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!!!

3 Responses to Maine Park and Unfettered Access

  1. Chris says:

    I could not agree more with this. My camp is unlocked, the woodstove is ready to light, food in the pantry etc… I do the same with my ice shak during ice fishing. On more than one occasion I have come back to a couple of nice brown trout sitting on the shelf all frozen and ready for me to eat, or a container of moose meat or deer. The same sort of thing has happened at camp. A cord of wood all split and piled by the door, Someone once put plastic all around the base of the camp in the late fall for winter use. It made it a lot more cozy and warm in the winter. In most cases I don’t even know who did those things. It is a lifestyle that most could not conceive of. This fight against the National Park is something I never thought would happen in my lifetime.

  2. [...] 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. [...]

  3. [...] 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. [...]

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