28 March 2013: Fergusson Response to recent Lincoln County News Article

I don’t have a lot to say about Frederick Duncan and his position on the Clary lake water level but I did want to respond to the article, before I move on. I like Butch and I respect his right to his opinion. As long as I’ve known him he’s been an advocate for lower water levels because of the impact that high water levels have on his use and enjoyment of his land. I understand. The 250′ shoreland zone infringes on his wood lot and limits what he can cut. Also, with parts of his property being in a resource protection district and adjoining mapped emergent wetlands and significant water fowl and wading bird habitat, he is further limited in what he can do with his property. I understand that too, and I acknowledge the fundamental unfairness of it while at the same time I welcome the protections afforded by these laws- laws intended to protect and safeguard valuable natural resources held in trust for all the people of the State of Maine.
Perhaps it is just too bad for him that he owns some of the most beautiful, sensitive, and vulnerable wildlife and wetland habitat on Clary Lake. As a fellow Clary lake shore owner with quite a bit of shore front property of my own, I am sympathetic to his plight: all of us who own land on or directly adjoining Clary lake have found that over the years our property rights have been increasingly limited by newer and more restrictive environmental and shoreland zoning regulations. We can’t cut the trees we might like to cut, we can’t build on our property where we’d necessarily like to build. But these regulations are intended to safeguard Clary lake and it’s associated wetland and wildlife habitat, and I have come to terms with their impact on my property rights. I am but a steward of my property which I hold in trust for future generations. I think the sooner Butch comes to terms with the reality of the situation and stops fighting a losing battle, the better off he’s going to be, because the Clary lake dam isn’t going away and the State isn’t going to let him drain wading bird habitat so he can plow up Clark’s Meadow.

1 thought on “28 March 2013: Fergusson Response to recent Lincoln County News Article

  1. George Fergusson Post author

    The following comments were posted on the Association’s Facebook page- I think they’re right on:

    “I think that if Mr. Duncan and similarly inconvenienced landowners were compensated appropriately for their (involuntary) stewardship, that pill would be a lot easier to swallow. Does it benefit the greater society to maintain and preserve wetlands, even though it means the individual landowner can no longer use the land they own as they wish? Yes. Is it a pain in the ass to that landowner? Yes. Should that landowner be somehow compensated? Yes. Will that compensation, properly administered, make it a badge of honor for a landowner to steward lands that benefit the common good with no direct economic benefit to the direct owner? Hopefully.

    This is not actually a difficult problem to solve, philosophically — tax abatement or rebate, some sort of land trust dividend to owners of land held to be sacrosanct, some form of direct or indirect compensation… the only issue is the source of funds and the will to disburse them.”

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