It seems that when the land in Northern Maine changed hands, so did the respect for the wildlife and environment. The diverse native forests and wildlife habitat are being replaced with farms of softwood trees.

The Allagash Wilderness Waterway and the North Maine woods are generally thought of as pristine wilderness and a sportsman’s paradise, teeming with native trout and wildlife of all kinds. Is that really true, or is it how it used to be?

Timber companies have cut winter deer habitat in many areas and replaced the summer range of wildlife with planted spruce trees, which no animal will consume. Thousands of acres have been sprayed with herbicides, killing all green leaf and woody vegetation that all wildlife depend on as a food source. Although legal, this practice is used widespread, including within a stone’s throw of tributaries of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.

As a hunter, fisherman, registered Maine Guide and logger, I have been there and seen, first-hand, the results. A veteran, commenting about a place near Jones Pond and Beau Lake, said that it looked like Vietnam in ’69, where another “safe chemical” was used.

Where are the studies of any adverse affects on wildlife and humans that come in direct or indirect contact with those chemicals? Where are the environmentalists, the animal rights people, the state and federal departments who protect the wildlife and the environment?

The sportsmen will not come to see spruce plantations when that is all there is left.

Hilton Hafford, Allagash