Maines Timeless Tradition of Public Access to Private Lands Is An Idea Unparalleled In This Nation

Updated by @noparkforme

Recent Updates

Quimby Park – Money Power and Opinion

I was reading through the comment section on a recent news story about Quimby and someone posted a link to the story about  Greenwood Pond from a couple of years ago.  I remember reading this article before, but I read it again and I came across something that struck me.  Briefly, camp owners surrounding the pond sought out Quimby to purchase the property when they learned that a paper company was going to sell land surrounding them.  Quimby bought it and then urged the owners to put their property into a conservation easement and she would do the same with hers.   The camp owners by and large complied with her request, but she suddenly changed her mind and announced she was planning a subdivision much to the chagrin of the surrounding camp owners as that is what they had sought to avoid.   What struck me that apparently I did not pick up on before was why.  Quimby, whose practice is to allow the land to be stripped before she buys it, kicks out current camp owners and burns those camps to the ground believes that “it’s better to cluster these camps in one location rather then spread them around the north woods.  Folks that statement should really scare you.  That’s not a vision, that’s an agenda.  That’s not a legacy, that’s a megalomaniac who because she has money thinks that she can pursue her agenda and to hell with everybody that gets in her way.  How is that possible?  Why are we allowing it to happen?   My personal belief is that if you live here in Maine you should have the skills to fend for yourself – you should be able to shoot,dress, and butcher a deer,moose, or any other creature in the Maine woods that can keep you alive, and the same with fishing.  And yet should I come into a large sum of money I’m not going to buy up northern Maine and kick out everyone that doesn’t agree with me.   I have sense enough to realize that everyone doesn’t share my beliefs..why on earth doesn’t Roxanne?

 

 

Penobscot County Commissioners Oppose Quimby Park

The Penobscot County Commissioners voted 2-1 today to oppose Quimby’s proposed park, over objections from Peter Baldacci.  What is most interesting  about the article is; the commission agreed to form a committee with local officials that under federal law would act as voice equal to the National Park Service and any other federal agency that might come into the area to advocate for a federal park.


North Woods National Park and Colorado

From a PMT member;
I believe the best teacher life will ever offer is experience. If you are willing to learn from it, the experience of others can save you a lot of grief.

A devastating wildfire has burned at least 18,500 acres of timber and brush in Colorado, much of it in the Pike National Forest. While 36,000 people were being evacuated from their homes, 346 of those homes burned to the ground. An elderly couple lost not only their home and belongings, but their lives.
Reports are now indicating the fire started near a popular hiking trail.
For the past 15 years, residents living in El Paso and Teller counties, where the fire burned, have fought environmentalists in order to do controlled clearing and forestry maintenance in hopes of avoiding a fire such as this. Their repeated requests to maintain the forest- were repeatedly denied by the EPA and blocked by litigation initiated by the environmentalists.
When environmentalists prevent proper forest management from happening, they put the entire forest, the animals that live within it, as well as people and homes in the area at high risk of loss due to wildfires.
Dead trees and undergrowth left untended in the forest are like an accident waiting to happen. In their zeal to “protect” the forest, the environmentalists are enabling disasters like the one that occurred in Waldo Canyon. Clearing out the dead trees and undergrowth, will not only lessen the danger of fire, but will promote healthy tree growth and healthy forests.
Radical efforts by environmentalists to stop logging and timber sales in or around national forests has caused the lack of proper and competent maintenance to be allowed in these areas. This, in turn, has led to damage and infestation by bark beetles and drought, leaving the forest vulnerable to wildfire.
Trees that are not thinned eventually become fuel for fires that can occur from natural causes such as lightening or as a result of human negligence. The lack of proper maintenance also causes trees to lose their health and become susceptible to insect attack. Last year, the U.S. Forest Service reported the lack of ability to properly maintain the forests was putting forests in danger of wildfire or insect infestation. Sadly, for Colorado, this proved to be true.
Those who have homes to return to in Waldo Canyon must now live with the possibility of flash floods and mud slides should heavy rains occur in areas where fire has consumed all the natural vegetation. Another evacuation with more loss looms over them even as they try to rebuild and recover. Looting has been reported in the area, so what the fire has not taken, may still be lost to thieves.
Some have already lost all they own and must start over, having lost many treasured possessions which can never be replaced.
For towns located near a national forest or park, the nearest local fire departments are involved only as an assist to the Forest Service when a fire starts on federal lands. In most areas, this means that firefighters for the Forest Service could be hours away.
Colorado experience for the residents of northern Maine, do we really want to see our North Woods be turned into a national park or forest ? The people of northern Maine have been caring for the North Woods for generations without the environmentalists dictating to us how to best do that. If we had not been doing this without proper maintenance, would there even be a North Woods here for them to try to take over and control? I don’t believe so.
So why should we allow environmentalists or RESTORE to take control now?
Roxanne Quimby says she wants to “gift” her land to the federal government for a national park. She has also repeatedly and publicly stated that she wants this “gift” to be the “seed” for RESTORE.
Either way, it would place our beloved North Woods and possibly much more in federal control.
Are you willing to sit back and allow this to happen, or will you heed the experience of others who have?

 

Maine Woods Park Proposal:Evolution of a Farce

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PMT Maine Woods National Park Panel Discussion

Preserve Maine Traditions is  a citizens group committed to preserving Maine’s cultural heritage and land use traditions. We work to ensure the continued respect between landowners and the public; sharing in the stewardship of this beautiful land for all to enjoy.  PMT presented a panel discussion at 6:30 pm March 6, 2012 at the Camden Public Library in opposition to the park proposal for northern Maine put forth by RESTORE:The North Woods and Roxanne Quimby.

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Preserving Public Access to Private Land

Here are some excellent thoughts on the issues of preserving public access to private land here in Maine including  identifying what the issues are, and how to correct them.

preserve public access

Within the article it mentions the Rural Landscape Institute of Montana which can be found here -Rural Landscape Institute

Montana is in my opinion ahead of the game – the Rural Landscape Institute was created to create good relationships between landowners and the public, with a goal of educating both to preserve public access to private lands.  The created two videos , one of which you can see below.  I like the title – “Owning Eden”  – Although some of it is relevant to Montana the general concept is very relevant to Maine.  Take heed Roxanne!!  – this is how it’s supposed to work.   This is progressively years ahead of our current situation in Maine, and an idea we should certainly aspire to – preserving public access.

There is a link to watch the movie “Owning Eden” here.

Stop Selling Maine’s Land to Roxanne

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Senator Collins questions DOI Secretary Salazar

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Thank you Senator Collins!!!

Here is a link to the Bangor Daily News article -Feds decline to pursue study of Quimby park proposal

PMT Camden Press Release

From the BDN;

CAMDEN, Maine — Preserve Maine Traditions (PMT) will present a panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, at the Camden Public Library. The discussion is in opposition to the park proposal for Northern Maine put forth by RESTORE and Roxanne Quimby. PMT is a citizens group committed to preserving Maine’s cultural heritage and land use traditions.  For more information, call Andy Young  at 323-1334 or visit http://preservemainetraditions.com/

What was submitted;

Preserve Maine Traditions is  a citizens group committed to preserving Maine’s cultural heritage and land use traditions. We work to ensure the continued respect between landowners and the public; sharing in the stewardship of this beautiful land for all to enjoy.

PMT will be presenting a panel discussion on 6:30 pm March 6, 2012 at the Camden Public Library in opposition to the park proposal for northern Maine put forth by RESTORE and Roxanne Quimby. The discussion will be led by David Trahan executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Bob Meyers executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association and Jim Robbins CEO of Robbins Lumber. Anyone wanting further information please contact Andy Young at 323-1334.

 

Gene Conlogue Maine Woods Coalition speech at UMM

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There is also a podcast of Gene speaking on the perils of the proposed park which you can see here;

Proposed northwoods park dangers

 

Please sign our petition

PMT Needs Your Help

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, the Maine park proposal as delivered to the Department of the Interior is below.   Please note the letter from the Szelogs requesting that a feasibility study be done for the 3.2 million acre RESTORE proposal.  We all know, and it is shown throughout the pages of this website, that the proposed park will be an anchor parcel for the 3.2 million acre park, which most of Maine has rejected for years.

By and large the response I get from most Mainers I talk to is “that park is never going to happen” and “it’s a ridiculous idea”.   Read through the proposal.  Proponents were closer that I would like to believe just a few short months ago to having this park become a reality.  I think we have been very successful in putting at least some of the brakes on it.  They have done their due diligence.  The proposal reads just as the NPS would like it to.

However, we need your help.  Ken Salazar and the Dept of the Interior needs to receive many more letters showing our disapproval of this park proposal.

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.  [Edward Everett Hale]

You may be only one, but you are one.   You can do something – do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.  Make your voice heard – ask those that sell their land knowing the agenda if their greed is worth short selling the future of our great State  There is a lot you can do as one – if we all do it, together we can stop that first domino from falling, together we can stop the Park.  Please take a moment to write a letter to Ken Salazar at the Department of the Interior.

Here is the address;

Department of the Interior

1849 C Street, N.W.

Washington DC 20240

If you don’t want to write one yourself, simply copy and print this one, just add your name and address;

We are a group of citizens concerned about a proposed second National Park in Maine. Our understanding was that the issue had been dealt with in a vote to defeat by the Maine Legislature, and votes to reject by the towns of Millinocket and East Millinocket, who would be most directly affected by the proposed Park. We feel that the will of one person is being thrust against the will of the People of the State of Maine.

Our concern is that there are many unanswered questions about the proposed Park. The current ~70,000 acre proposal has been described many times as a “seed”, and there are many current references to a 3.2 million acre “goal” quoted in articles in the past year.  A park of that size would devastate the economy of the region and was soundly rejected by the State, ten years ago, when the idea was initially put forth by “Restore: The North Maine Woods”. It is a real concern that, should the current proposed parcel be accepted, it will become larger over time. Should this happen, the economic impact will be enormous. The proposed ~70,000 acre parcel in and of itself would have a substantial economic impact on the area.  The statistics of that impact are clear. Forest manufacturing jobs in Maine are responsible for 1.9 jobs per thousand acres according to “The Economic Importance and Wood Flows from Maine Forests” in 2007.  Snowmobiling, ATV, and hunting are responsible for statewide income of $350 million, $200 million, and $240 million, respectively, annually, according to recent articles in “The Bangor Daily News”.  All of these activities would be severely restricted or banned by a National Park. Furthermore, the region in question has historically and traditionally been suited for these exact types of consumptive uses.

The Katahdin Region has just recently been put in a position that will enable the revitalization of their economy. The Class 1/Class 2 Federal standards imposed with a National Park, such as the Clean Air Act & the Adverse Impact on Visibility policy, will effectively stymie the Katahdin Region by restricting its ability to diversify its own economy.

As the Millinocket town council has stated, there are no outstanding characteristics or unique attractions outside of Baxter State Park to justify the creation of a National Park. The jewel of the region, Mt. Katahdin, has already been effectively preserved. If the real intent of the offer is preservation, there are many viable alternatives to a National Park such as Public Reserve Land, Wilderness Area, or Land Trust to name a few.  These options would be considerably less restrictive on the people of the area.

We have concerns about a financial donation made to a southern Maine senator, Cynthia Ann Dill, who is now presenting the issue to that region of the State and to people who a National Park in the North Maine woods would not directly affect.  The controversy created during the acquisition of these properties has been substantial. Most notably the extortion of the snowmobile clubs in an effort to garner support for the proposed Park.

A reconnaissance or a feasibility study will only determine the value of the land as a park, and not examine the potentially devastating consequences for the region. We respectfully urge you to thwart all earnest efforts to push this through. The Maine tradition of public access to private land is without parallel in the nation and is something we should be proud of. We also pride ourselves on our independence, and believe we can achieve economic prosperity again given the fair opportunity.

 

While you’re at it – send it along to Maine’s elected officials – you can find their addresses here.

You are only one, but you are one.

 

Here is the proposal for the park;

(The first two pages are empty, scroll to the third page)

DOI FOI response

NPS Response

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medway Group Quits

 

Medway group disbands

“The National Park Regional Citizen Evaluation Committee “will become inactive” and “will no longer participate in the pursuit of a National Feasibility Study Campaign because a clear path forward could not be established.”

“We don’t believe the path forward being planned right now [by Quimby and her advisers] is the most beneficial for this region,” founding member Greg Stanley said Monday.”

I would be curious to know what “path forward being planned right now” consists of. Perhaps in due time we will see what that is.

Apparently at the heart of this is yet another promise in a long trail of promises that have been broken.  Broken promises that have perhaps led to a suicide, firings, vitriol, infighting, and a general anxiety within the Katahdin region.  Two studies were promised, one assessing the economic impact of the proposed park on the forest products industry, and one assessing the economic effects on the Katahdin region.  The last I remember reading on this was that the University of Maine was going to be involved in at least one of those studies.  We have already shown what effect it would have on the forest products industry here.

Was the study ever done?  Certainly there are big changes afoot in the pro-park tactics, as the true facts about what a proposed park in the Katahdin region would really do to the area continue to be uncovered.  I almost suspect that the study was done, and it was impossible to make the figures spin in a positive light.  All of the information we have uncovered points to a devastation of the Katahdin regions economy should the park ever become reality.  I don’t see how any study could possibly show otherwise.

Things are not looking good in Quimbyville;

The controversial Elliotsville gate has been removed.

Medway’s controversial vote has been challenged.

East Millinocket has voted overwhelmingly against.

Preserve Maine Traditions was formed.

The Millinocket Town Council’s resolution against a park.

The Maine Legislature voted overwhelmingly against a park.

A poll in Patten showed no support for the park.

Representative Mike Michaud does not support a feasibility study.

Great Northern’s union voted against the proposed park.

Senator Snowe has spoken against the park as has Senator Susan Collins.

The Sportsmans Alliance of Maine resolved against the park as did the Maine Snowmobile association and numerous other groups including the Maine Woods Coalition.

This certainly is not “pockets of resistance” by any stretch of the imagination, I would call it overwhelming opposition.   Word is that Quimby has realized that her name being associated with the proposed park is detrimental to any possible success, and now we are seeing her non-profits name (Elliotsville plantation Inc (EPI) used instead, and she is bringing her son into the fold to promote her idea.  But no matter whose face you put on this idea or what spin you possibly put on the agenda, Mainers are smart enough to see through the smokescreen.  Between 2005 and 2010, Maine saw 1.8 million acres conserved – ranking it first among Eastern states and second nationally in acreage protected during that time.  source  Maine simply does not need more land locked up and not accessible and open for everyone.

The vast majority of Mainers do not want a new national park in Maine.  Period.  When is no going to finally mean NO ??!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Maine’s Proposed Park Size Debacle

 

The proposed second Maine national park size debacle.  Proponents insist that it is just 70,000 acres.  Opponents insist that it’s going to be 3 million.  Some opponents say it’s going to be 10 million.  In fact, recent press involving an upcoming talk showed it as 3.2 million acres, and nobody even noticed for 2 days.

That tells me something and it should you too.

A member of our group was recently called paranoid and delusional for suggesting that should a national park happen in northern Maine it will grow beyond the proposed 70,000 acres.

It only takes little research to realize that a second national park in the Maine northwoods is going to grow.  All national parks grow – I wanted to issue a challenge for someone to find me federally owned land (national monument or national park)  in the US that hasn’t grown in acreage since it first became federally owned. People I have asked this question of, primarily proponents, have provided no answers, so here are the answers to that question.  A couple of qualifying statements;  first – there is so much data to wade through I’m not going to find ALL the times a park or monument grew, as some have grown multiple times, the fact that it grew once is enough to satisfy the parameter of the question.  Also,  one park is already disqualified – Isle Royale for obvious reasons – it’s an island, and they already have it all.  Finally, I’m going to say it’s for the lower 48 only.  Alaska’s park system is already so monumental in size they may or may not have grown.  The premise of doing this is you can’t say it’s just going to be 70,000 acres and that’s it, as they always grow.  And with the statements that have been made over the years, some of which you can read here, I”m certain you will  agree, this proposed national park will also grow.

So, here we go, in alphabetical order – Name, inception date, acreage, and statement found indicating expansion.

Acadia  -February 26, 1919  47,389.67 acres; Acadia has grown a number of times, but here’s one – With the help of some nonprofit organizations, the park is planning to grow on Mount Desert Island by more than 50 acres, according to a park official.There are two parcels that total 56 acres that the park plans to acquire, Acadia Superintendent Sheridan Steele said Friday. One parcel, 39 acres is size, abuts Lower Hadlock Pond near the village of Northeast Harbor. The other, 17 acres, abuts Round Pond, near Long Pond and the village of Pretty Marsh.  

Arches -November 12, 1971 -76,518.98 acres ;In early 1969, just before leaving office, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a proclamation substantially enlarging Arches.

Badlands -November 10, 1978 – 242,755.94 acres; 2011 GOAL: National Park Service completes its long-held goal of expanding the Badlands National Park boundary and acquiring these 4,600 acres of the Oglala Prairie Preserve formally into the Park.

Big Bend -June 12, 1944-801,163.21 acres; expanding the borders of Big Bend National Park and preserving the land under the stewardship of the National Park Service would be beneficial to the State of Texas. We hope that the Commissioner will keep in mind the intent of the Conservation Fund’s donation of the Christmas Mountains property.

Biscayne -June 28, 1980-172,924.07 acres; The boundaries were expanded in 1974, adding over 8,700 acres (35.2 square km) of land and water. The park was expanded again in 1980 and redesignated as Biscayne National Park. Currently, it includes approximately 173,000 acres (700.1 square km) of which nearly 165,000 acres (667.7 square km) are waters containing coral reefs while the remaining acreage is dry land including 42 islands.

Bryce Canyon -February 25, 1928-35,835.08 acres; In 1931, President Herbert Hoover annexed an adjoining area south of the park, and in 1942 an additional 635 acres (2.57 km2) was added.

Canyonlands -September 12, 1964-337,597.83 acres; Canyonlands National Park, consisting of 257,640 acres. The park was expanded in 1971 to its present 337,570 acres, or 527 square miles.

Capitol Reef -December 18, 1971-241,904.26 acres;In Presidential Proclamation 3888 an additional 215,056 acres (870 km²) were placed under NPS control. By 1970, Capitol Reef National Monument comprised 254,251 acres (1,028 km²) and sprawled southeast from Thousand Lake Mountain almost to the Colorado River. The action was controversial locally, and NPS staffing at the monument was inadequate to properly manage the additional land.

Carlsbad Cavern -May 14, 1930-46,766.45 acres;Since its establishment, the park has been expanded and today includes 46,766 acres and more than 80 other smaller caves.

Channel Islands -March 5, 1980-249,561.00 acres;Proposed: Marine Sanctuary Expansion

Congaree-November 10, 2003-26,545.86 acres- COLUMBIA, S.C. – The National Park Service says it has the funding for an expansion of the Congaree National Park southeast of Columbia. The State newspaper reported the park service says it has the $1.4 million to buy 433 acres to complete an expansion of the 26,500-acre park.

Crater Lake -May 22, 1902-183,224.05 acres-Environmental groups are pushing to expand wilderness areas around Crater Lake National Park in central Oregon.Oregon Wild, Environmental Oregon, Umpqua Watersheds and the Crater Lake Institute are among the groups launching a campaign to add more than 500,000 acres as designated wilderness in a 90-mile corridor around and in the park.

Cuyahoga Valley-October 11, 2000-32,860.73 acres-Nearly one-third of the property of the popular Blossom Music Center, situated outside both Akron and Cleveland and entirely within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, has been conserved as an addition to the National Park, the Musical Arts Association, The Trust for Public Land, and the National Park Service announced today.

Death Valley-October 31, 1994-3,372,401.96acres-On October 31, 1994, the Monument was expanded by 1.3 million acres (5,300 km2) and redesignated a national park by passage of the Desert Protection Act.

Everglades-May 30, 1934-1,508,537.90 acres; Everglades National Park is expanding by 109,000 acres, and has grown a massive 1 million acres since inception.

Glacier-May 11, 1910 -1,013,572acres;  An international coalition of retired superintendents from Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada and Glacier National Park in the United States has voiced their concern for the future of those parks and the need for immediate actions by both countries to complete park protection measures…..Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is a treasure that we all share as North Americans,” said former Glacier Superintendent Mick Holm….It seems to be advisable to greatly enlarge this park. Many people desire it … It might be well to have a preserve and breeding ground in conjunction with the United States Glacier Park.

Grand Canyon Feb 26,1919 -1,217,403; Grand Canyon National Park expanded to include territory of former national monuments and portions of Lake Mead.

Grand Tetons -February 26, 1929- 309,994.66 acres; The valley of Jackson Hole remained in private ownership until conservationists in the 1930s began purchasing land in Jackson Hole to be added to the existing national park.

Great Basin  -Oct 27, 1986; 77,180; On October 27, 1986, the monument is greatly expanded to include the surrounding mountains and redesignated Great Basin National Park.

Great Sand Dunes -September 13, 2004-42,983.74 acres ; With the help of the Nature Conservancy, the federal government purchased 97,000 acres (390 km2) of the Baca Ranch, which in effect tripled the size of the park.

Great Smokey Mountains -June 15, 1934 -521,490 acres; Though Congress had authorized the park in 1926, there was no nucleus of federally-owned land around which to build a park. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. contributed $5 million, the U.S. government added $2 million, and private citizens from Tennessee and North Carolina pitched in to assemble the land for the park, piece by piece. Slowly, mountain homesteaders, miners, and loggers were evicted from the land. Farms and timbering operations were abolished in establishing the protected area of the park.

Guadalupe-Oct 15, 1966 -86,415 acres - donated about 6,000 acres (24 km2) of McKittrick Canyon which became part of Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Hot Springs – March 4, 1921 -5,549 – no expansion data, presumably because they got it all with the springs – it is the smallest national park.

Isle Royale – March 3, 1931 -571,790 -  No expansion data as it’s an island.

Joshua Tree -Oct 31, 1994 -789,745 acres -Feinstein on Tuesday reintroduced a bill that would expand Joshua Tree National Park, create two new national monuments – both within or mostly within San Bernardino County – and protect several rivers in the Mojave desert. The largest chunk of land set aside in Feinstein’s Bill is the proposed Mojave Trails National Monument, a 941,000-acre swath of the Mojave desert mostly south of the Mojave National Preserve.  Feinstein on Tuesday reintroduced a bill that would expand Joshua Tree National Park, create two new national monuments – both within or mostly within San Bernardino County – and protect several rivers in the Mojave desert.

Kings Canyon-March 4, 1940-461,901.20 acres-16 USC 80 (a-2), P.L. 85-666, 72 Stat. 617 Adds ~210 acres to Kings Canyon National Park at Big Stump.

Lassen Volcanic-August 9, 1916-106,372.36 acres-Lasson Volcanic National Park includes both of these earlier monuments as well as additional acreage aquired over the years. Today the park contains approximately 150 square miles, or over 106,000 acres.

Mammoth Cave -July 1, 1941-52,830.19 acres;The Mammoth Cave Area Biosphere Reserve (gray boundary line–shown before a recent boundary expansion) encompasses Mammoth Cave National Park (black boundary line) and most of the Groundwater Basin, the primary groundwater recharge area the cave --Donated funds were used to purchase some farmsteads in the region, while other tracts within the proposed National Park boundary were acquired by right of eminent domain. In contrast to the formation of other National Parks in the sparsely populated American West, thousands of people would be forcibly relocated in the process of forming Mammoth Cave National Park. Often eminent domain proceedings were bitter, with landowners paid what were considered to be inadequate sums. The resulting acrimony still resonates within the region. Though deer hunting is prohibited within the park, the park boundary is ringed with poachers’ deer blinds, hunting platforms which face into the park.For legal reasons, the federal government was prohibited from restoring or developing the cleared farmsteads while the private Association held the land: this regulation was evaded by the operation of “a maximum of four” camps from May 22, 1933 to July 1942. According to the National Park Service “On May 14, 1934 the minimum park area was provided. On May 22, 1936, the minimum area was accepted “for administration and protection

Mesa Verde -June 29, 1906-52,121.93 acres-expand the boundary of Mesa Verde National Park by more than 300 acres, protecting the gateway to the park from commercial development was approved today.

Mount Rainier-March 2, 1899-235,625.00 acres-if approved and funded by the secretary of the interior, it would be the first expansion of the park in 70 years, Uberuaga said.The proposed 800-acre expansion would include 3.5 miles of Carbon River riverfront, he said.Already, Uberuaga said, the park has just purchased 440 acres from the Plum Creek Timber Company, and Pierce County Parks has purchased 170 acres.

North Cascades -October 2, 1968-504,780.94 acres-Jim Davis stands near the Ruth Creek waterfall and, amid the rushing water, explains how that area of Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is part of the proposed 237,702-acre expansion of North Cascades National Park.

Olympic -June 29, 1938 -922,650 acres -Olympic National Park is proposing a 240 acre expansion

Petrified Forest -Dec 9, 1962 – 93,537 acres -Petrified Forest National Park just purchased 26,000 acres, which is 1/3 of its expansion goal

Redwood -Oct 2, 1968 – 112,512acres-In subsection 2(a) after “September 1968,” insert “and the area indicated as ‘Proposed Additions’ on the map entitled ‘Additional Lands, Redwood National Park, California’, numbered 167-80005-D and dated March 1978.”.(2) In section 2, subsection (a), delete “fifty-eight thousand” and substitute “one hundred and six thousand” and delete the period at the end

Rocky Mountain-Jan 26 1915-265,828 acres – designate as wilderness certain land within the Rocky Mountain National Park and to adjust the boundaries of the Indian Peaks Wilderness and the Arapaho National Recreation Area of the Arapaho National Forest in the State of Colorado.

Saguaro- Oct 14, 1994 – 91,439 – HR 1990 – To expand the boundary of Saguaro National Park, to study additional land for future adjustments to the boundary of the Park, and for other purposes.

Sequoia-Sept 25, 1890-404,051-Since the founding of Sequoia National Park in 1890, numerous bills to enlarge the park had been introduced, but none had succeeded. Not until the 1926 proposal, when Susan Thew submitted her gazetteer, did an enlargement bill succeed: The park boundaries were extended to include the Great Western Divide, the Kaweah Peaks, the Kern Canyon, and the Sierra Crest.

Shenandoah-May 22,1926-199,045 acres – Shenandoah was authorized in 1926 and fully established on December 26, 1935. Prior to being a park, much of the area was farmland and there are still remnants of old farms in several places. The Commonwealth of Virginia slowly acquired the land through eminent domain and then gave it to the U.S. Federal Government…..In the time it took to acquire additional land a number of families and entire communities were required to vacate portions of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Many residents in the 500 homes in eight affected counties of Virginia were vehemently opposed to losing their homes and communities.

Theodore Roosevelt -Nov 20, 1978-70,446 acres – In 1978, in addition to boundary adjustments and the establishment of 29,920 acres

Voyageurs -Jan 8 1971-218,200 acres-Voyageurs National Park Association (VNPA) is the non-profit partner of Minnesota’s only National Park. Under a new Executive Director, VNPA is now expanding its scope for environmental advocacy and land acquisition

Wind Cave -Jan 9 1903 -28,295 acres - The National Park Service announced Thursday it has acquired more than 5,000 acres of former ranchland to expand Wind Cave National Park in western South Dakota

Yosemite -preservationists persuaded Congress to designate 677,600 acres (274,200 ha), as Wilderness

Yellowstone -March 1, 1872 -2,219,790 acres – Yellowstone basically spawned two other parks which have grown – Grand Teton and Jackson Hole – Yellowstone National Park had been established in 1872 By the late 19th century, conservationists worked to provide further protection to surrounding regions, leading U.S. President Grover Cleveland to create the Teton Forest Reserve, which included a portion of northern Jackson Hole. By 1902, the reserve was combined into the Yellowstone Forest Reserve, then divided again in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, establishing the Teton National Forest, protecting most of the Teton Range…part of an expanded Yellowstone National Park dated back to the late 19th century,Albright was originally an advocate of the expanded Yellowstone plan.

So there you have it – 43 national parks in the lower 48 states all of which have grown since first becoming federally owned with the exception of Isle Royal which is an island and Hot Springs which is the smallest park at 5,549 acres, enough to protect the springs.

Please also take note that each one of these 43 parks protect something that is special, what the National Park Service calls a “jewel”, which in Maine is Katahdin and is already protected by Baxter State Park.  Will the proposed park remain at 70,000 acres?  Absolutely not.  Because the jewel that they are after is in their words, the largest contiguous forest on the east coast – that’s what they really want, and it will be 3.2 million acres and up to get it -hence the description of the proposed park as a “seed”.

After reading about all these expansions, I think I AM starting to feel paranoid and delusional.

THINK

NOPARKFORME

 

 

The North Woods of Maine – No National Park Required

The Szelog’s of Whitefield recently won an award for their photo documentation of the proposed North Woods Park from RESTORE, the article can be seen here.  As a quick aside, please take note  their notion of a North Woods Park is  the 3.2 million version.  Albeit RESTORE essentially giving itself an award is a bit self serving at best, I propose that here at Preserve Maine Traditions, we also should give them an award for they are tremendously proving one of our simple points; No National Park required.

When you look at some of RESTORE’s quotes over the years there is a general theme throughout them; “The Crisis in the Maine Woods offers an Historic Opportunity“, “These Wildlands are in jeopardy and can vanish if we do not muster the will and the funds to save them“, “meanwhile time continues to run out” all carry with them the sense of urgency,  the sense that at any moment the land will be leveled for a shopping mall or some other vastly detrimental idea.  Nothing is further from the truth.  Take a look through some of the Szelog’s pictures, which they say began in 2007.  The Maine Woods and it’s creatures have stood the test of time – it has been cut and regrown how many times now?  And yet the “fragile” ecosystem keeps bouncing back with renewed vigor and diversity.  Any northern trapper worth his salt can tell you that Canadian Lynx have been in Maine since at least the early 1970′s – and with a little bit of research one can discover that Lynx love to use regenerating clear cuts as denning areas;   “My impression and conversations with Team members indicate that dens are nearly always in regenerating clearcuts or heavy brushy blowdowns.  Lynx clearly use clearcuts as denning habitat, presumably because the hare densities are high and nearby, and the dense cover provides excellent shelter for a den.  The industrial forest in northern Maine appears to provide plenty of early successional habitat for hare and lynx.”  source.   Imagine that, logging creating biodiversity in the North Maine Woods.

Proponents make it sound like the North Woods of Maine are in dire need of protection, and then they market it to people that haven’t been here in Maine long enough to know better. Lets take a quick look at that, starting with this statement:  Eighty percent of Maine’s population is located within 15 miles of a state park.  source  You see, Maine already has a large amount of land in conservation as can be seen here in a great interactive map which is only missing the protection of the Allagash.  At the state’s request, the Allagash was permanently classified as a federal Wild river, for 92.5 miles, the most protective of river conservation categories. You can see the Allagash protection on this map, copy it in your mind and superimpose it on the interactive map linked above.  There is a great bar graph here which contrasts protected land as State Park status, as opposed to land that is not protected – very telling.   The point is, lots of Maine is well conserved already – Baxter State Park containing the jewel of the region in Katahdin.  And most of the people of the region that are vehemently opposed to the creation of a National Park would probably not have an issue if Roxanne’s proposed parcel were to be put into a land trust or some other status that preserved the traditional use of the area for both jobs and recreation, a thought that Park proponents owe to us, the citizens of Maine.  What we don’t want is a National Park – a 70,000 acre one, or a 3.2 million acre one.  With all of the land that is already conserved in one form or another, the “crisis” being touted is hardly that at all.

In some ways it makes sense that people who are relatively new to Maine can see it that way, folks originally from Maine do have a tendency  to “stay put” as it were – and have long memories spanning back generations. Speaking of which Cynthia Dill had a quote in the article which is interesting -“Acadia National Park was hard-fought when it was first introduced”  Really?  What’s the source for that statement?   That’s how history gets re-written and if you say the same lie long enough, people start to believe it.  I’m a third generation Islander, and my Grandfather was here when Lafayette National Park was incepted, after first being a National Monument courtesy in large part to George Dorr. My parents were teenagers when it became Acadia and the Rockefellers donated land to expand it.  My family’s memory is clear that there was no “hard fight” against, no upswelling of No Park for ME.  The legislature did not vote 31-3 against the Park, Seal Harbor did not come out with a resolution against the Park as Millinocket did, Bar Harbor did not vote 513-132 against like East Millinocket did, Somesville was not polled to find 87% against as Patten was…the worst thing  that happened was the legislature threatened to take George Dorr’s  non-profit status away.  I say that with no intention of undermining George Dorr’s tireless work in the matter, but cajoling people for money and support is a lot different that all of the upsurge of opposition that is happening locally with regard to the proposed park.  Other than the time distances, lets look at why there is such a large outpouring of opposition against a National Park in Northern Maine when compared to Acadia.

The first is historical use.  Compare the historical use of Acadia and the North Maine Woods.  Acadia was a place where people with money from away came to recreate during the summer.  Giant summer homes were built, replete with local caretakers and staff, a tradition that continues to this day in Seal Harbor.  There is a great book on the subject called “The Village and the Hill” a true story of growing up in Seal Harbor in the 1930′s and what life was like for the locals and the summer people on the island.   Boating, hiking, dining out and all of the activities still enjoyed today were part and parcel of visiting the island in the summertime.  There was a tramway going up the side of Cadillac Mountain, steamboats, and giant hotels that have since vanished.

Contrast that with the historical use of Northern Maine – the legends of the loggers and river runners, hunting, trapping, fishing- the rugged woodsman, and later the snowmobile.  The first lesson they teach you in Park Planning 101 is you look at the historical use of any area that is proposed for a National Park with the lesson being that it is a failure to attempt to change that historical use. A lesson that Roxanne herself knows when she made the disclaimer that it could take many years for her proposed Park to ever become popular and that’s why.  There are in fact a myriad of reasons cited on this website as to why this proposed Park is in fact a “no brainer” to never see the light of day.

I for one thank the Szelogs for showing us one of those great reasons – this land has been here since time began.  It is here for them to want to protect because we, as Mainers, have been such good stewards.  Stewards that have allowed recreation for everybody, not just a select few, and a working forest for everyone.  No National Park required.

 

TREES Patten Press Release

TREES 4 Maine complete Survey In the Patten Area

      Most of the attention on a proposed national park has been focused on the tri-communities of Millinocket, East Millinocket and Medway. The greatest implication would in reality be the tri-area of Patten, Mount Chase and Shin Pond. While the latter two are not organized towns per say, they are identifiable locations of regional population that would be impacted by a proposed national park either to traditional rural setting or perspective cultural changes with both economic and environmental implication. Community leaders in Patten have taken a strong stand in opposition of a national park. The board of Selectmen officially has opposed any effort that would enable the establishment of a national park, including a so called feasibility study, or an internal reconnaissance study by the Secretary of the Interior. The community’s position is based upon a strong belief that the region would not add to desirable economic nor cultural attraction to the area which includes Baxter State Park’s northern entrance as well as a long reliance on the logging industry.  Former Maine Senate President Charles Pray and a retired businessperson from the Millinocket area recently created a citizen’s group, TREES4Maine, Trust for Responsible Economic & Environmental Stewardship for Maine. The group’s focus is to advocate a broader evaluation of Maine’s natural resources as the stalwart of the region’s economy. The group advocates these resources be managed in a prudent and responsible manner assuring an stable economy that would provide Maine citizens an economic and environmental quality of life in labor and recreation as has been identifiable with the region. Senator Pray represented the communities involved in northern Penobscot, as well as neighboring Piscataquis counties, where Baxter Park lies, which would be adjacent to the proposed national park.  Pray undertook the multi-questioned survey with volunteers on a range of issues focusing on some of the economic and environmental concerns local citizens from the area in present debate on the national park proposal and other economic and environmental issues. Over a several day period from the end of December to the first of this year a number of telephone interviews were completed with the calls to the greater Patten 528 telephone exchange on questions relating to the economy and the national park proposal by millionairess Roxanne Quimby who has been purchasing sections of forest lands in the region. The calls represent about ten percent of listed numbers in the 528 exchange.  The leading interest in the survey was to verify support for broadening the forest based economy in the greater Katahdin region. Secondarily, to show the support, or opposition, to a proposed national park in the area that would be greatest affected by the national park proposal. While Pray is not releasing the entire survey he did release some of the telling responses relating to the proposed national park. On the question: “Do you support the proposal for a national park in the Katahdin region?” Eight-seven percent of respondents opposed the question, with only two percent supporting.  Just under nine percent responded they did know or hadn’t taken a position on the issue. Ninty-five percent felt the region’s economy was in “poor” shape, and eighty-tree percent felt the State’s economy was in poor shape, with no one stating either the region, nor the State were in “good” or “fair” conditions.  In promoting the best use of the region’s natural resources in an economic analysis Pray believes the best vehicle would be the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) advocated by Maine’s second district Congressman Mike Michaud.  The NBRC is a federal‐state regional commission established to target resources in promoting economic growth strategies and projects within the  northern portions of Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. The NBRC focuses on leveraging public, private and philanthropic resources to develop and sustain community building blocks for economic competitiveness and development in highly distressed regions of the northern United States. The Commission looks at issues such as transportation, basic infrastructure, job skills training and entrepreneurial development, comprehensive strategy development, advanced technologies and telecommunications, and sustainable energy solutions. The survey conducted by Pray showed a no lack of voter enthusiasm in the 2012 elections with one hundred percent expressing their intent to cast ballots at election time. While the survey used randomly selected numbers participants self -identification showed just under twenty-two percent were Democrats, just over thirty-one percent, Republicans, and twenty-eight identified themselves as Un-enrolled in a political party, or as an Independents. The Patten area figures on the national park issue were ten point stronger to the East Millinocket voters who opposed a national park feasibility study by a vote of 513-132 (79.5% to 20.4%) against the idea in a November municipal referendum. Medway, the only community to have officially supported a feasibility study by the U.S. Department of the Interior, is currently waiting to see if a citizen’s referendum initiative will garner significant signatures to overturn the town’s position of support for a national park. If enough signatures are collected the town will need to set a date for a public vote.  Individuals opposed to Medway’s officials support of a national park expressed concerns local citizens were told the earlier meeting when officials decided to support at first a feasibility study was being held to gather information on the issue, not that town officials would be deciding to outright support a proposed nation park. Concerns have been raised by some who went to the information meeting, which was attended by park supporters from outside of the community of Medway, participated in a show of hands in support for the study.  Medway opponents of a national park believe the municipal officials failed to properly assure only local citizens were participating in the decision making process.

Maine Park: I Am Only One, But I Am One

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.  [Edward Everett Hale]

If you have not visited Roxanne’s Elliotsville Plantation website yet, keepmebeautiful , you owe it to yourself to have a look around as physically and psychologically it is very telling and informative.   Physically it is telling for a number of reasons – first being that due diligence has indeed been accomplished – a lot of the site reads like a NPS feasibility study to me.  The dominos are placed in all of their appropriate positions and just waiting for that first one to be tipped – the first one being local support. Once that domino is tipped, everything falls into place.  And yet, when one looks more than casually into it, there are certainly some leaks in the dam of information.  Almost every  Mainer that I have come in contact with has two preconceived notions – first, that there is nothing remarkable about the area that would cause it to achieve NP status, and second that it’s never going to happen.  To address the latter part of that sentence – she is certainly  trying very hard…to sit back and do nothing is not prudent – as to the former part of that sentence the website has identified flora and fauna that could indeed meet NP criteria the way it is written, especially for someone that has not explored much of Maine, which I think is the key.

I have never heard of, nor can I find any cited references/published works for, the ecologist that purportedly did the study  – Dr. Bart DeWolf.  The only references found are those tied to EPI’s website.

Lets go over a couple of the ‘findings’; first being Northern firmoss…that certainly  sounds exotic and rare doesn’t it?…here’s an image;

Anyone that has ever set foot in the Maine Woods has seen this stuff – it grows everywhere, and it’s conservation status is listed as “secure”.  Finding this is  literally almost the equivalent of buying some property in Maine and cataloging that you discovered a Pine tree on the property.

Their ecological survey also mentions orchids, a name that sounds rare, and yet is certainly findable in Maine, the most prevalent being the (common name) ladyslipper family.  In fact I can’t find any of what they describe in their ecological “survey” on the Maine endangered plant list which is available here, with the exception of two specimens.

A fragrant woodfern is described as being found…to take some liberty I will make the assumption that they actually mean a fragrant cliff woodfern (an assumption I make with some trepidation since I can find no references of the ecologist that purportedly found it), and purple clematis is also described as being found.  The fragrant woodfern falls into S3,G5,SC and the Purple Clematis into S3 G5T5,SC in the chart below from the Maine Natural Areas Program – please note that the SC designation means; Rare in Maine, based on available information, but not sufficiently rare to be considered Threatened or Endangered.  Maine also is on the southern tip of the fragrant cliff woodferns range, very similar to the Canadian Lynx which is “endangered” here in Maine, yet one only has to drive a few hundred miles to cross the Canadian border where the Lynx can be harvested without restriction.

 

Preservation State Rarity Ranks

  • S1 Critically imperiled in Maine because of extreme rarity (five or fewer occurrences or very few remaining individuals or acres) or because some aspect of its biology makes it especially vulnerable to extirpation from the State of Maine.
  • S2 Imperiled in Maine because of rarity (6-20 occurrences or few remaining individuals or acres) or because of other factors making it vulnerable to further decline.
  • S3 Rare in Maine (20-100 occurrences).
  • S4 Apparently secure in Maine.
  • S5 Demonstrably secure in Maine.
  • SH Known historically from the state, not verified in the past 20 years.
  • SX Apparently extirpated from the state, loss of last known occurrence has been documented.
  • SU Under consideration for assigning rarity status; more information needed on threats or distribution.
  • S#? Current occurrence data suggests assigned rank, but lack of survey effort along with amount of potential habitat create uncertainty (e.g. S3?).

Note: State Rarity Ranks are determined by the Maine Natural Areas Program.

Global Rarity Ranks

  • G1 Critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity (five or fewer occurrences or very few remaining individuals or acres) or because some aspect of its biology makes it especially vulnerable to extinction.
  • G2 Globally imperiled because of rarity (6-20 occurrences or few remaining individuals or acres) or because of other factors making it vulnerable to further decline.
  • G3 Globally rare (20-100 occurrences).
  • G4 Apparently secure globally.
  • G5 Demonstrably secure globally.
  • GNR Not yet ranked.

Note: Global Ranks are determined by NatureServe.

State Legal Status

  • E ENDANGERED; Rare and in danger of being lost from the state in the foreseeable future; or federally listed as Endangered.
  • T THREATENED; Rare and, with further decline, could become endangered; or federally listed as Threatened.

Note: State legal status is according to 5 M.R.S.A. 13076-13079, which mandates the Department of Conservation to produce and biennially update the official list of Maine’s Endangered and Threatened plants. The list is derived by a technical advisory committee of botanists who use data in the Maine Natural Areas Program’s database to recommend status changes to the Department of Conservation.

Non-Legal status

  • SC SPECIAL CONCERN; Rare in Maine, based on available information, but not sufficiently rare to be considered Threatened or Endangered.
  • PE Potentially Extirpated; Species has not been documented in Maine in past 20 years or loss of last known occurrence has been documented.

 

Personally, I would like to see the specimens in question to verify that is indeed what they are.

So, physically speaking all of their “findings” sound fantastic as written, but in fact are not unique, as most Mainer’s would attest – however, one needs to keep in mind that the folks reading this are not from Maine, and to them it sounds like the rare plant/unique area jackpot.

Imagine all those “rare” plants surviving years of wood harvesting – proof of the resiliency of nature.

The psychological aspect of their website is even more telling as to mindset.   Edward Everett Hale whom I quoted above,  was a supporter of Irish immigrants and “noted the  inferiority of the immigrants…compels them to go to the bottom; and the consequence is that we are, all of us, the higher lifted.”  Sound familiar in any way? Let me refresh your memory – Roxanne, in a recent movie I watched on Facebook, said the following; “Times are changing and people are not going to access all this land “unfettered” anymore.”  That’s who you and I are as Mainers–people accessing land “unfettered”.  Remember, we are drug addicted, welfare receiving, unedumacaded folks who are compelled to go to the bottom.  Simple common sense however, is something that cannot be taught.

Her property now has unfettered access instead for artists and writers in camps once used for trapping, hunting, and exploring Maine’s rugged wilderness.  A program for which room, board, and travel expenses are paid for by the way.  Which is why I am quoting Edward Everett Hale, as he is listed on the website among those being inspired by the North Maine Woods, along with Thoreau, John Greenleaf Whittier,James Russell Lowell, and Fanny Hard Eckstorm.

Fanny Hardy Eckstorm???  The woman most famous for writing “The Penobscot Man” ? The woman who so eloquently  summed up the rugged individuality of Maine and it’s people in just a few short sentences when she wrote;

The question is sometimes asked why a state like Maine, so sparsely settled, poor, weak in all external aids, can send forth such throngs of masterful men, who, east and west, step to the front to lead, direct, and do. We who were brought up among pine-trees and granite know the secret of their success. It comes not wholly by taking thought: it is in the blood. Here are stories of men, the kind we have yet a-plenty, who die unknown and unnoticed; and every tale is a true one, — not the chance report of strangers, the gleanings of recent acquaintance, the aftermath of hearsay, the enlargements of a fading tradition; but the tales of men who tended me in babyhood, who crooned to me old slumber-songs, who brought me gifts from the woods, who wrought me little keepsakes, or amused my childish hours, — stories which, having gathered them from this one and that one who saw the deed, I have bound into a garland to lay upon their graves. Such tales are numberless; choice becomes invidious unless rigidly limited, and therefore, since the old West Branch Drive is no more, I have chosen solely among its members, and have strung these tales, like beads of remembrance, upon one thread, — of which we who love it never tire, — the River. These are stories told with little art. In the long run, the books that lie closest to the facts have the advantage. It is lovely to be beautiful, but it is essential to be true. The events are actual occurrences; the names, real names; the places any one may see at any time. Yet each story is not merely personal and solitary, but illustrates typically some trait of the whole class. Their virtues are not magnified, their faults are not denied; in black and white, for good or evil, they stand here as they lived.

We who were brought up among pine-trees and granite know the secret of their success –  I say we do indeed!! More powerful words have rarely been written.  Each of these writers were inspired by the ruggedness of the people intertwined with the land – the river drivers, the loggers, the trappers, the hermits – the list is endless.   An idealistic, preservationist artist/writer  in an old hunting camp in a sanctuary would never achieve the same inspiration today without having lived it as all these previous writers have.  How could they once the paved roads, the gates, and the tollbooths arrive with rangers to check on your well being.  Today, over 100 years have passed since Thoreau’s famous canoe journey into the north Maine woods, and yet you can still recreate it today – I’ve paddled most of it and it still looks similar if not the same as when it was paddled by Thoreau – thanks to Maine’s stewardship of the land – no National Park required!!!  As Fanny Hardy says in the above quote  the places any one may see at any time.  These places are still here today, and one is able to recreate the timeless history of our forebears  in the North Maine Woods.

Fanny Hardy was the daughter of Manly Hardy -  fur-buyer, hunter, naturalist, and sometimes writer. If you’ve never read the book Manly Hardy it is well worth the read.  It is a shame that Maine is slowly letting those traditions slip slowly past each year by people who haven’t taken the time to understand our timeless traditions as a state.   When did hunter and naturalist begin to separate anyway?  One cannot be the one without first being the other – they are inextricably tied.

While I fully support the right of the property owner to do as they will, when their will is to create a National Park that affects me and the entire state of Maine, that makes it my business.  You are only one, but you are one.  What will it take for you to stand up for the State of Maine?  You who were brought up amongst the pine trees and the granite -you who have sat around a campfire and heard stories of the Lunksoos -the men whose stories Fanny Hardy bound into a garland for their graves whose spirit still lives on in the freedom of our Maine woods?  You are only one, but you are one – you can do something – do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.  Make your voice heard – ask those that sell their land knowing the agenda if their greed is worth short selling the future of our great State.  Write a letter to Maine’s elected officials.  Sign our petition.  There is a lot you can do as one – if we all do it, together we can stop that first domino from falling, together we can stop the Park.

A Wolf Is At The Door
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The Fight for Saddleback

I either hadn’t heard of, or forgot the story of Saddleback Mountain until someone recently mentioned it in the comment section of a Bangor Daily News article;  a fight that came to a boil in 1999.   The essential basis for the fight was that the ski area owner wanted to cross the Appalachian Trail corridor with ski runs, and put a ski lift within sight of the AT corridor.

The Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA)  members passed a resolution at their 1998 Annual Gathering in Concord, W.Va., that endorsed the strongest possible protection for the Appalachian Trail corridor across Saddleback. It passed without dissent. The resolution reads as follows:  “That ALDHA supports the most comprehensive protective zone for the Appalachian Trail corridor on Saddleback Mountain in Maine, including all environmentally fragile subalpine areas in and around the corridor, the Eddy Pond watershed, and the area known as the Bowl.”

They further requested that; “the National Park Service take whatever steps are necessary to secure permanent protection for this most important remaining segment of unprotected A.T. corridor.”

The story was very well documented in two parts – Part I and Part II  and lasted almost 17 years in total, finally culminating in a deal with the NPS, which is detailed here.

The people of Maine have been fighting RESTORE in one form or another for almost 20 years now.  The take home message of the Saddleback story for me is that if we all stand in solidarity (or as a member of  our group put it; if we all go all in) they will fold.   With strong , local, public outcry over the proposed Park it won’t come to pass.  There are alternatives to the proposed Park that would make everyone happy, alternatives that will allow traditional recreational and economic use, and conservation in parallel. And I’ll end with a question – we have shown that National Parks always grow in size here – if you truly believe as proponents say, that this proposed 70,000 acre Park is not an anchor for the 3.2 million acre leviathan that was proposed by RESTORE, then why is Roxanne still purchasing property that was in the original 3.2 million acre proposal?

That’s not ” absolute paranoia and baseless fear” as quoted from the comments on a recent BDN article – that’s a real fact, and a real fear – National Parks will always grow in size.   The story of Saddleback Mountain shows us that with solidarity and local public outcry the National Park isn’t going to happen.  We  need to push for a desired alternative that works for everybody.

NOPARKFORME

 

 

 

Maine Park Misconceptions

 

Recently someone posted our “sign petition” link onto a New England hunting  forum bulletin board.  A couple of the responses there were rather shocking, one of which was – why should we be concerned about this, hunting is allowed in National Parks.

So, just to clear up some obvious misconceptions, here is what the NPS has to say about that, taken directly from their website www.nps.gov -

“Most  National Parks do not allow consumptive use of the resources, such as hunting, trapping, timber harvesting, and mineral extraction.”

What about a National Monument? – we have been hearing that word lately from park proponents – again, directly from the NPS -

“Monuments are essentially under the same guidelines as a Park.”

Perhaps there is some confusion surrounding Park nomenclature – there is a link here to the NPS website that explains their names and what they mean.

That is not to say there are occasional exceptions to the rule – the permitting process for which would be akin to visiting your local DMV office.

Think of it this way – To casually wave off concerns of freedoms within a National Park would be analagous to saying the following;  we’re going to take a city just like what is on Manhattan Island and plop it in the middle of the North Maine Woods – we think it would be great for business and the economy of the region…..and the resulting uproar being dismissed with – yeah, but I’ll still be able to camp there.  Maybe you “could” – but the experience would never be the same.

The same for snowmobiling – remember, Park proponents may say all kinds of things that may be ‘allowed’ – but once the land is handed over, all of that goes out the window, and it’s the NPS’s word from then on.  Sure, you can answers “yes” to the statement that snowmobiling is allowed in some Parks – would it be the same as it is now on the ITS trails? Absolutely not.  Both in Acadia and Yellowstone (which seems to be the most cited Park for sleds) it is restricted to tarred roads within the Park – that’s the precedent.  As far as snowmobiling goes – preservationists have been suing for years with varying degrees of success to have snowmobiling stopped in Yellowstone.  There are so many rules and regulations it boggles the mind – is that what you want for Maine?  I don’t, and I don’t even own a snowmobile – but I respect the rights of others to recreate as they see fit – and someday I may want to get a sled and ride the trails of Millinocket.  See the link here and do a search for yourself on the lawsuits to keep sleds out of Yellowstone.  They will keep at it and at it until one of these days, they’ll win.

Just because you can answer “yes” to a question does not mean the experience will be the same, or even close to what we have now.  The area of the proposed Park is historically a consumptive use area.  In Park Planning 101 the first thing they teach you is you don’t change the traditional use of an area to create a Park.  A National Parks rules will effectively stop the historic activity of the region, which is why Roxanne herself has said it could take many many years to attract visitors to the Park…because the historic use of the area would be changing – is that what you want for Maine?  Think carefully about your answer.

NOPARKFORME

 

 

 

Feasibility Study; What’s the Big Deal?

What IS the big deal?  What’s the harm?  We all want the facts right?   Sounds fair enough?

Before going any further along this post, please read the National Park Service Critera for Parkland

There is a glaring omission from this lengthy page outlining criteria for Parkland.  Did you find it?  Have a guess?

Here is a hint from the article;

To be feasible as a new unit of the National Park System an area’s natural systems and/or historic settings must be of sufficient size and appropriate configuration to ensure long-term protection of the resources and to accommodate public use. It must have potential for efficient administration at a reasonable cost. Important feasibility factors include landownership, acquisition costs, access, threats to the resource, and staff or development requirements.

Still don’t see it?

Lets put some of the bigger pieces of the puzzle together in a Readers Digest condensed version.   First, as you may or may not know,  Restore:The North Maine Woods arrived on the scene here in Maine in 1992 with a big plan to start a 3.2 million acre National Park.  Roxanne sat on the board of Restore, and split with them in about 2004 when it became evident that support for a National Park was simply not there in Maine, nor did they have a plan for the land acquisition.  She then began quietly (sometimes not so quietly) purchasing pieces of the property that were in the original Restore plan.  There was a vision at one time (2004)  to make Monson the gateway community to the proposed Park which you can read about in a great press release here. On or about 2007 the US economy began its downtrend, the Millinocket mills eventually closed, and in 2010 Roxanne was appointed to the National Park Foundation Board of Directors.  Restore called it a “unique set of circumstances”  and pushed with renewed vigor for a National Park. The pieces were all in place- The Wolf at the Door was ready to finally pounce on it’s prize.

But the window of opportunity was short lived.  The mill re-opened, the State Legislature voted overwhelmingly against a feasibility study as did the towns of Millinocket and East Millinocket.  Maine’s Senators and Representatives have said they will not support the Park without the majority of Mainers behind the idea, especially local approval.

Which brings us back to the question at the top of the post.  The glaring omission is LOCAL impact. The only thing a feasibility or reconnaissance study will show is whether or not a Park is feasible for the area, period.  It will not assess the impact to the local community.  And if proponents get the study, they’ll get the Park.  The study is also not done by an independent entity encompassing the local impact, rather it is done by the National Park Service which, where I come from,  is called a conflict of interest.

So, we’ve seen in previous posts what can happen to states with large amounts of Federal Land, some Real Facts and Real Fears about National Parks, including the fact that they never stay the same size after inception.  They always grow, and proponents are deliberately misleading you to say otherwise.  We’ve seen what the economic impact will really be in Economics 101 and the jobs that will be lost should a National Park in the region become a reality.  Proponents have claimed that a  National Park will take people off welfare and yet we’ve seen what the Welfare statistics are surrounding Acadia National Park, and that most National Parks do not hire the local population.

I find it amusing that proponents think this message is anti-government in nature, nothing can be further from the truth, it is a pro-Maine message.  We have been such good stewards of the land in the first place, which is why it’s there for preservationists to want to protect.  The land was open and accessible for ALL to use, not just a select few, until Roxanne bought it and put up gates.  You can read more about issues surrounding access here and here.

Why would you want to give that land away?

John Malone one of the largest landowners in the US, and Maine understands the need for both conservation and the continuation of a working forest and traditional access; He intends to keep the land as a working forest, aides said, and will continue to supply timber to local paper mills and keep the land open to the public for recreation.  And as Frank Janusz directly put it; Frank Janusz, the owner of the Airline Lodge and Snack Bar in rural Hancock County, where much of Mr. Malone’s new land is located, had just returned Friday from grooming 40 miles of snowmobile trails.“Without the snowmobile business, six to eight people would lose their jobs right here,” he said, adding that access to the land was critical. “We’d die without it,” he said.

We can, and should, explore other options to preserve the integrity of the land, and yet continue to allow access for EVERYONE, both recreational and employment related.   With the way people feel here in Maine, proponents owe it to us to do just that.

It’s amazing to me that proponents are stuck on the notion that the Forest Industry here in Maine is a dying industry, as nothing could be further from the truth.  There is a ‘must read’ story  here where  In Westbrook, we are producing World Cup soccer shoes and Gucci jackets out of Maine paper.  In Old Town, our pulp mill is producing jet fuel.  Composite wood, liquid fuels and sugar from trees are being researched at the University of Maine, while Europeans are eyeing torrefied wood, so-called wood coal that they can burn in the existing fluidized bed coal power plants. Sawmills are toughing out a housing recession, yet the projected 60 percent increase in annual allowable cut in spruce/fir over the next 20 years, not to mention the rising volumes of white pine, all bode well.  On the news just this morning there was a story about exporting cedar log cabin kits to China.

How embarrassed will you be if Maine creates a big National Park, and ends up having to import it’s wood at a higher cost?

The town of Millinocket has never marketed itself, we need to give them a chance to do so, and they have a plan in place to begin that, which you can read about here

There are alternatives that allow Maine to financially prosper from it’s unique forestland, while conserving that land in parallel.  It’s what we as a State have done for generations, and we’re pretty good at it.  It’s why the land is still there.  Proponents should be exploring these options instead of forcing their will on the people of Maine whom have continually told them no.

The people behind this website are fighting for their way of life, their livelihood, their backyards, and their traditions.  They’re spending their own money, and their own valuable time to get the message across.   They actually care about Maine’s future and Maine’s woods, not a legacy or a non-profit success.

And that’s the big deal about a feasibility or a reconnaissance study.  It will not include the local impact, which will be an impact that is detrimental to the future of the State.  We can do better.

Think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maine Park and Unfettered Access

 

Times are changing and people are not going to access all this land “unfettered” anymore.  That’s what Roxanne Quimby said in a recently posted Facebook video regarding land leases and camps on her property.  Land that had been open to everyone for generations to recreate on.  Apparently that is now “unfettered access” that must be stopped by gates and no trespassing signs.  Which is perfectly fine, and she is well within her rights as a property owner to do so.  Where the irony comes in for me, is her purpose and intent.  Which is to give the land away to make a National Park for” everyone”  to use.  In fact, I believe the proponents of the Park have even made the statement on their website that it needs to be a National Park so that everyone can use it, not just a ‘select few”.  I’m using the same argument – it should not be given to the Feds as a National Park, as only a select few will be able to use it.  Who is right?

I have a somewhat slight advantage of having lived next to a National Park, and I can tell you that when you ask proponents a direct question, such as,  “will snowmobiling be allowed?”  the answer will be yes.  What you have to watch for is what is not being said which is the “but”. Remember folks, it’s a National Park.  Snowmobiling may or may not be allowed, and if it is it will be a far cry from what it is today.  In fact,  to quote a New York Times article where a judge struck down the idea to allow more snowmobiles on the restricted areas in Yellowstone “Environmentalists are encouraging park officials to keep the number of snowmobiles around 260 a day for the coming season — the average number that have used the parks for the past five years — and eventually to phase them out. “ This is the direction the National Park Service is taking, discouraging, not encouraging snowmobile use which are obviously contrary to any Park preservation plan.   Hunting allowed in the Park?  I’d love for someone to send me a list of the National Parks that you can hunt in, and on the tiny parcels that you may be able to I’d like to see the permit/red tape process that allows you to.  ATV’s ?  Yeah right. I could go through the list of all the things that would not be allowed in the Park, but suffice it  to say that their logic is flawed.  When we, as Mainers, had “unfettered” access, it was truly open to “everyone”.  You could snowshoe, bird watch, hunt, fish, camp without paying toll fees and exorbitant camping fees, etc etc etc – the list goes on and on. So, proponents, your logic is flawed.  A National Park is restricting access, and allowing only a ‘select’ few, and it’s misleading to say otherwise. Remember this too – Proponents of the Park do not speak for the NPS.

There is a  fight going on in West Virginia with the National Park Service that you can read about here.

There are already access issues related to the proposed National Park that you can read about here.

What images does Northern Maine conjure up for you?   Maine has always been a state of rough wilderness with people known for their self reliance, individuality, ruggedness, and a sense of independence.  People come here to experience the rougher end of wilderness living.  The adventures people have in Maine are chronicled in countless books and magazines.  A wilderness experience is what Northern Maine is all about, and that experience  for most includes some sort of “traditional use”.

When it comes to the people of Maine, you hear the words “traditional use” a lot.  But what does traditional use really mean?  For me, it has it’s origins from an unwritten Wilderness code of ethics among early woodsmen which basically stated that – my cabin is unlocked.  Should you find yourself in need of it for the night, please use it.  Replace the firewood that you use.  Leave food if you can, and leave it in as good or better condition than you found it.  Those were the beginnings of traditional use.   And to some extent it still exists today.  It’s funny, when I bought property in Maine, there were 9 lots that were for sale, about 40 acres each.  Within a short amount of time, 7 lots had no trespassing signs on them, and two did not.  Guess which lots were purchased by Mainers.  My property there will, as long as I live, remain unposted, and it made me happy a few years ago to hear a brace of beagles in the cedar bog on the lower end of the property chasing a rabbit.   Also, Maine still has the rather unique rule that if property is not posted, then a person has the right to access it, unless asked to leave by the landowner.  Folks not from here sometimes have a problem grasping that.  Traditional use also means  access for hunting, fishing,trapping, and in later years snowmobiling.

There are alternatives to the National Park plan that can make everyone happy, proponents owe it to the State of Maine to explore them.

My perception is that the landowner  that wants to give away this land to the Feds prides herself on appearing radical.   I issue an even more radical proposal to counter the National Park one;

Native Americans were the first true environmentalists.

To the American Indian land ownership was nearly incomprehensible; this is probably why they were so terribly defrauded of it early on, and then later by continued false treaties. They held land in common as a tribe, but it was as if they were borrowing it from the Creator, and using it for the tribe’s benefit. In the same way hunting animals was in a sense, borrowing animals for their food from both the Creator, and the animal itself. They held animals in high regard generally—seeing them as fellow creatures.   source for quotes is [ www.melungeons.com/articles/american.htm]

Again, to the Indian you could no more own the earth than you could the sky, or the ocean. It was on loan to the people to keep in trust for the following generations. They might recognize a particular area as their domain, or hunting grounds, but they would never think of chopping it up into little sections where other members of the tribe would be excluded.

I challenge proponents to be even more radical,  and take us back to a time when land really was open for all to use. I challenge you to allow “unfettered access” to your land. It could be a model for other states to adopt, it would be taken up by the National and even the World media – and we could go back to being ‘ true’ environmentalists.  Ones that took only what was needed,  that hunted and fished and had unfettered access.   That would be a legacy well worth pursuing!!!

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