Thursday, November 19, 2009

Just because ….

I always seek out things of beauty to photograph. At times it could be an expansive landscape or something as small as the colored swirls on the outside of a periwinkle shell. But at times photography must be used to photograph the uglier side of life. The photographer attempts to send a message with a visual representation of what they are viewing and feeling. Unfortunately, these photos mostly record the uglier side of humankind. One does not have to seek too hard to see photos of the Holocaust, the events of 9/11 and many more. The photos on today’s commentary are not that profound but yet I hope to send a message with them.

Maine is a state that prides itself with the natural beauty they have been blessed with. They try hard to safeguard and develop it not only for state residents but for the tourism trade as well. Some of the work is being done with public funds while others are being funded privately. Those groups using private funds are dependent upon donations and membership fees to help supply the funds required to continue their work of preservation, development as well as education. One such organization I am familiar with is Island Heritage Trust ( that has worked on preservation projects on Deer Isle in Maine. I have enjoyed walking the spaces they have preserved and attempt to safeguard for future generations. They also attempt to educate visitors about how previous generations have lived, worked and supported their families on the rugged yet beautiful Maine coast.

One of the Island Heritage Trust properties I visit from time to time throughout the year is the Old Settlement Quarry. Deer Isle was famous for its pink grain granite in those days it was a highly sought construction material. It slowly was replaced by concrete and the quarry business had lost its economic value. New England is full of deserted quarries as a sign of how economic times can change and along with it the landscape of a community as well. Such it was for the Deer Isle communities too.

The Island Heritage Trust had acquired the Old Settlement Quarry and had added improvements to accommodate visitors to that particular site there is a rustic shelter that visitors pass through as they walk from the parking lot to the trail that leads to the top of the quarry. It contained signage describing the property and the trails that can be walked along with some educational information about the operation of the quarry and how it was formed.

On my last visit I was dismayed on why someone would want to vandalize that particular shelter. From the photos you can see the deliberate attempt to obscure the signage to the point it was totally unusable. This goes beyond the usual “Kilroy was here” type of vandalism where for some reason some find it necessary to spray paint their names on properties that they do not own. I am of the school of thought that believes when you visit such places you should leave no trace behind. That idea includes removing anything and everything you had brought with you on your visit.

My thought on this particular act of vandalism is that someone was attempting to send a message as an affront to those that are working to save and preserve lands and provide public access for all to enjoy. These organizations do not have “deep pockets” and every cent is needed and spent wisely to carry on the work they do. Much is accomplished with free labor provided by volunteers. I just hope some day in the future the perpetrators of this act of vandalism will feel some remorse and offer both monetary compensation as well as offer to help by volunteering on some of the projects that the group works on throughout the year.

1 comment:

  1. I have visited this beautiful historic site in Maine. I also am appalled at the defacement of the property. People do this sort of thing because they have no respect for others, or for the work of others, and the reason they have none for others is because they have none for themselves. These are the same type of people who attempt to feel good about themselves by belittling and humiliating others. They are angry, self-absorbed people, who are so bereft of character that they get gratification only from destroying what others create because they are incapable of creating anything themselves, or are unwilling to put any real effort into doing so.

    It is unfortunate that the organizations that support such sites are out of pocket because of vandalism. It is difficult enough to cover such costs, even when times are good. In bad economic times, it is that much more onerous.