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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Very aerie

The story making the rounds of almost every Maine media site last week concerns the eagle's nest that wasn't and the bypass that hasn't been. It is a nest, all right, and built by an eagle (probably), but there is no eagle in residence. It is a bypass, all right, but only in planning for the last 50 years, with many iterations and routes over the years. The place? Wiscasset, of course, named the prettiest village in Maine only because so many people have been stuck there in Route 1 traffic for so many hours that only dreamland will take them away.

The crux of the story is federal law that prohibits development within 660 feet of a bald eagle's nest. All this year a new bypass route has been discussed, until suddenly someone from the DOT discovered this nest, which must have been recently built for surely the Army Corps of Engineers or the state or somebody would have seen it in mapping out the new crossing of the Sheepscot. Whoops, there goes the plan. Bald eagles rule, on money and in hearts, and the new route must be shelved.

Am I the only one to see eerie conspiracy theories? Here's what's really going on.

1. Someone from Red's Eats, the famous lobster shack right downtown on Route 1 that most people blame for the miles-long back-ups, whose waiting lines regularly back up with 50 people who should not be wearing the shorts they do, built the nest.
2. A flock of crows built the nest, in order to be near the carrion on Route 1.
3. The Sierra Club built the nest - which itself is within 600 feet of Route 1, by the way - hoping to force the state to interpret the law retrospectively and tear up the highway. Cars would be taken across the river using mules, ferries made from recycled Moxie cans, and hemp ropes.
4. The Tea Party built the nest, intending to root out the oppressive hand of government in the ordinary lives of the American People, and, of course, to maintain gridlock.
5. Maine Eastern Railroad built the nest, in anticipation of the new train service from Brunswick to Rockland.
6. An eagle did indeed build the nest, but as a spare (apparently, they do that). "I'm an eagle, I'm a bald eagle, I'm an American bald eagle, I can do what I want."

Whoever built the nest, he or she or they or it, thanks. Much as I hate that traffic, why in the world spend $100 million on new roads and bridges, taking property and destroying wetlands? Let's make a pact, all you disparate interests. Let's just keep building nests until telekinesis solves the problem.

1 comment:

Jeff Boatright said...

And Red's really isn't that good. It's famous in a sort of Clive-James-Fame-in-the-20th-Century sort of way. Everybody goes there because, well, everybody goes there.

Any number of lobster shack restaurants along mid-coast Maine are better than Red's. Granted, they aren't sitting right on Highway 1, but then I've often scratched my head at the idea that one would WANT to eat right on Highway 1. I mean literally, right on Hwy 1.

Wouldn't one's "Maine experience" be so much better by getting off Hwy 1? And with modern GPS technology in all of our cars and phones, it should be very easy to find even the tiniest lobster shack tucked away at the end of the sliveriest of slivers of water. For my money, Miller's is the place. But, there are many others.

Now THAT would be a cool online essay series: "Lobster shacks I have known and loved."