We the undersigned are a group of individuals concerned about the potential designation of all or part of large parcels of land owned by Roxanne Quimby and her nonprofit Elliotsville Plantation Incorporated (EPI) to Federal status via the establishment of a National Heritage Area, National Monument, or National Park. We feel that the will of one person is being pushed upon the people of Maine, and it is of real concern that should Federal interest be advanced on the proposed parcel that it will become larger over time.
Our concern is that there are many unanswered questions about the proposed Park. The current ~70,000 acre proposal has been described many times as a “seed”, and there are many current references to a 3.2 million acre “goal” quoted in articles in the past year. A park of that size would devastate the economy of the region and was soundly rejected by the State, ten years ago, when the idea was initially put forth by “Restore: The North Maine Woods”. It is a real concern that, should the current proposed parcel be accepted, it will become larger over time. Should this happen, the economic impact will be enormous. The proposed ~70,000 acre parcel in and of itself would have a substantial economic impact on the area. The statistics of that impact are clear. Forest manufacturing jobs in Maine are responsible for 1.9 jobs per thousand acres according to “The Economic Importance and Wood Flows from Maine Forests” in 2007. Snowmobiling, ATV, and hunting are responsible for statewide income of $350 million, $200 million, and $240 million, respectively, annually, according to recent articles in “The Bangor Daily News”. All of these activities would be severely restricted or banned by a National Park. Furthermore, the region in question has historically and traditionally been suited for these exact types of consumptive uses.
The Katahdin Region has just recently been put in a position that will enable the revitalization of their economy. The Class 1/Class 2 Federal standards imposed with a National Park, such as the Clean Air Act & the Adverse Impact on Visibility policy, will effectively stymie the Katahdin Region by restricting its ability to diversify its own economy.As the Millinocket town council has stated, there are no outstanding characteristics or unique attractions outside of Baxter State Park to justify the creation of a National Park. The jewel of the region, Mt. Katahdin, has already been effectively preserved. If the real intent of the offer is preservation, there are many viable alternatives to a National Park such as Public Reserve Land, Wilderness Area, or Land Trust to name a few. These options would be considerably less restrictive on the people of the area. A reconnaissance or a feasibility study will only determine the value of the land as a park, and not examine the potentially devastating consequences for the region. We respectfully urge you to thwart all earnest efforts to push this through. The Maine tradition of public access to private land is without parallel in the nation and is something we should be proud of. We also pride ourselves on our independence, and believe we can achieve economic prosperity again given the fair opportunity.
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