View Full Version : Maine Development

04-05-2005, 10:11 AM
Yikes - There are big plans for major development near Moosehead Lake reported in today's Boston Globe.


Everyone is trying to convert the world into Route One or a mall... :(

04-05-2005, 11:57 AM
Not good at all. What can we do about this? Call the senators??

04-05-2005, 12:21 PM
If you think that's bad...the Governor wants to give Plum Creek a tax break for that developement...


Baldacci's summary of the bill (LD 192)


and the local paper's take...


I may have to defect to Canada...

04-05-2005, 01:19 PM
Here's a thought. Try contacting whatever agency does environmental reviews in Maine, and ask them if they can divulge information on the number of subdivisions and other development projects that occur in Maine on a yearly basis. Maybe you could even ask for a small-scale map, for a visual of what land is being lost each year. Maybe they could tally up the total acreage that is lost to development. In New Hampshire it's huge, and it's threatening to get up into the Great North Woods pretty soon. Hopefully the state would be willing to let this information out - it should be public knowledge anyhow, but not summarized for people to look at. This could be a tool you can use to try to convince legislators, town councils, and so forth, who might be involved in zoning ordinances, that these things are not a good idea.

And here's another thought - whoever does not like this type of development should not himself or herself ever aspire to build a dream home in the mountains. Buy one that's already there, or drive there on the weekends from town.

I'm all for hunting and fishing and sustainable, ecosystem-based forestry, but development? Grrrr.....and that place was my backyard for 28 years.

04-05-2005, 01:51 PM
The Land USe Regulation Commission (LURC) may be the agency you're referring to. An article I read last week said they have never done and are not prepared to review a development of this size. I believe that's one of the reasons a 6 month stay is being pushed for.

info from LURC:


Tramper Al
04-05-2005, 01:52 PM
I hate to suggest it, but isn't this the reason that some are in favor of a National Forest in Maine? Or worse yet a National Park?

Was is realistic to think that the economic and demographic conditions that have allowed the Maine forests to be what they are today will remain unchanged indefinitely?

04-05-2005, 02:01 PM
I hate to suggest it, but isn't this the reason that some are in favor of a National Forest in Maine? Or worse yet a National Park?

I think if you look at those opposed to the National Park (me being one of them) it isn't preservation that is being opposed, it's *national* that's being opposed. There actually are other alternatives besides a National Park that many people are more open to.

Was is realistic to think that the economic and demographic conditions that have allowed the Maine forests to be what they are today will remain unchanged indefinitely?

No it isn't, but I believe the idea is to have some control over the development so we don't "pave paradise, put up a parking lot...."

Papa Bear
04-05-2005, 02:29 PM
...There actually are other alternatives besides a National Park that many people are more open to. It comes down to money Twig. No one's got that kind of cash except the Feds and Roxanne Quimby :( Seems like no native Mainers or groups - least wise the state - can put up any real $$. All I hear is taxes are too high already. The Nature Conservancy has done a good bit with the Saint John's watershed but now they have their own problems.

For years people have been in denial on this pont, believing that hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, camping, etc. on the paper companies' land would last forever. Guess what - the paper companies don't give a s***t about traditional uses and the "old" way of life. They want to cash out.

Time is running out. In 20 years the best will be gone. If any of these "alternatives besides a National Park" are viable, I wish they would come alive soon.

You have two models in the north east that from my perspective are reasonably successful, though hardly perfect: The NY State owned and administerd Adirondaks and the USFS Whites and Greens. Too late for the New York model in Maine with such a low tax base, so look at the NH or VT model long and hard and maybe swallow some nativist pride.

Remember (from the history books) the outcry (from private industray and politicians alike) in the early 20th century when the USFS and the Whites came in to being. IT was a stretch (based on the commerce clause of the US constitution with the specious argument the the rivers of NH somehow were part of interstate commerce) that it even passed constitutional muster.

Think what the Whites or Greens would be like today without the USFS running the place - say if it had been left in the hands of the timber industry (think condominiums, resorts, etc. everywhere), then translate that to Maine 20 years from now.

It's time to get involved.

04-05-2005, 02:44 PM
And if Quimby wants to give her land to someone, better the State or Baxter Park than the federal gov't. Or she could create a Quimby State Park with her own little set of rules.

The feds don't have the funding for a National Park in Maine, so it isn't really an option at this moment anyway. It isn't like the feds have offered something and we've rejected it. (that I know of, correct me if I'm wrong)

It's time to get involved.

I don't know what you mean by that, but I consider myself involved as much as my pocketbook and my mouth can be.

Papa Bear
04-05-2005, 03:00 PM
I don't know what you mean by that, but I consider myself involved as much as my pocketbook and my mouth can be.
I'm on your side Twigeater. But being a NY resident I don't get much say. But I do think (as is the case with the ANWR for example) that eventually these isues transcend political boundaries, whether it's the rain forest in Brazil, the north woods in Maine, or my own back yard.

And you're right, the Feds haven't offered a solution. But then, when many of Maine's politicians are against the idea on principal, why should they bother. It would take both senators, the US congressman, the state legislature and governor all working together to get something done. I fear that is not very likely any time soon enough to make a difference.

Maybe TNC's is the right approach. If Mainers like private property vs. state or federal owned land, then look to the foundations and Quimbys. Not to say we should not get involved in the political process as well. I guess I'm saying it will take both a public and private effort for there to be real hope.


04-05-2005, 03:17 PM
It is true that part of the reason the feds won't look at Maine is because the people of Maine and our congressional delegation are against it.
One of my objections to any national designation is the hoards I imagine it will bring (like at Acadia)...so according to some, those are our choices - we can have hoards of people in the woods or hoards of condos - I don't believe either, I believe we can do better.

This is one way to have a say...


or somewhat of a say anyway, anyone is allowed to be a member and/or donate money, but only landowners in the affected counties can vote.

I guess I'm saying it will take both a public and private effort for there to be real hope.

I agree! :)

04-05-2005, 04:07 PM
There is plenty of competition to travel at least five hours (from Boston to Moosehead Lake) and the market for the Moosehead Lake region is very limited. Plum Creek can serve part of that market and even give it a slight boost but those are very limited numbers and they represent a very long term development. Much of that development will happen anyway. Already the AMC is probably stimulating it unwittingly but I don't think it is creating a development boom.

In my opinion it would be preferable to have a sound long term development plan than to rely on ad hoc development. A good plan can protect sensitive areas, can concentrate development rather than create a new sprawl, can preserve what is appealing about the region and can preserve existing multi-use of timber and recreation. There must be a rural version of sustainable development principles that could be the framework for a Plum Creek plan.

My reaction is to seek more information and to keep an open mind. A sound long term plan with compensating benefits is better than no plan at all.

04-05-2005, 04:17 PM
In my opinion it would be preferable to have a sound long term development plan than to rely on ad hoc development. A good plan can protect sensitive areas, can concentrate development rather than create a new sprawl, can preserve what is appealing about the region and can preserve existing multi-use of timber and recreation.

I agree - this may be the kick that LURC needs to do just that.

04-05-2005, 08:31 PM
Remember Larry McDougal (I think that was his name) of the Arkansas Whitewater Real Estate Corp? He went up to Campobello I. (New Brunswick), not all that far from BSU, in the '80s and bought a big chunk of land with the idea that he'd develop a resort. Only problem was that not all that many people wanted to vacation on a cold, foggy island off the Maine coast, and most of Campobello is still for sale. All of Casco Bay I. is for sale ($4.5M US), and no takers yet. Maine is different, I know, and that's not to say long term planning is not in order. But I think there's time if it starts now.

Pig Pen
04-05-2005, 08:40 PM
Well I like thrashing around in the woods as much as the next guy, but I don't expect Plum Creek Timber Company to make financial sacrifices on my account. I support their right to do what ever they want with their own property. As I would expect them to respect my property rights (not that I have much property). I sure hope that I can still get Big and Little Spencer though.

Papa Bear
04-05-2005, 10:20 PM
Hey PB,

Maybe you can get a 5-acre lot right at the summit of Baker MtnActually Roy, the AMC got that piece already.

On a more serious note, the group I like is NFA: the Northern Forest Alliance.

Here's a map that show critical areas they are working to protect in the North East:


Note that they work in the 4 states which incudes the "northern forest". Some areas in Maine, such as #8 (St. John's River watershed) and 9 ("Greater" Baxter) have some real protection thanks to TNC and others. Others (like #7, Rangeley area) are not so good. They skip Moosehead Lake, I assume since it is rather accessible (also because they obviously can't do everything).

Check out their site: Northern Forest Alliance (http://www.northernforestalliance.org/explore.htm) for more details. And yes, give them some money. I like the targeted approach they have and I like their goals:

The Alliance's priorities are threefold:

1. To conserve Wildlands in the Northern Forest to help protect the forest's ecological integrity,and support its recreational opportunities and the sustainability of its timber production.

2. To encourage well managed private forests to support the forest-based economy, including high-value timber products, recreation tourism, and the jobs these industries support.

3. To build strong, diverse, locally-based economies that support vibrant communities throughout the Northern Forest.
#2 and #3 are important and often overlooked.


04-06-2005, 07:51 AM
While much of the plan is a thinly veiled attempt to get Maine citizens to actually applaud this development, this sort of long-term thinking is crucial for our changing natural resource-based economy.

A lot of thought has gone into this plan and while none of us want to see First Roach Pond get subdivided, something has to give to be able to "afford" 17 million acres of forest land (well, maybe now 16 million).

If you don't like it, stop having kids and expecting perpetual growth out of our economic models.

I for one will have kids with lower consumption rates and will keep working on what I do best: learning how to increase our forest productivity and efficiency.


04-06-2005, 08:49 AM
Another org besides Northern Forest Alliance is the Maine Forest Society (http://www.fsmaine.org/) -- I don't have much experience with either one but in NH we have SPNHF and it is arguably the organization which has made the most difference in pursuing protected lands in our state.

IMHO if you are concerned about development you need to put up ($$$ or time/energy) or shut up.

04-06-2005, 03:37 PM
Actually Roy, the AMC got that piece already.

I think you are wrong, the map from the Globe http://www.boston.com/news/local/maine/articles/2005/04/05/Proposed_subdivision
seems to show Baker Mtn within the new subdivision. The AMC land is only nearby:

04-07-2005, 11:49 AM
It's difficult to assess what the correct strategy should be. I own a cabin on leased land, so I have a financial interest in this, as well as being interested from the general 'access availability' point of view.

While I agree that land owners need to be able to do what they want, it's difficult to watch as large-scale development becomes a likelihood. Also, other land owners who have the good intent of making their land into "park" areas, also have their own agendas that change the traditional access and usage of the area.

Change is inevitable, but should be managed, if possible, in the best interest of all. Gov. Baldacci set up a task force in November 2004 to advise on this, the Task Force on Traditional Uses and Public Access to Land in Maine. The task force was supposed to issue a mid-point report in February. I don't know what was in the report, but have requested a copy.

Papa Bear
04-08-2005, 05:21 PM
Yesterday I downloaded the complete 570 page PDF file (133 Mb) of this proposal. You want it? Here's the link: Plum Creek Proposal (http://www.bangornews.com/assets/plumcreek2.pdf) I sugget you right click on this link and select "Save Link As" (or "Save Target as" if you still use IE) and then go out for a walk. I have broadband and it took 25 minutes to download.

It's impressive. It's not really a development proposal, it's a land use proposal for 30 years. Most development is concentrated around Moosehead lake and a few other lakes. There's a lot of interesting detail and I couldn't begin to critique the plan with out much more study and local information. Suffice it to say it's food for thought.

Here's the general map on resource use:


See the next note for links to detailed maps.

One of the most interesting sections is the far right block which is cross hatched. This is called "The Roaches" and is set aside for potential purchase by the State. It's location between state land (Nahmakanta lake), AMC land and the AT puts it in a critical place and in my estimation is worth conserving. If you agree then perhaps this is where you voice ought to be heard.

The next few notes will link maps, mention new hiking trails, and a word on the bulk of the forest ("No development/Working Forest") and what that entails.

Papa Bear
04-08-2005, 05:27 PM
Use this index map and the links below for detailed maps:


Map 1 (http://gallery.backcountry.net/albums/papabear_2005_Plum_Creek/aac.jpg)
Map 2 (http://gallery.backcountry.net/albums/papabear_2005_Plum_Creek/aad.jpg)
Map 3 (http://gallery.backcountry.net/albums/papabear_2005_Plum_Creek/aae.jpg)
Map 4 (http://gallery.backcountry.net/albums/papabear_2005_Plum_Creek/aaf.jpg)
Map 5 (http://gallery.backcountry.net/albums/papabear_2005_Plum_Creek/aag.jpg)
Map 6 (http://gallery.backcountry.net/albums/papabear_2005_Plum_Creek/aah.jpg)
Map 7 (http://gallery.backcountry.net/albums/papabear_2005_Plum_Creek/aai.jpg)
Map 8 (http://gallery.backcountry.net/albums/papabear_2005_Plum_Creek/aaj.jpg)
Map 9 (http://gallery.backcountry.net/albums/papabear_2005_Plum_Creek/aak.jpg)

Papa Bear
04-08-2005, 05:38 PM
The proposal incudes easements and a plan to build 55 miles of hiking trails.

On this map the yellow dotte line is the planned trail (blue is for snowmobiles):


Here's a quote from the proposal (I've highlighted the mountains mentioned):
To create a permanent, world-class, Peak-to-Peak trail system around much of
Moosehead Lake, with connections to:

The Appalachian Trail (to form loop trails)
The Tourist Facility in Lily Bay Township
The Proposed Western Mountain trail (to Rangeley)

The Peak-to-Peak trail route on Plum Creek land follows the height of land
wherever appropriate. There are trailheads along the route to make the trail
accessible and spur trails to link it to key features, again for ease of access. A brief description of the route, beginning at Rockwood, follows: (Please note that the exact route needs to be determined later; this description is approximate.)

From Rt. 6/15 in Rockwood the trail heads south and west, along the Blue

It then turns southeast to cross the West Outlet at the railroad crossing at
Somerset Junction.

From West Outlet it follows the river to Round Pond, before tracking east
to cross the East Outlet at Rt. 6/15.

It then parallels the Kennebec East Outlet River before turning due south,
west of Burnham Pond, to travel to the summit of Big Squaw Mountain.

From the summit, the trail descends on Plum Creek land before crossing
onto Public Reserve Land held by the State.

The next segment of the trail is 9 miles long through Greenville, partly on
Plum Creek land, but not in the Plan Area; the trail crosses Rt.6/15 at
Greenville’s planned Natural Resource Center – an important trail head
with parking, provisions and information center – and then heads north
and east to West Bowdoin College Grant.

North of Rum Pond and south of Upper Wilson Pond the trail climbs the
Blue Ridge, descends to South Brook and then climbs abruptly to the top
of Elephant Mountain.

It then crosses a short segment of AMC land, near Baker Pond, and heads
northeast to skirt the Lily Bay and Number Four Mountain summits, before continuing northeast to Bluff Mountain, and then down to the County Road on the south side of First Roach Pond; a trailhead is located there;

From the east arm of First Roach Pond the trail climbs Shaw Mountain, Long Ridge and Trout Mountain.

After crossing the Roach River between Second and Third Roach Ponds
the trail heads north, off Plum Creek land to publicly-owned land in the
Nahmakanta region, where it could connect up with the Appalachian Trail.

The two spur trails are:
the trail from the proposed tourist facility to the top of Number Four Mountain is 6.75 miles; and

the Bluff Mountain to White Cap trail which links the Peak-to-Peak to the
Appalachian Trail is 6 miles.

(These trail locations are shown on the Resource Plan Summary map and on Detail Maps
in this document.)

Papa Bear
04-08-2005, 05:44 PM
Here's a quote (in part) of this section. It's hard to identify what is covered by this. Plum Creek says basically it's everything not covered by the developmet plans. IMHO, this is the most important part of the proposal.

The No Development/Working Forest (ND/WF) Zone

The purpose of the ND/WF zone to establish a forest management zone where
sustainable forest practices can occur, in unfragmented areas, unimpeded by
development – over a very long time period. Such a zone offers predictability, a
guaranteed “wood basket,” recreational opportunity and resource (natural
character) protection.

This new zone covers all of Plum Creek’s land in the Plan Area except that
designated for development or protection. This amounts to about 80% of the Plan
Area or about 382,000 acres (or 597 square miles). Another 9% of the Plan Area
is under conservation protections.

The zone, in effect and in reality, mirrors LURC’s Resource Plan Protection
subdistrict model, while also mimicking the concept behind an M-NC subdistrict,
a LURC district in which all development is prohibited. All residential
development in the ND/WF zone is prohibited. The M-NC designation, like this
proposal, can only be achieved voluntarily, at the owner’s behest.

The ND/WF zone will be put in place upon approval of this Resource Plan. It is
intended to be in effect for 30 years. There are renewal provisions for successive
20 year periods.

So as to provide for public input at the end of the 30 year period, provision is
made for either Plum Creek (or future owners) or LURC to call for a public
hearing (or hearings) to discuss if the Plan’s ND/WF provisions should be
renewed, modified or terminated. Any such decision to renew, modify or
terminate, however, will be in the hands of the Commission. Furthermore, as
long as this Plan is in effect Plum Creek (or future owners) may not amend the
Plan to allow for any residential development in the ND/WF zone.

Papa Bear
04-13-2005, 09:08 PM
In the New York Times today there was an article (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/13/national/13walmart.html) about Wal-mart donating $35 million for land conservation. The headline was so unlikely that I skipped the article till tonight.

In it there was a mention of some $6.1 milion for land conservation in Maine between holdings in New Brunswick and existing Maine conserved land.

Some $6 million of the money will be spent on an agreement to protect 312,000 acres of contiguous land between 600,000 acres of protected land in New Brunswick, Canada, and 200,000 acres protected by the State of Maine. The purchase will create an area of roughly 1 million acres of protected land, with more than 50 lakes, 1,500 miles of rivers and streams and 54,000 acres of wetlands, home to 10 percent of Maine's famous loon population.

"I cannot overstate the importance of this," John Berry, the executive director of the foundation, said of the Maine agreement. "This is like a Noah's Ark for Eastern wildlife species, everything from big stuff like moose to frogs and salamanders."
So I checked the Bangor News Article (http://www.bangornews.com/news/templates/?a=111993) and sure enough here is the interesting part:

The Downeast Lakes Forestry Partnership will be among the first beneficiaries, receiving $6.1 million for its 339,000-acre conservation project in Washington County.

With 50 lakes, 1,500 miles of rivers and streams and 50,000 acres of wetlands, the area to be protected "is a veritable Noah's ark for future generations," said John Berry, executive director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, in announcing the Maine grant Tuesday.

The project, begun by a group of Washington County guides, will lock up development rights while continuing traditional fishing, hunting and logging on the land, said Stephen Keith, executive director of the Downeast Lakes Land Trust in Grand Lake Stream.

"This is the best way of assuring outdoor recreation in the future ... having these lands open to the public and keeping an intact forest available," he said.

The $35 million pledged by Wal-Mart will be administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a private nonprofit group created by Congress in 1984 to leverage federal dollars for conservation projects. The foundation plans to raise another $35 million to match the Wal-Mart money, but said it would start off by putting $8.8 million from Wal-Mart toward a $20.5 million project to conserve land in five locations, including the one in Maine.


The Maine grant is crucial for the Down East effort to place a working forest easement on 312,000 acres and to buy 15,335 acres. More than 12,000 acres already have been purchased, much of it along the St. Croix River, but partners have been struggling to raise the remaining funds needed to close on the project's final and largest component in late May.

Maine's push to conserve its forests with huge easements in recent years has left donors tapped out, said Amos Eno of the New England Forestry Foundation, one of the partners.

With the Wal-Mart funds now assured, only $5.8 million stands in the way of one of the largest land conservation deals in American history, Eno said.

"This is getting us within striking distance," Eno said.Any of you Mainers know about this group or the area in question? I know down east is a bit out of normal hiking territory.


04-14-2005, 07:22 AM
It's mostly the hunting/fishing brand of outdoor recreation. There isn't a whole lot of good hiking in the downeast region except the couple of obvious places right on the coast and a few local-type hills.

There are many rivers and lakes worth protecting though and now that IP sold all it's holdings (mostly Downeast) and GMO took them over, there is even more concern about the area's future. For what it's worth, IP is still managing the lands on a contractual basis.

The bit on NPR I heard about the Wal-Mart donation said Wal-Mart's idea was to offset the exact footprint of every Wal-Mart store, warehouse, parking lot, etc. There are feelings that they've impacted many wetland/wildlife areas and have thus pledged to protect the same number of acres in places that need it.

Commendable, but it doesn't fix the long-term societal impacts of the big-box stores (most notably Wal-mart). but I won't start that thread...

As for the Downeast Lakes Forestry Partnership, it's a coalition of several small land-trusts, recreation interests and New England Forestry Foundation. You can read more about it on NEFF's site (http://www.newenglandforestry.org/projects/dlfp.asp).


04-14-2005, 09:32 AM
I read a Wal Mart article yesterday, but didn't get much in the way of details...

I've hiked quite a bit in downeast Maine and am happy to hear about this group - thanks for the info and links papa bear and spencer. I'm a member of the Quoddy Regional Land Trust http://www.mltn.org/trustdetails.asp?id=1261 and it's nice to hear that there is a larger group out there intent on preserving that area. I was dismayed to read a few years ago when way downeast was featured in Yankee magazine that the area was being promoted as "the next Bar Harbor."

Right after that there was a noticeable increase in tourism in the area - not all for the best I might add - RVs overnighting at day use areas, overflowing parking lots, etc. I still notice more people visiting the area, but not like that first year. Cobscook Bay State Park used to be one of Maine's best kept secrets and you could drive up any time and get a gorgeous site on the ocean. Not any more. The gate person always recognized me, though I'd only go there once a year.

I absolutely LOVE the area, and could easily spend two weeks hiking and exploring. Though the area doesn't offer anything for the peak bagger it has many hiking opportunities in gorgeous areas, places to explore, camp, kayak...I'm going in July this year and can't wait.

A friend of mine from another site asked "what to do" in downeast Maine...I avoid Acadia, but sent him four pages of info on "what to do" once you take a left off rte 3 and head to the east'ard.

Tramper Al
04-14-2005, 09:41 AM
I confess that when I see a map like the one PapaBear posted above, my first thought is: "Hey, what's that yellow trail, and when can I hike it?".

This other fellow wants to build a 180 mile groomed XC trail from Newry to Rockwood, with full service huts and saunas every 20 miles or so. So, I find myself wishing that the project will fail right after he secures access and marks the 180 mile trail, but before he buys a groomer or breaks ground on the first hut. Terrible, I know.

Papa Bear
04-14-2005, 09:51 AM
I confess that when I see a map like the one PapaBear posted above, my first thought is: "Hey, what's that yellow trail, and when can I hike it?".Yeah, that looks interesting. The detailed map shows it going over Baker (see the top right corner of Map 8) as well as the peaks mentioned. But I guess there's a down side to everything. Several 3000ers have told me Lily Bay was one of the hardest buswhacks in the entire 770. Now it will be a walk up. But having the area conserved in the no development zone is more important IMHO.


06-01-2005, 12:35 PM
:eek: One of my co workers just stopped by and asked if I did this:


(but no, I didn't)