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.