litter. The imagination struggles to conceive how, through mile after “northeast corridor” metropolitan mile, the embankments look like the old small-town dumps of New England. The very dumps that we eventually closed throughout Maine have been re-created in the environmentalists’ back yards.

Maybe it’s sculpture, given how ignorant I am about what’s called modern art.

I’ve been pissed for a long time already about the Massholes and New Yorkheads who want to rescue northern Maine from the natives for fear we’ll turn our state over to “development.” After innocently taking this trip, I’m ready to insist that the Maine legislature send the next governor a bill: No organization may lobby the legislature about the Maine woods that takes support money from residents of other states. From what I’ve seen firsthand, their time, talent, and treasure is absolutely misspent on saving Maine from itself.

Oh, the railroad right-of-way is off-limits company property? That can’t be stopping anyone from cleaning it up, any more than it has stopped their friends from dumping it; northern Maine is off-limits company property too, and that hasn’t deterred the imperial environmentalists’ foot soldiers from tramping all over the state in order to save it.