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.





One Response to Maine’s Proposed Park Size Debacle

  1. Chris says:

    I would venture to say the park will grow from the proposed 70,000 acres. Here is a good question for you…. Have any shrunk in size?? Seeing as there are proposals and web pages all over the place promoting a 3.2 million acre park I would assume that that is the immediate goal. I just read on one website that they would like to see 26 million acres of Northern Maine become part of this park. It says and I quote “Be unreasonable and demand this 26 million acres become a national park” The article goes on to explain that the goal is to take it all. Ruin the economy of Northern Maine and depopulate it so it can be taken over by the National Park. All the land should be preserved North of Bangor. They are willing to take the steps to make this happen and are actively working towards it. This is a form of enviro terrorism. The tide is turning against groups like this but they continue to make some headway around the world. Here in Northern Maine, and dare I say Maine as a whole we can put a stop to this type of activity. A working forest for almost 400 years it is still one of the most beautiful places on the planet because of the stewardship of great Maine Natives. Today we have access to this tremendous natural resource by car, truck, ATV, Snowsled, etc… we can hunt it, fish it, Hike it, cross country ski it, photograph it, canoe it, kayak it, or use it virtually any way we want to. A National Park brings with it restrictions that would end many of those recreations, and render it completely unuseable by anyone with a handicap. The only way to stop this from happening is to stop any National Park from getting a foothold in the Great North Maine Woods. Preserve our Maine Traditions. We are like no other place on this blue planet. Sign the petition on this website, and support the efforts of anyone fighting this National Park. Vote against it whenever you can, donate money to any group fighting it, give what you can… Whether it be time, money, voice, or whatever you can. No donation of any kind is too little or to great. Don’t let any one, or any group take this away from all of us.

Dedicated to the Preservation of Traditional Use in the North Maine Woods Follow us Facebook Twiter YouTube RSS