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Thread: Maine Huts & Trails

  1. #1
    Tramper Al
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    Maine Huts & Trails

    Maine Huts & Trails

    The Trail

    First of all, I am happy to admit that if there were today a 180 mile ski trail from Newry to Rockwood, Maine, I'd be planning like hell to get out there and ski it end-to-end.

    Now, it's a non-profit effort, but it's big time development, no question.

    If it were up to me, the trail would be subtly marked, entirely backcountry, and always ungroomed. I wouldn't mind if there were a lean-to every 8 or 12 miles.

    The proposal is for staffed log cabin huts, with full board and a turn in the sauna. And grooming the trail seems to be a big part of the plan.

    Who would ski the trail if it were there?
    Who will say it's evil to built such cushy accomodations in the woods of Maine?

    Can of worms opened.
    Last edited by Tramper Al; 09-28-2004 at 11:25 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member sli74's Avatar
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    I would ski the trail but probably wouldn't use "cushy" accomodations very frequently if they were there . . . I am more into the backpacking deal . . . But if they build it I will come

    Hey Tramper, almost done with the Catamount and you are already looking forward to the next ski adventure?

    sli74
    LIFE, I shall persevere! Everytime you knock me down, I will get up stronger.

  3. #3
    Tramper Al
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    Hah!

    Originally posted by sli74
    I would ski the trail but probably wouldn't use "cushy" accomodations very frequently if they were there . . . I am more into the backpacking deal . . . But if they build it I will come

    Hey Tramper, almost done with the Catamount and you are already looking forward to the next ski adventure?

    sli74
    Not really 'almost done' with the Catamount, but I always like to have a next big trail in mind!

    I agree that something like this must have low (no) cost primitive options available for the more primitive and ambitious among us.

  4. #4
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    yes it is evil to do this to western Maine and the beautiful Bigelow preserve.

    Larry Warren wants to utilize the Preserve as part of the trail. Currently, motorized vehicles other than those used for timber harvesting and snowmobiles are not allowed. That would have to change to allow the groomers in. And why should this guy get to use public land in for his own purposes?
    What are his real motives? I don't see how this fully staffed hut system will benefit anyone but Larry Warren.

    The region is already a well known "eco-tourism" area, just in a much quieter way than it will be if this goes through.

    I am against this proposal, but can't say if I would use the hut system or not if it came to be.

    I proudly display my "RESTORE BOSTON: leave our Maine way of life alone!" bumper sticker, and this falls right in the same category.

    Nope, I do not like change...

  5. #5
    Tramper Al
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    The Bigelow Preserve

    Yes, he does have his sights on traversing the Bigelow Preserve. From the news reports, it looked as if he made a decision to bipass the Preserve (due to fierce opposition), and spent a year negotiating with the Penobscot nation (without success) for an alternate route. Now he is back to the Bigelows it seems. I naively wonder why a BC XC trail has to be six feet wide and power-groomed to succeed? I guess even the power grooming is controversial though, yes, as the Preserve is currently used by snowmobilers, right? We even encountered a big power-groomer (for snowmobiles) in there last winter, but I'm not positive we were over the line into the Preserve at the time.

    It is certainly a very diferrent approach than that taken by the group who develped the Catamount Trail in Vermont.

    Catamount Trail

    Other than the Bigelows, the great majority of the proposed trail miles are through private (corporate) land. Is it reasonable to assume that Maine's 'way of life' in these woods will continue indefinitely, regardless of changing market forces? I'm not suggesting that this project is the only or even a good alternative.
    Last edited by Tramper Al; 10-05-2004 at 08:29 PM.

  6. #6
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    He didn't make that decision to bypass the Bigelow preserve on his own, he was asked to try and negotiate something with the Penobscots by DOC and Friends of Bigelow. If he couldn't hammer out something with them, then he could come back and further discuss the Bigelow preserve. There was a MOU signed to that effect.

    The ski groomer is simply not allowed as the Bigelow Act stands today. There will be legislation submitted this session to change the Act to allow the groomers in.

    Also, if you follow your link to some of the news articles you'll read that LURC is viewing this as a commercial sporting camp.

    If his plan excluded the Bigelow Preserve, and wasn't for the palatial estates called "huts" it wouldn't be so bad...and why do the trails need to be groomed? and this not for profit, boost the local economy while still maintaining the local beatuy, crap...

  7. #7
    Senior Member cooperhill's Avatar
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    Re: Maine Huts & Trails

    Originally posted by Tramper Al
    Who will say it's evil to built such cushy accomodations in the woods of Maine?
    ME! no more huts please.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Nadine's Avatar
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    Re: Maine Huts & Trails

    If it were up to me, the trail would be subtly marked, entirely backcountry, and always ungroomed. I wouldn't mind if there were a lean-to every 8 or 12 miles.

    Ahhhh, my sentiments exactly!
    Anything more is too much.

  9. #9
    Senior Member vegematic's Avatar
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    Living just a few miles from the proposed southern terminus of this trail, the thought of it makes me cringe. Based on my own experience, compared to the Whites the backcountry of western Maine is lightly traveled, and the users tend to be more experienced and impose less trauma on the resource. (Note that I'm talking in generalities here, and that there are noteable exceptions). I think a major reason for this is that there is not a "safety net" of full-service lodges and other amenities in the western Maine backcountry to attract users who are not otherwise equipped with adequate skills, gear, or backcountry ethics.

    I could be excited about a simple trail with lean-tos. I don't even think I'd mind if the trail was groomed where it is legal to do so. But full meals and saunas? Yikes!

    My two cents. Fire away.
    vegematic
    If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat

  10. #10
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    This relates more to the national park debate, but in September the Governor created a task force on traditional uses and public access to lands in Maine. All meetings are open to the public and before recomendations are made (by Sept 2005) there will be a public hearing.
    I don't have a link yet...

  11. #11
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    I haven't read the details of this project but it strikes me as a good way to increase the recreational draw of Maine. There are lots of options for downhill skiers, lots of options for snowmobilers, lots of options for snowshoe hikes, lots of day long xc ski possibilities, and as post'r boy points out, plenty of choices for the "set out and ski" crowd but few options for long distance xc skiers who would prefer not to backpack or camp out.

    I don't agree with the objection to some staffed facilities. In addition to the convenience that some would appreciate, staffing offers a search and rescue tool. I can envision a route containing a mix of self service and full service facilities. I can't see the boreal forest suffering for it. On the contrary, the more people that see it for what it is the more support there'll be for its conservation.

    Hey, I'd prefer a well stocked cabin with a roaring fire in the fieldstone fireplace but aside from that, a yurt or hogan would be a nice way to end a day. What is the Catamount Trail like in this regard ... inn to inn?

    Am I misreading a bit of snobbery into the objections to marked trails and staffed facilities?

  12. #12
    Tramper Al
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    Trails and such

    I appreciate the comments - they already run over quite a wide range.

    Originally posted by Stan
    What is the Catamount Trail like in this regard ... inn to inn?
    The Catamount Trail is not without the comforts (or trappings) of fine lodging. It's course is quite varied, such that a few sections have access to primitive lean-tos or the odd cabin, others have no designated camping areas, and still others pass world class Inns and B&Bs. So, yes, Inn to Inn skiing is quite possible through some sections. By going through some XC ski centers, the Catamount skier does incur some day use fees (though at half price for Catamount members).

    Originally posted by Stan
    Am I misreading a bit of snobbery into the objections to marked trails and staffed facilities?
    No, I don't think you are MISreading this at all. Does anyone else get the feeling that for some individuals the only acceptable level of comfort, convenience, and cost to have available to all of us is the one that that individual wants for himself, today anyway?

    Originally posted by Stan
    I can't see the boreal forest suffering for it. On the contrary, the more people that see it for what it is the more support there'll be for its conservation.
    What do people think, is Stan on to something here?
    Last edited by Tramper Al; 10-04-2004 at 08:25 PM.

  13. #13
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    My objection is to the desire of some to take beautiful wild areas that are currently enjoyed in the manners described (skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, camping, etc) and developing them until they become a zoo similar to areas around Mt Washington, all the while saying how they love Maine, and this is for the good of Maine...

    link to the task force mentioned in my earlier post

    So what does everyone think about the road to Roaring Brook campground being cut off? Or would people like to see an auto road up Katahdin?

    I'm also curious how our "wants" change with age...were you once an avid winter tent camper, who now, 20 years older, prefers a cabin with a wood stove? Perhaps a purist who always hauled their own sled in winter, now paying a guide to haul it in...
    just some food for thought...

  14. #14
    Tramper Al
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    Very good points, Twig, and thanks for the link.

    Originally posted by twigeater
    My objection is to the desire of some to take beautiful wild areas that are currently enjoyed in the manners described (skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, camping, etc) and developing them until they become a zoo similar to areas around Mt Washington, all the while saying how they love Maine, and this is for the good of Maine...
    I have to say, I find a fundamental difference between motorized and non-motorized recreation (and you see one representative of each camp is to be on that task force). So, when I think of and then hear and smell snowmobiles, and constantly jump to safety off the trail as they however politely roar up to join me in my non-motorized recreation, it seems a clear distinction for me. We all have our own notion of what makes a 'zoo'.

    I personally would be fine with no driving to Roaring Brook, as it is in winter. However, that would mean that my moderate-distance hiking father would never see Chimney Pond. I don't think anyone is suggesting a road up Katahdin.

    Originally posted by twigeater
    I'm also curious how our "wants" change with age...were you once an avid winter tent camper, who now, 20 years older, prefers a cabin with a wood stove? Perhaps a purist who always hauled their own sled in winter, now paying a guide to haul it in...
    just some food for thought...
    Yes, I think this is an important issue. Do each of us lobby to keep access to the woods just as we and our friends are currently wanting to enjoy it? Or do we think of others and their abilities as well? Even just thinking of myself, these 'wants' change with the passage of time.
    Last edited by Tramper Al; 10-05-2004 at 08:34 PM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Mad Townie's Avatar
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    Ah, the age-old question of balance. These really do become very personal issues, don't they?

    I'm one who likes the Roaring Brook road the way it is. Yes, it allows more people to summit Katahdin, and some of them are ill prepared and ill equipped, but I'm not sure turning the climb into a 16 mile trudge will solve things. I tend to think it will just eliminate older and younger people, and since I'm tending to the older end, I have a vested interest! And I've said this here before (probably too often), but both my kids first summitted K at age 7, and my son's first trip to Chimney Pond was at age 4. Moving the trailhead back would have prevented that for several years, and I think that in turn would have affected their development of their love for the wilderness and the mountains.

    So yes, I do think our "wants" change with age, and with things like disability, too. I think of my brother's last climb of Katahdin in the early 80s, before MS made it impossible for him. He had the early symptoms then but was just able to do the circuit from Roaring Brook, across the Knife Edge and down Taylor. Now he has the memories but not the mobility. Do I think they should allow ATVs up there so that he could go again? NO. Being a native, though, I have lots of relatives who own and use ATVs, snowmobiles, and even those damned little jet boats. They're good people, but they have a different idea of recreation than I do.

    A lot of this is about sharing, about each activity having its place and/or time. For example, I have no problem with the "no hunting" rule in most of the park, yet I hunt in the Millinocket area every year. I believe some lakes have "no motors" rules, yet motors are a traditional and important part of the Allagash history. In the early '50s, the fishing limit up there was 15 fish! Things change.

    We can "all just get along" if we're not too intent on keeping everything for ourselves, the way "I" want it. The hard part is splitting it up in a way that most people consider fair, and knowing that we will never please everyone.
    Mad Townie

    Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary. - H. D. Thoreau

    Easy trails, nice days and comfort are good, too. - M. Townie

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