View Full Version : Maine Woods National Park

04-27-2004, 12:51 PM
There is an article today in the Bangor Daily News re: the latest on the potential Maine Woods National Park, if anyone is interested.


Hope the link works --


04-28-2004, 09:24 PM
Interesting article. I'm not sure what to think about the idea other than that I wish to see the area preserved and left relatively undeveloped.

04-29-2004, 10:32 AM
Maine is relunctant to turn its land over to a distant bureaucracy. It has already amassed a combination of conservation easements, land held in conservation trusts and land acquired directly by the state. In the midst of a recession Maine's voters approved a $50 million bond issue to protect its natural resources.

This is a multifaceted approach that serves the diversity of timber, recreation, conservation and other interests and is a model that other states are looking at. The concept has been applied successfully elsewhere including here in Massachusetts.

While I don't agree with Restore's goals of a national park, I do think it has stimulated awareness and action that has led to improved logging practices, maintained recreational access, restricted and better planned development and conservation. There is a lot more land to protect but Maine seems to be on the right path.

04-29-2004, 05:47 PM
Having visited several National Parks in my lifetime, as i'm sure most of you have, I don't think a Maine Woods NP is the way to go. I dread the thought of having the area opened up to development and roadbuilding on the scale of Acadia National Park or Arches NP. I'm of the opinion that when you can buy ice cream at a restaurant like you can on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, some of the magic is lost.

Maybe the development at a Maine Woods NP wouldn't be as drastic as all that, but some amount of development would be necessary to provide access. For me, any kind of development has a negative impact on the surrounding area ecologically and aesthetically. I think Wilderness designation may be a better option.

04-30-2004, 02:59 AM
The Maine-iacs like the idea of the land being available for "traditional" uses, such as hunting and trapping (I wonder how many people there actually hunt or trap anymore? But I digress.), but if the lumber companies sell the land to private developers (read: oversized vacation homes), it's not going to be available to anyone save the owners.

I don't know that National Park status guarantees development. After all, Baxter State Park has been in existence a number of decades now (I believe there was similar opposition to its creation at the time) and there's not much in the way of development near its borders. I can't imagine that, nationwide, there would really be that many people rushing northeast to visit Maine Woods National Park, or a sudden surfeit (that is, one) of waterparks and miniature golf courses in Millinocket.

For those of us who would actually appreciate the opportunity to do some exploring in the area outside of Baxter, it would probably be better for us if the land were a national park. The one time I went on the Golden Road, it cost me eight bucks (out-of-state license plate), there was no map of the labyrinth of roads, and the landscape was pretty barren compared to the land inside the park. There were all sorts of warnings about staying out of the way of the logging trucks, and I can't imagine where I could have camped, if I'd so desired.

Better a national park than a bunch of "Private Property Keep Out" signs.

04-30-2004, 08:15 AM
Just wanted to respond to a few of Raymond's points. I agree with some: admittedly, North Maine Woods land is working forest, while BSP is "wilder within". But I respectfully disagree with several of Raymonds other points:

1. Hunting is still a big deal, trapping somewhat less so but it is still prevalent. Most folks from away driving to Sugarloaf pass right by a fur trader's business. If you don't believe in the prevalence of hunting, try coming up in season and bushwhacking without orange! :D

2. State park is not the same as national park! How many people here have heard of Arches National Park or Canyonlands National Park in UT? OK, how many have heard of Goblin Valley State Park, or Dead Horse Point State Park? In my personal experience, national parks draw many times more people, particularly on the international scale.

3. Thanks to the current private landowners, the North Maine Woods coalition has preserved public access. Traveling on the lumber roads costs less than national park entrance fees. See the North Maine Woods Sportsman's Map or DeLorme's Maine Atlas & Gazetteer (a must-have for many Mainers) if you want to know where you're going, or simply ask the friendly folk at the checkpoints. They really are helpful. Same thing goes for camping -- designated campsites are displayed on both of the above-referenced maps, and there is even a web page on the NMW site (http://www.northmainewoods.org/camping.html) setting forth further camping information.

I don't mean to criticize, and I'm going to try not to respond any further to this thread -- stating my opinions (and that's all they are) once is fine, but harping on them would be obnoxious.

And Raymond, the image of the mini-golf course outside Millinocket is priceless!

In all friendliness,

04-30-2004, 08:41 AM
Not every Nat'l Park is Acadia or Great Smokeys. There could be a lot of flexibility in a new NP set up as there has been in many parks newer than the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone -- and some preemptive development at the edge of a big park could prevent eventual development deeper inside. It might not be the answer, but maybe not for the general development fears being cited. NP status could offer a lot more protection clout than conservation easements. What is the ratio of Maine hunters to out-of-state hunters (if that even matters)?

04-30-2004, 09:18 AM
Normally, hunting is prohibited in National Parks. I think the carrying of firearms is also prohibited. This would be a BIG DEAL in Maine, which has (or used to have) the highest per capita NRA membership in the country.

04-30-2004, 10:00 AM
The one time I went on the Golden Road, it cost me eight bucks (out-of-state license plate),

Well it would've cost you $20 at Yosemite NP.

Mad Townie
04-30-2004, 05:12 PM
Being a native Mainer and living here for what some people consider too many years :D , I agree with el-bagr. I've hunted since I was about 10, and I know many, many Mainers who do. Many of them also fish, hike and climb (rock, mountain & ice), and the vast majority of the hunters I know have been strong conservationists for years. We're those bizarre people who actually take our SUVs where a car couldn't go! (That's why we got them.)

I won't pretend to speak for all natives, but many feel the National Park is the darling of out-of-staters or recent transplants, the kind of people who want to stop development after they've built their house.

It's a complicated situation, legally, conservationally (?????) and ethically. The idea that all paper mill workers can just get jobs in the park (service jobs, as in "serving the visitors") betrays a certain ignorance about people, independence and dignity.

OK, enough ranting for one day.

04-30-2004, 11:38 PM
I probably shouldn't say any more either, but I'll respond to a couple points:

They've been trying to discourage private automobile use in Yosemite for more than thirty years, so it's hardly fair to compare that case to the Maine Woods (aside from the fact that there's no real draw to the Maine Woods comparable to Yosemite anyway). Is the $20 fee per day, or per week, or what? I thought it was five dollars in Acadia for a week. I'm pretty sure it was eight dollars on the Golden Road per day.

If the paper mills close, the workers lose their jobs anyway. I haven't heard of anyone advocating the government taking anyone's land by force to establish a national park; it's just a way to keep it open for all to enjoy. Okay, so the hunters wouldn't enjoy it as much as they have, but again, if a bunch of vacation homes go in, that ends the hunting, too. I read several years ago that a lot of paper company land around Moosehead Lake had been sold and vacation homes had gone up. Isn't that pretty much the worst-case scenario? Unless it's your house, I guess.

Is Dead Horse Point State Park near Slate Peak in Washington? Or is that just Dead Horse Point? Anyway, Adirondack (State) Park is pretty well known, I dare say, and there are plenty of national parks that don't get many visitors. I think Isle Royale was at the bottom of the list, last I knew. I wonder how many more visitors there have been to Nevada's Great Basin since it became a national park. It doesn't seem fair to pick a few outrageously popular national parks and say that that's how a Maine Woods would be. I suppose there may be, um, [B]park[B]baggers.

I like the drive out of Millinocket to Togue Pond. That first time, I really felt as though I was going into the wilderness. I still remember that. I don't want to make that drive some day and have to pass either fast food places or mailboxes.

05-01-2004, 07:37 PM
Originally posted by Raymond
(aside from the fact that there's no real draw to the Maine Woods

then why do you care?

Acadia is $10 per day if you choose to go through the gated section of the park loop road. People seem to forget that the Maine Woods is not public land. Why does the public feel entitled to someone else's belongings? Currently, you can enjoy vast tracts of private land for free. A small fee being charged at only a few locations in the whole state is a pittance compared to other forms of entertainment. Private forests do the public good.

The lack of infrastructure between Millinocket and Togue Pond is b/c of BSP's mandate and minimal management.

A very specific, unusual state park should not be compared to a federal government installment made to accomodate the masses.


05-02-2004, 01:40 AM
Spencer, you left out the other half of my quote: "... comparable to Yosemite." Some had expressed concern that Maine Woods National Park would attract people from around the world, and were fearful of hordes of tourists coming across the Kittery bridge. I was pointing out that there's no Yosemite Valley/Yellowstone geyser-type attraction in the Maine Woods. Katahdin is a great mountain, but do European or Asian tourists fly in to look at it?

You also said said: "People seem to forget that the Maine Woods is not public land. Why does the public feel entitled to someone else's belongings?"

I never said l was entitled to the lumber companies' land. But the Mainers seem to believe that the land does belong to them. They're afraid that if the land became a national park, they wouldn't have the access to it they've gotten used to having. But it isn't their land it's the lumber companies', and it's only out of the goodness of the lumber companies' hearts, or because of some tax break or whatever, that there is any public access to it. (Is there a tax break? If so, then it's not free.) The Millinocket town manager, quoted in the article, says he wants a "working forest." There are a lot of things I want, too, but reality sometimes has its own idea.

This is from the August 29, 2003, Magic City (Millinocket) Morning Star:

"...the former Great Northern Paper mill in East Millinocket is being operated as Katahdin Paper Company, employing fewer than 400*people.*Together, the mills employed approximately 1,300 people when they were closed in late December of 2002.

The Millinocket mill remains closed."

Nice of them to wait until Christmas to close.

That's 900 people out of work because the mill closed, not because of RESTORE. If the lumber companies go out of business and sell the land to some development company, the forest doesn't "work," and access ends. Until you buy a house lot.

I don't know if a national park would be the proper course of action either, but I don't believe that parceling the land into building lots is the way to go.

05-03-2004, 02:54 PM
I doubt very much there will be any major "parceling out" of this land anytime in the foreseeable future. It is just too far to commute anywhere, the roads are gravel and hazardous moose lurk around every turn, the weather and blackflies are inhospitable, and why would anyone come there, let alone live there, when in the same time it takes to get to Millinocket one can be in Yosemite. I am concerned that large parcels get bought up for private resorts, like the Ausable Club in the Dacks, and then we're lucky to get to walk through the place.

Jim lombard
05-03-2004, 03:36 PM
Wouldn't a more appropriate name be "Maine Woods National Forest?" Why do they need two national parks? This is mostly about tourism anyway, hoping to draw more people to the state.

05-03-2004, 07:23 PM
I, as an out of stater, support the views of the folks from Maine. I think that this is a very difficult issue, and that those of us from "away" can't totally understand the complexity of all the issues. We have trouble maintaining the National Parks that we have now, since there have been budget cuts.
The logging roads are a challenge, but with a DeLorme Atlas, it can be quite an adventure to see some of the real back country. I would hate to see it developed into a National Park. :(