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Thread: Maine Woods National Monument

  1. #16
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    I went by the monument while driving up to the north gate this past weekend, no real signs of any changes. There are the discreet Katahdin Woods and Waters signs in few spots like at the RT 11 turn off in Medway and I think we saw the same signs in the Sherman and Patten area but I think they were in place previously. We also noticed the IAT signs along RT 159. The state is repaving the highway in the Sherman area. Lot of no and yes signs for the park designation still up. Since the last time I was up in Sherman there is new Irving Blue Canoe gas station at the Sherman Exit so there is some signs of economic prosperity in the area.

    I found the attached map to the BSP letter interesting as the designated trail less areas are contrary to a prior BSP proposal that would have built a trail from the end of the Twin Ponds Spur west between the Turners to a tie into the trail network and a new trail between Fort and Mullen from the Wassataquoik lake area to the NW basin trail. The new Turner Traveler Mtn trailess area pretty well shuts down any future connection between the new Lookout View sput in KWW just north of Wassataquoik stream and the spur to Grand Falls from the Russell Pond area.

  2. #17
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    First major economic activity related to the monument http://bangordailynews.com/2017/01/3...onal-monument/

    The CEO of LL Bean and Lucas St Clair have been ramping up visibility of late with respect to the monument. There is threatened congressional action to attempt to remove the monument status but most opinions I have seen is that the biggest impact will be for future designations. Given the current political climate, I don't see a National Park designation happening soon.

    Hopefully the monument and the new project will kick in some bucks for the Grand Lake Dam repairs http://www.katahdinoutdoors.com/dam/newsletter.html so that the river flow is still useful for boaters for most of the season. It always surprised me that EPI didn't buy this dam given that much of the monument's selling points were oriented to the river. Without the dam, the river would switch over to typical Northern Maine river where it floods during runoff and then becomes far less navigable during the summer season when folks are most interested in it.

    There have been claims by the owner of North Woods Real Estate that real estate activity and prices are picking up in the region from prior lows. I did run into a couple of folks at opening day at BSP headquarters that had picked up a home in Millinocket for use as a camp. Their observations were they really couldn't go wrong buying a place for so little. They are not the only ones according to some locals I talked to last year. When I look at the NWRE website, I see many of the same camps I have seen for years so not sure where the activity is. Brookfield Power was supposed to be selling leased lots back to leaseholders at some high but discounted price at one point but I haven't seen any results of this on what is on the market.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 01-31-2017 at 01:40 PM.

  3. #18
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    A couple of updates

    http://bangordailynews.com/2017/02/2...onal-monument/ (must resist political commentary)

    Some far nicer news is the potential reopening and upgrade of a nearby biomass power plant that has been mothballed for 10 years. http://www.pressherald.com/2017/02/1...northern-maine. There currently is almost no market for low grade wood chips in that region so they have plenty of potential feedstock. It is not a high value added product probably less than a pellet process and definitely far less than pulp and paper. It will be interesting to see how quickly the new EPA head dumps the current requirements that the NPS has to review new source emissions for the modified facility due to the proximity of the new national monument.

    http://www.pressherald.com/2017/02/1...orthern-maine/

    There are some really suspicious hints in the press release that the developer is overhyping it hopefully its just clueless PR agent as the area really doesn't need a new con man move in to area make big promises and then disappear. The hints are 1. I expect the 300 jobs number is total direct and indirect as Sherman Station at its peak had less than 50 employees. The activated carbon process is pretty simple so I don't see a lot of additional employees. 2. Sherman is actually a fairly small biomass power plant and there are many other larger privately held power plants all over the region (The plant in Berlin NH is private held and 75 MW) 3. The stated output of the plant only can occur in the winter as it has a significant operating limitation that will require considerable investment to cure which limits its output in warm weather.

    I guess the next clue is if the developer asks Maine for some sort of financing incentives.

  4. #19
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    I doubt the national monument designation can or will be reversed.

    As for administration, there is certainly precedent for a state agency administering lands in federal ownership. Mass DCR has a central role in adminstering lands owned by the feds, state, local and conservation trusts in the Waquoit Bay estuary on Cape Cod. There would have to be some compelling reasons to do it as momentum already seems to be building in the administration by the Park Service which strikes me, at least superficially, as getting off on the right foot in terms of consideration of local interests.

  5. #20
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    Another more significant announcement for East Millinocket http://bangordailynews.com/2017/03/0...omass-venture/

    For those driving up to Baxter and the Golden Road the East Millinocket mill and the surrounding town is a very in your face reminder that the reason for that town appears to have gone away. Most including the locals thought the end was here as the same demolition contractor that took down the Berlin Mill moved in recently to start major demolition of the remains of the former pulp mill. In general the entire timber industry of maine was being written off. The DOE had identified the entire northern tier of the US as a likely source of fossil fuel renewable replacements but fracking and its lesser known cousins directional drilling and enhanced recovery pretty well set those studies aside. This developer seems to have pretty good backing and I hope their plans fall into place. It may be the first air permit that runs into including the new national monument in the process.

    I hope it comes through and its not another con as that entire region has been jerked around way too many times. It is unusual timing given the change in DC.

  6. #21
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  7. #22
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    Limited logging... maybe an innocuous little coal mine or two? Good new jobs for Millinocket, cleaning the coal!

    Don't trust Ryan Zinke as far as you could throw him.
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  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scubahhh View Post
    Limited logging... maybe an innocuous little coal mine or two? Good new jobs for Millinocket, cleaning the coal!

    Don't trust Ryan Zinke as far as you could throw him.
    Not to worry, no coal in Maine, plenty of its precursor, biomass. If there was something valuable under the ground or on the property the resources would have been long gone by now. Various local groups are pushing to get clarifications regarding opening it up to timber production, hunting and recreational use. Unlike Percival Baxter's donation there does not appear to be a Deeds of Trust for KWW thus we get to trust the elected US Government for management oversight of the NPS.

  9. #24
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    Proposed Mine near KWW

    http://www.mainebiz.biz/article/2017...ional-monument

    There was very loose mining bill pushed before the Maine legislature to roll back very stiff regulations in effect. The substantial reduction in requirements had been requested by Irving, a very large landowner in Maine to potentially surface mine a similar deposit at Bald Mountain further north in the county. The legislature modified the proposed changes substantially to allow some underground mining while prohibiting surface mining. Irving claims that the new regulations are still too strict and have pulled back. This firm apparently seem to think they can make a go of it despite the new regulations. The reasons that Maine had such tough regulations is that they have a few abandoned mines with significant acid drainage issues. Unfortunately the environmental effects last long after the deposits are mined.

    For folks familiar with the north country of NH there is area called Copperville in Milan that had an active copper mine at one point which I believe is the same sort of deposit. It was an underground mine and reportedly there are still vertical shafts in the area although I expect they are filled with water if they haven't collapsed. The last owner of some of land (I am not sure if it was the entire mine site) was a Canadian entity that cut the timber and then let it go up for taxes. The town of Milan took the land over. There is old siding along the SLR track filled with piles of some sort of byproduct from the operation.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 09-13-2017 at 01:52 PM.

  10. #25
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    http://bangordailynews.com/2017/09/1...cial-forestry/

    I expect this is going to be controversial

  11. #26
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    Quite a few editorials and articles in the Maine press of late looking at the same data on visitors to the National Monument. The numbers are based on vehicle visits, so any vehicle driving past a monitoring spot is recorded as a visitor with a factor used to determine total visitors. There is no gatehouse that I am aware or charge to enter so the data quality is pretty minimal. It would be quite interesting to see statistics on how well the linkage between Acadia NP and KWW has worked. There was a lot of speculation that visitors to ANP would drive the extra 3 hours north and spend a few days at KWW. The town of Patten and local real estate agents in the Millinocket area claim there has been an uptick in real estate activity but that could just as easily be impacted by other drivers like cheap gas or a rising economy.

    http://bangordailynews.com/2017/11/3...o-state-parks/

    I did attempt to do a drive into the park this summer but signage from the Patten exit of the Interstate was non existent. Far more anti monument signs along the roads. If you do plan to visit, bring some paper maps as cell coverage is poor in the area so map aps dont work.

    I expect given the current political climate with respect to the new monuments, things will remain in flux for a couple of more years. In the meantime it sounds like if someone does visit, they dont need to worrry about crowds.

  12. #27
    Senior Member Brambor's Avatar
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    The drive in from Patten is the same as drive in to North Gate of Baxter State Park. The only difference is you take a right before the North Gate maintenance parking lot. That is if You want to drive into the monument in a car. In the winter and also in the summer people just park at the parking lot and either bike or ski into the monument. The road is gated in the winter to preserve the snow grooming of trails for skiing.



    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Quite a few editorials and articles in the Maine press of late looking at the same data on visitors to the National Monument. The numbers are based on vehicle visits, so any vehicle driving past a monitoring spot is recorded as a visitor with a factor used to determine total visitors. There is no gatehouse that I am aware or charge to enter so the data quality is pretty minimal. It would be quite interesting to see statistics on how well the linkage between Acadia NP and KWW has worked. There was a lot of speculation that visitors to ANP would drive the extra 3 hours north and spend a few days at KWW. The town of Patten and local real estate agents in the Millinocket area claim there has been an uptick in real estate activity but that could just as easily be impacted by other drivers like cheap gas or a rising economy.

    http://bangordailynews.com/2017/11/3...o-state-parks/

    I did attempt to do a drive into the park this summer but signage from the Patten exit of the Interstate was non existent. Far more anti monument signs along the roads. If you do plan to visit, bring some paper maps as cell coverage is poor in the area so map aps dont work.

    I expect given the current political climate with respect to the new monuments, things will remain in flux for a couple of more years. In the meantime it sounds like if someone does visit, they dont need to worrry about crowds.
    Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.

  13. #28
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    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/u...ears-ears.html

    This week, Bears Ears National Monument was slashed by 85%. Only 15% remains protected from resource extraction (mining. drilling)

    Grand Staircase-Escalante in one day went to half it's former protected size.

    Protected public lands are being taken and opened for resource extraction. From the NYT article:

    "The decision to reduce Bears Ears is expected to set off a legal battle that could alter the course of American land conservation, putting dozens of other monuments at risk and possibly opening millions of preserved public acres to oil and gas extraction, mining, logging and other commercial activities."

    What's the future of the Maine Woods National Monument? What does it mean for land to be "protected?"
    Humankind has not woven the web of life.
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  14. #29
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    I doubt it substantially impacts KWW as unlike the other national monuments, this is not a conversion of existing federally owned land (mostly BLM land), its an outright gift of private land. The reported potential impact would be more similar to switching the management from a National Monument preservation approach (forever wild with tourist amenities) to a National Forest approach (multiple use) which includes logging. Given that KWW has significant patches of regenerating stands from years of commercial forestry some responsible logging may not be bad thing but I expect that is up to debate. Arguably the stand types and distribution are artificial due to years of commercial management tilted to fir/spruce, appropriate forest management could shift the regeneration quicker to a more natural mix that approximates the desired "wild woods".

    It would be interesting if the donor has any legal recourse against the government if it switches the designation as the intent of the donor was definitely the preservationist approach.

  15. #30
    Senior Member Brambor's Avatar
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    I think that any logging in the monument that I would be in favor of is logging of small brush and small trees in order to promote mature forest result. Mature forest will hopefully provide larger shade to thwart brush growth and lower the loading of fire hazardous small growth while at the same time provide better experience for visitors to move through the forest and to admire mature growth of beautiful trees.
    Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.

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