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Kent Ryden, Associate Professor of American and New England Studies at the University of Southern Maine, considers the arguments put forward in the three essays by Judd, Beach, and Sebold published in this issue of Maine History. He points out that each essay explores the complicated relationship between Maine's physical landscape and the interpretations that are brought to bear on that landscape. Each case study— The Allagash, The Oil Tanker Port Controversy, and Maine's Salt Marshes— illuminate for Ryden the essential confusion caused by the distinction that we draw between “nature and “culture.” Conflicts over the natural environment, he finds, are less about a physical presence than about the contested ideals that presence comes to symbolize. Professor Ryden is the author of Mapping the Invisible Landscape: Folklore, Writing, and the Sense of Place, Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1993.