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Thread: Plumb Creek Plans in the Dustbin of History

  1. #1
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Beginning and End

    Plumb Creek Plans in the Dustbin of History

    The planned 1000-home build out of vacation homes on/around Moosehead Lake is dead.

    A victim of economics, distance from population centers, and reality.

    RIP. Here's the story...
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Gorham NH
    That is good news for the conservation community. Probably not so good news for Greenville that was hoping to be the regional hub for the high end development. AMC was a benefactor of the deal in that Plum Creek sold them a block of land in the 100 Mile Wilderness adjoining the AT to gain some favor with some parts of the public and presumably reduce the potential of opposition from AMC and possibly ATC.

    Plum Creek was more focused on splitting off high end wilderness developments. They were reportedly quite successful out west, generally on wilderness rivers for fly fishing that exploded in popularity after the "River Runs Through It" movie came out. These areas were even more remote than the Moosehead area. They were quite successful with their first subdivision on First Roach Lake although I think the resulting development was not as "high end" as expected. Plum Creek was also looking at the collapse of the pulp and paper industry in Maine. The Plum Creek lands are the wood supply for the Sappi (formerly SD Warren) Skowhegan pulp and paper mill. Sappi is the only major multinational that kept their ownership, all the other mills in Maine were stripped of assets and then resold to lesser buyers who stripped more assets and led to the closure of some mills. If the Sappi mill went away, Plum Creeks timber revenue would drop due to the loss of low grade wood pulp wood markets. The long term development plan was an offset to the potential loss of revenue. Sappi has invested in the Skowhegan mill in recent years and its probably the most successful of the remaining mills in Maine. The Madison Maine mill is also reopening to make a "green" insulation replacement for fiberglass which will need low grade softwood fiber and the Plum Creek Lands will be the logical source.

    Weyerhauser bought Plum Creek for its timberland, they are far more focused on timber and expect far less on development. My guess is there is a strategic bet that with the demand for carbon sequestration and "green" products that timber management is better for the bottom line in the long term than short term revenue of locking in "islands" of development in their timberlands. The development approach can be a long term liability as the typical recreational development buyer is focused on the short term and timber harvesting is quite jarring to their view of the woods which can lead to future opposition to timber management. There is also the development of the structural laminated timber market to replace structural steel. Various development proposals have been out there for 20 years. Its a popular product in Europe and although the recent announcement of a mill to make it in Lincoln Maine will not immediately impact the Upper Kennebec river watershed timber market, if successful I expect additional laminated timber mills would get built and increase demand for Weyerhauser wood.

    By the way, outside of the typical VFTT range of interest, Irving Timber is currently in the process of getting approval for more intensive development of undeveloped Class 1 lakes in Northern Maine with far less opposition than Plum Creek went through. With the exception of possibly the Allagash, Aroostock County is "out of site and out of mind" for most of New England.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 09-28-2019 at 05:28 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member injektilo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Wiscasset, Maine
    The Forest Society of Maine's statement for anyone who is interested...

    There's a decent map there too.

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