Ten years ago this month, Down East boldly predicted the future. In a special issue titled “Maine in Ten Years,” we dusted off the crystal ball we keep in the editor’s closet and peered forward through the mists of time, trying to scope out the scene in 2013.
So how did we do with our prognostications?
Not bad at all! We calculated the odds of certain noteworthy events taking place in the coming decade, and in almost every case we covered the point spread. Would Maine have a North Woods National Park in ten years? We put the odds at 5 percent. It still hasn’t happened, but entrepreneur and philanthropist Roxanne Quimby did purchase thousands of forested acres north of Millinocket in the hopes of creating such a park. What about an East-West Highway? Only a 1 percent chance of it being built, we said. The odds for the next decade don’t look much better, despite the tireless efforts of its boosters.
We missed the mark with a few predictions. We overestimated the odds of wolves returning to Maine (90 percent) and underestimated the odds of a passenger rail extension north of Portland (50 percent). We thought the chances of casinos coming to Maine were fifty-fifty. In retrospect, we should have realized the house always wins, and put all of our money down on the gambling industry. We did, however, have the uncanny intuition to hire former Maine governor — and now United States Senator Elect — Angus King to write the introduction to “Maine in Ten Years,” almost as if we were forecasting the exact date of his return to politics.
One of the events we didn’t anticipate is that in January 2013 Down East would open a new editorial and advertising office on the Portland waterfront to complement our headquarters on the midcoast. As we reported in November, Greater Portland now accounts for more than half of the state’s gross domestic product (and a third of Maine’s population resides in York and Cumberland counties). We have decided the time is right for our business to expand into southern Maine. Although Down East has been a part of the Portland community for years — through our sponsorships of organizations like the Portland Symphony Orchestra and the Maine Center for Creativity, and through our involvement with the Convention & Visitors Bureau — we look forward to becoming fixtures in the landscape. And our continuing presence in Rockport will serve as a daily reminder that Maine is a big state with a lot happening north, east, and west of our most populous counties.
What will the next ten years bring for Maine? You don’t need a crystal ball to tell you the future will be surprising. As for me, I’m still betting on the wolves.
Photographed by Lori Traikos