To the Editor:
When President Obama appointed Roxanne Quimby to the National Park Foundation Board of Directors in 2010, the press release bio of 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.”
That 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. After this, and fueled by public comments she made, the people of Northern Maine were outraged, 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 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.
St. Clair has been touting the results of a study commissioned and paid for 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.
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 forest industry-related business 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?
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, Quimby once declared her goal of making a gift to the National Park system on the occasion of its centennial in 2016.