Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: Maine should reject a new national park

When President Obama appointed Roxanne Quimby to the National Park Foundation Board of Directors in 2010, the NPF press release bio of Ms. Quimby, included a reference to having “bought and conserved approximately 120,000 acres of wild lands in Maine at risk of or already damaged by logging for timber.”

Her choice of words is revealing and should be part of any discussion regarding the creation of a north woods national park in Maine and its potential impact on the logging industry.

Early efforts to rally support for a national park in Maine were laden with language encouraging conservation, preservation and protection of these lands for future generations of Mainers. However, Quimby’s disdain for the traditional uses of hunting, fishing and cutting timber was demonstrated when she blocked timber roads and posted her land. This did not sit well with the people of Northern Maine, and Quimby took the proposal off the table in late 2012 to regroup and develop a new strategy.

Today we see a retooled effort to influence public opinion. The controversial Roxanne Quimby, no longer the public face of the push for a park, is succeeded by her son, Lucas St. Clair. Environmentalism is no longer the leading argument, replaced by promises of an economic boost and increased jobs. But not an increase in timber harvesting jobs.

St. Clair has been touting the results of a study commissioned by his mother’s Elliotsville Plantation, Inc., which attempts to minimize any negative impact on the logging industry by declaring that the industry is nearly dead anyway. “Since peaking in the 1970s, the significance of the forest products industry has declined in importance relative to the region’s overall economy.” While boasting about the creation of higher wage jobs in the tourism and travel sectors and increases in non-labor sources of income, the Quimby report suggests that the relatively small number of logging jobs will hardly be missed when the park opens.

Also revealing is the recent release of a list of Maine businesses that purport to support a new national park and recreation area in the Katahdin region. Not a single logging company is on that list. Plenty of cafes, hair salons, even a surf shop and a funeral home signed up, but conspicuous by their absence are the Maine Guides, loggers, and others who actually make their living in the Maine woods. Would anyone who makes a living in the woods dare hand it over to the Federal government to manage?

In addition to Quimby’s anti-logging statements and practices, Maine people whose livelihoods depend on a healthy forest should be concerned by the recent history of timber harvesting in our national parks. The federal government’s track record in America’s West enables us to anticipate what a national park would mean for Maine’s forest products industry. The Northwest Forest Plan of 1994, put in place by the federal government to manage nearly 25 million acres of federal forests in Washington, Oregon and Northern California, resulted in an 80 percent reduction in the allowable timber harvest! The increased fires and disease that have become part of life out West are reasonable expectations of a federal forest management plan being introduced to Maine.

Roxanne Quimby, meanwhile, is not the only Mainer to be appointed by President Obama to the National Park Foundation Board of Directors. David Shaw, founder of Idexx Laboratories, was also appointed to the Board in 2010. Make no mistake: Maine has been targeted for a National Park. This is no longer the musings of the over-active imaginations of conspiracy theorists. The plan is in place. Maine people need to prepare legal, preventative measures necessary to reassert citizen sovereignty over Maine lands that are under the real threat of being subject to a federal land transfer in the very near future. Remember, Ms. Quimby once declared her goal of making a gift to the National Park system on the occasion of their 100th birthday in 2016.

Anne Mitchell is Chair of the Maine Woods Coalition, organized in 2000 to fight RESTORE’s plan for a 3.2 million acre federal park. Please visit

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5 Responses »

  1. As someone who has had a camp engulfed by the expansion of Baxter State Park, i totally agree. We must reject every attempt to form a national park.

    Technically, I'm not allowed to bring my dog to my camp or even enjoy an adult beverage there. Bridges were torn out allowing me only foot access, which has left it almost impossible to bring in materials to maintain the camp, or spend sufficient time there.

  2. Tree-huggers" present themselves as the saviors for the protection and preservation of trees for the people and national good. The irony, however, is that they are so shallow that they cannot discern the difference between sustainable harvesting and preservation.

    National *PARKS* are set up for preservation, or as to say, no tree cutting. National *FORESTS* are set up for multiple uses or shared uses, one of which is to protect — in the national interest — our forest resources, so they will be extracted sustainably.

    Old growth forests are pretty and provide a unique habitat, and we should have a few. The problem is that young growth eats up a lot of CO2, while old growth doesn’t. (Not that I buy into the religious cult preachings of "climate change," it's just another inconvenient fact that is left out in all those reports by the religious climatologist pseudo scientists). Also, if you get an opportunity to visit all those beautifully manicured National Parks you will notice that they lack that "ugly” undergrowth and thickets, because some don’t want to see, when they go to a National Park. Its just another inconvenient fact that actually provides safety and food sources for the wildlife that lives in the same forest they are protecting and preserving. Therefore, without logging and fires, we will only see squirrels in the National Parks. Thanks, but no thanks, if that is the way we are headed in our "ideal" forest, I can watch plenty of squirrels on the bird feeders from my windows and my barn already.

  3. Hutch I feel for you...I have a friend in FL that has experienced the same scenario as you with his camp that has been in the family for three generations before it became a National Park. His was also engulfed by the designationation of the Everglades National Park. The only way he can get to his camp now after it became a park, is within a half a mile after travelling a few miles along an improved utility access road that is also locked & gated. Being a long time native and family ties, he was able to secure a key, but technically he has lost easy access otherwise. Oh, and the last half mile is underwater most of the year, or the river of grass.

    His camp is one of a the few left, where others that have even less accessibility or those that were condemned by the state and burned down by the park rangers.

  4. Hope this goes out for public voting, and receives a big fat NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Re: Roxanne Quimby (source: wilkipedia) [italics my own]
    "After turning Burt's Bees over to outside investors, she used her new fortune to deepen her long-running conservation advocacy. The most visible action was the purchase of over 120,000 acres of Maine forest, which she then placed off limits to hunters, loggers, and other users. She has since proposed a donation of 70,000 acres of her land towards a new Maine Woods National Park. An additional donation of 30,000 acres would be managed like a state park and would allow activities such as hunting and snowmobiling.[1] This plan is controversial to some Mainers.[3]"

    See link below for interesting article from 2008: