RIP Maine Woods National Park - Wilderness protection to multiple use

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peakbagger

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Roxanne Quimby's organization has been in the press recently, they have withdrawn the request to create a new national Park east of Baxter.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/12/...park-had-powerful-new-opponent-official-says/

They have indicated that they are still interested in long term conservation of the land but not as a national park.

The concept was not supported by all of the local populace, as the area was a working working forest at one time and allowed multiple use including snowmachines and hunting. One option that I have heard is to just turn it over to Baxter State Park, but I expect that it would also be opposed as under the parks stewardship, the area would most likely be off limits to hunting and timber management. The area was heavilly cut over prior to her purchase so its going to be awhile before active timbering will be restarted. Most of the region has discovered that the jobs created by tourism are predominately seasonal with no benefits and are no subsitute for jobs associated with manufacturing. With the East Millinocket papermill back on line (and needing logs) and the the bio-coal facility being built in former Millinocket mills location potentially going to require a significant low grade wood supply, most of the folks of working age, tend to support multiple use preservation, which has been quite successful in mnay other part of Maine.

Its interesting to note that the current fund raiser to protect the area along the AT between Saddleback and Sugarloaf in Western maine features maintaining the majority of the area in timber production as a major benefit of the project.

The concept of wilderness preservation in favor in the past is now switching over to maintaining the woods as multiple use managed under sustainability guidelines realizing that the far bigger threat to the Maine woods is fractionalization of large tracts of land and the development that inevitably follows.
 
I wonder why they didn't propose a National Forest instead of a National Park, then?
 
Peakbagger: Does Quimby or her organization own all the land in question? If so, what say do others have over her disposition of it? Is this to suggest that, today, Gov. Baxter couldn't create a park from his land? Curious.
 
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I wonder why they didn't propose a National Forest instead of a National Park, then?

It seems that locals concerns with regard to motorized and non-motorized access and timber harvesting, would be much better served by creating a National Forest. Doing so would likely improve access, increase tourism (see: $$$), and leave their way of life relatively unscathed. I love my state, but we do some backwards things. It's like we want to change how things are done, but don't want to accept the effects those changes might bring. Hence the years long standstill since this project was first proposed.
 
One option that I have heard is to just turn it over to Baxter State Park, but I expect that it would also be opposed as under the parks stewardship, the area would most likely be off limits to hunting and timber management.
Baxter Park has the Scientific Forest Management Area approved by Baxter where logging/hunting is allowed - the addition could be decreed to be part of that
I wonder why they didn't propose a National Forest instead of a National Park, then?
Quimby originally didn't want logging or ATVs which is consistent with National Park status, but apparently has become more sympathetic to the local economy

Under any form of Federal ownership, management direction may come from urban elites - the Sierra Club wants to ban all timber harvesting in National Forests even those that were originally designated for their tree-growing potential
 
It seems that locals concerns with regard to motorized and non-motorized access and timber harvesting, would be much better served by creating a National Forest. Doing so would likely improve access, increase tourism (see: $$$), and leave their way of life relatively unscathed. I love my state, but we do some backwards things. It's like we want to change how things are done, but don't want to accept the effects those changes might bring. Hence the years long standstill since this project was first proposed.

I'm with you. Not necessarily for a National Forest, but it would be awfully nice to have a more cohesive conservation and recreation approach-- between The Nature Conservancy, AMC, various state lands, private conservation land, and just private land, the AMC's map of the area looks like a total patchwork. Since Maine Trail Finder came online, it's been a little easier to find information about trailheads and such, but there's still a lot of work to be done. Improved access, or at least just improved information, would be a big step.
 
The issue with a National Park is that the NPS would have to develop it to NPS standards and the congress would have to set up delination boundaries. All of this would be supject to public comment. Baxter only had to deal with the state and he was a popular former governor. He did fight off efforts to make BSP a national park long ago. Given that the area is a cut over area with few internal attractions, it would always be a poor "step child" to the adjacent Baxter State Park unless it expanded substantially.

I havent seen a good map of the all the land in Maine that it protected by easement from development versus owned in Fee as a protected property. I starting doing some research a year ago and found millions of acres all over the state that are covered by some sort of easement. Considering that the Nature Conservancy and the AMC are both doing sustainable forest management on their properties, and TPL has several recent projects that involv multiple use, it looks like these group realize that they have a much larger base of support by allowing sustainable harvesting then in trying to ban it.
 
Folks up there won't stand for literal preservation.
They demand "traditional usage" which means access to, hunting on, and logging of, land they don't own.
 
An update

http://www.boston.com/travel/destin...and-hunters/SEs14Cst5jAdHj2o78wS2N/story.html

I have seen Roxanne's son advocating for the park of late and he does seem to be less of lightning rod than his mother. In general I think most folks in the outdoors community would welcome a somewhat accessible multiple use recreation area adjacent to BSP while the thought of a National Park designation would cause some definite loss of support in the community. Of course unless BSP modifies their rules to allow folks to access the park through the westerly boundary without going through a gatehouse, the area to the east would be of far less value.

I expect there will be more news tome come over the next few years.
 
They demand "traditional usage" which means access to, hunting on, and logging of, land they don't own.
I don't think anyone logs private land other than the owners who also maintain roads and campsites and allow recreational access ... at no cost to the taxpayer and generally at or above the quality of federally controlled lands.

Those who demean Mainers because, by and large, they oppose nationalization of lands to which they have had traditional access are apparently not in appreciation of the access that is available nor the extensive conservation measures that have taken place. It is a far more sustainable model, economically and environmentally, of land stewardship than federal ownership. Land use decisions are more timely and locally driven than would be with the political whims of Washington bureaucracy.

I have reaped tremendous enjoyment of the North Maine Woods with fewer "closed to the public" signs than I normally find in other federal lands. Here is a link to an organization that I think does as effective a job in providing access and excellent remote campsites as anyone. http://www.northmainewoods.org/

Maine's model of land use and conservation could be a model elsewhere wherever budgetary and political considerations preclude nationalization.

BTW, something else the Quimbys seem to realize is that hunters and fishermen are among the strongest supporters of land conservation and their involvement in these efforts go back before ... Teddy Roosevelt.
 
Sorry for the unfortunate thead title, rather than creating a new thread I decided to update the most relevant one.

There is a better article with more details in the bangor daily news with a frustrating interactive map of the lands that is truncated on my browser.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/09/...d-to-hunting-access-plan-targets-other-areas/

A detail not mentioned in the globe article is that the lands are east of the west branch or south of the park, the lands west of the west branch are reserved for non motorized/non hunting purposes. The river sure looks like a nice boundary for a BSP addition ;).
 
Maine's government has decided they want to say who you can sell or give your personal property to?
Baxter had to "fight off the feds"? Cite your source.
 
Under any form of Federal ownership, management direction may come from urban elites - the Sierra Club wants to ban all timber harvesting in National Forests even those that were originally designated for their tree-growing potential

+1

Not to mention, it will be "closed" as so many "national" facilities were needlessly (to punish the public) every time there is a peeing contest in DC.

Those same types were pushing at one point for a National Park in the Adirondacks. God forbid.
 
Maine's government has decided they want to say who you can sell or give your personal property to?
Baxter had to "fight off the feds"? Cite your source.


Its was a long running battle so I don't have time to cite line by line but a good summary is in Chapter VI of Dr. John Hakola's Book Legacy of Lifetime. The chapter title "the National Park Controversy". The chapter runs 18 pages so I will leave it to the person who questioned the source to do further research. This wasn't a short term issue, it went on for years.

I don't have access to Howard Whitcomb's four volume set, "Governor Baxter' Magnificent Obsession, A documentary History of Baxter State Park". I expect that would be a much more definitive source. There are few personal copies but several major libraries as well as the AMC has a copy for your further research.

A quote attributed to Baxter in Hakola's book was "I certainly hope the Federal Government will not come into the region and as to the second suggestion that Baxter State Park be merged into a National Park it just cannot be done" (page 143 of Hakola's book).

Granted the current Quimby issue is not an exact reenactment of the prior controversy but many aspects are quite similar.

No matter how the park proposal is publicized, ultimately it boils down to that the east branch country has no special attributes that could not be obtained elsewhere in Maine except that it is next door to the "Crown Jewell" of Maine. Given the Deed of Trust limitations on BSP, I just don't see how a National Park is going to be that popular where the main attractions are off limits to the majority of the visitors to the national park.

Realistically the Togue Pond Gate is going to be at least 1 to 2 hours from the entrance to the proposed NP. I expect BSP would end up gating the tote road (as advocated by Buzz Caverly and others) to prevent drive thrus of the park making it even more inaccessible to NPS visitors.
 
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