Politics Raise A Potential Roadblock to Creation Of A "Maine Woods National Park and Preserve"

Politics are being played that could impede efforts to create a Maine North Woods National Park.

In a move that astounded proponents of a "Maine Woods National Park and Preserve," the Maine Legislature has passed a resolution opposing a feasibility study into the creation of such a park.

On June 15, Maine Senate President Kevin Raye introduced a resolution, SP 519, which opposes even a feasibility study to evaluate the benefits and costs of creating a national park in the Maine Woods. The Senate voted the same day 31 to 3 to pass this resolution.

There was no meaningful notice, no public hearing, no opportunity to present any information in response to this sneak attack. The Maine House of Representatives went along without a roll call vote.

It’s not too late!

The resolution is expected to come up for another vote in each house very soon. If you live in Maine, please call now and urge your elected representatives to oppose this undemocratic action.

You can leave a message at:

Maine Senate switchboard: 800-423-6900

Maine House of Representatives switchboard: 800-423-2900

Partly in reaction to that move, the park's proponents launched a new website to promote such an addition to the National Park System. On that site you can find details on the 3.2 million acre site proposed for Maine's Moosehead-Katahdin region.

There's a map that shows where the park would be located, a fact sheet that lists the resource and economic benefits of such a park and which touches on potential funding mechanisms that could bring it to life, and details on recreational possibilities and wildlife resources.

There's also a 23-page Maine Woods brochure that provides further details on the proposal that you can download in PDF form, and a petition you can sign in support of the potential park.


What political party does Kevin Raye belong to?

I am all for preserving this area - which is why I am not for "Park" status. What isn't clear to me is how this will be implemented. Are they proposing the Government purchase all this property from the private land owners or just seize it via post facto restrictions or outright confiscation?

Kevin Raye appears to be a Republican. However, please note that the Maine Senate consists of 35 members. A vote of 31-3 tells me that the people in Maine do not want the US Government telling them what to do with their land, regardless of political affiliation.

I don't know if my previous comment was denied or just didn't get through. The title of this article is very misleading. There are 35 seats in the Maine Senate: 20 Republicans, 14 Democrats, 1 Independent. The vote was 31 - 3. This hardly constitutes voting along Party lines! Like I said previously, regardless of political affiliation, Maine folks may not want the US Government telling them what to do with their land. BTW, Anonymous, Kevin Raye is Republican.


Re "I don't know if my previous comment was denied or just didn't get through," we have to manually approve many of the comments that come to the Traveler, and with only one or two of us doing that, it can take a while, particularly on weekends.

That said, I would disagree that the article's title is misleading. The Maine Legislature, as with all legislatures, is political. Thus politics are indeed playing a role in this.

Also, at this point this has nothing to do with the U.S. government "telling them what to do with their land." The proponents behind a Maine Woods NP are private citizens and organizations, not any arm of the U.S. government.

Some I think also would question whether a vote of the legislature is entirely representative of the will of the people. Back in 2010 the National Parks Conservation Association commissioned a poll that asked Maine residents if they would prefer to see their state's "North Woods" preserved as "parkland" complemented by sustainable timbering rather than dotted with vacation homes. Seventy-eight percent of the 502 individuals surveyed by Zogby International between July 26 and July 29 said they'd prefer that less-developed vision for the picturesque lake-and-forest region in northern Maine.

A feasibility study into the logistics and economics of bringing such a vision to bear might be helpful in highlighting the pros and cons of the question and make it easier to come to a decision.

Kurt - re Dotties comments - If the Maine Legislature is "political" than anything it or anything else it (or any other deliberative body) does is "playing politics. The title is inflamatory if not misleading.

You say at this point it has nothing to do with the US Government. Sure it does It may be private citizens behind the initiative but they want the US Government to take control of these lands. I would still like to know how. I didn't see that on their website.


I could understand if the headline read, "Right-Wing Politics," or, "Left-Wing Politics," or even "Republicans," but just "Politics"?


And let's not twist Dottie's words. She said, "Maine folks may not want the US Government telling them what to do with their land."

Again, at this point the U.S. government is not involved in this. The Park Service isn't even studying the proposition.

As for how it could come to be, have you read the website? One potential funding source it points to is the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was created in large part for just this kind of purchase.

Beyond that, here's some more information from the PDF I linked to:

* These lands would be acquired at fair market value from willing sellers. Based on other land sales, the park could be purchased for under one billion dollars, much less than the cost of a single B-2 stealth bomber!

* Virtually all of the lands in the proposed MWNP are in “unorganized territories” where there are no towns. The small number of people living within the proposed park area could retain their homes. (Emphasis added)

* Maine has the largest concentration of industrial ownership and one of the lowest proportions of public land (under 6 percent) of any state. Creating a national park would help restore the balance of public and private ownership. Outside of the park, four-fifths of Maine’s commercial timberlands would remain unaffected. State-owned lands within the MWNP, such as Baxter State Park, would stay under state ownership.

* In compliance with existing law, federal payments in-lieu-of-taxes, would be higher than private property taxes paid to the state today. (Emphasis added.)

* MWNP would be a combination of national park and national preserve, guaranteeing public access for the full range of recreational uses. Fishing would be allowed throughout. Hunting and snowmobiling would continue in the preserve portion. Other traditional recreational uses would continue in both the park and preserve. (Emphasis added.)

Again, I'd venture that a feasibility study would answer questions revolving not just how this could be funded, but whether there are enough positives involved (economics, quality of life, etc, etc) to make it happen. From the information provided by propoents, this would not be a federal land grab and the resulting economy could be better than the existing one. But again, a feasibility study could examine those issues.

Maybe a national park isn't the solution. After all, the Adirondacks is doing just fine as a state park.

Ha! Perfect solution! IF the citizens of Maine want a park, then let them vote in a State Park. Love it. You solved the problem, Kurt.

As a citizen of Maine and someone very much in tune with the on-goings of the national parks around the country, I can tell you that this is quite a shock and I do not believe it is representative of the Maine citizenship - regardless of the vote tally. I suspect there is a lot of misinformation being based around up at the State House in Augusta, and the conversation is more about Federal vs. State rights, and not about the potential economic value of such a park creation. Additionally, the fact is likely being missed that the major of the land being proposed would be donated from the existing land owner and that it would surround the existing crown jewel of state parks in Maine (Baxter State Park).
Thanks Kurt for covering this story. Let the alerts begin...

The insinuation that something improper, with "no discussion", occurred in the Maine legislature's overwhelming resolution against a Federal park is false. There has been more than enough "discussion" of this failed agenda for almost a quarter of a century since the NPCA openly advocated plans for five new National Parks in Maine that it had been collaborating on behind the scenes with NPS and viro pressure groups such as the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Audubon, and the Wilderness Society.

The pressure groups had already arranged for the US Forest Service "Northern Forest Lands Study" to promote Federal interstate Greenline land use prohibitions on 26 million acres across the four states in northern New England and New York, which ordinary people were just finding out about. This is the same region and the same agenda for which Audubon VP Brock Evans infamously extolled to "take it all" to viro leaders gathered at Tufts University a few years later.

When the lobbying and media blitz promoting this massive takeover began, no park advocates complained that it was "political", had not been publicly discussed, and that the owners of the land and people who live there had been told nothing about it. Yet now they complain about "politics" every time the rejection of this cynical, radical and massive takeover in whole or part is re-confirmed. The Restore agenda for 3 million acres is the same as one of the original five NPCA/NPS National Parks first promoted in 1988. Restore is nothing but an offshoot of the Wilderness Society led by the same activists who were behind the scheme then. There is nothing new about this.

The ongoing demands for a "feasibility study", now a quarter century later as if nothing has happened, are disingenuous. NPS new area "studies" are highly political planning and promotion events intended to build political momentum for a preconceived outcome in a process politically controlled by well-connected pressure groups and NPS. such "studies" are supposed to follow popular acceptance of the goal, which is most certainly not the case with the NPCA/Restore political agenda attempting to steamroll the property owners and communities they seek to replace with Federal control, eliminating private property rights and replacing representative government itself with NPS bureaucratic control.

Maine already went through this cynical process with the Northern Forests Lands Study and the follow-up Northern Forests Land Council which tore peoples' lives apart fighting it. No sensible person wants to have to go through that again. The activists who keep pushing this scheme are worse than stalkers; they have nothing to lose because they only have to win once. Normal people are more than fed up with the harassment.

Well, that's one way to put it. Another is that individual citizens of this country have been fighting to protect areas like this for years. Without thier passion and commitment to these types issues we would not have many of the beutiful parks we have today. But, maybe that's the way some folks want it.

Which K Street "think tank" does June 19, 8:19 pm, Anonymous represent? I suspect I already know the answer.

This anti-national park resolution does not represent the views of most people of Maine. There has been a series of independent public opinion surveys in Maine over the last decade and a half. Every one has shown that a majority of Maine citizens favor the idea of a large national park or similar public preserve in the Maine Woods. Support is substantial and growing.

Because they could not counter this burgeoning public support with facts, the sponsors of the anti-park resolution had to stoop to undemocratic procedural manipulations in the Maine legislature.

As Maine Public Radio pointed out, there was "no advance notice and no discussion" of the anti-park resolution. The sponsors are aware of the growing public support for the park idea. This was a desperate attempt to slow the momentum. The vote was held with no published notice at the very end of the legislative session. No document to review. No public hearings. No multiple votes as with a normal legislative bill to allow thoughtful consideration.

The process was so rushed that even state senators who are open to the park idea ended up voting for the resolution in the confustion. In the Maine House, there was not even an opportunity for a vote; it went under the hammer. The sponsors knew that if this had been a fair and open process, there would have been major opposition from legislators and the public to the resolution.

One observer, in today's Forecaster newspaper, asked the right questions: "was Baxter State Park a good idea? Was Acadia National Park a good idea? Would a North Woods National Park be such a bad thing? What’s wrong with studying the feasibility of a national park? Defy the dirty tricksters in Augusta. Think about it."

As has happened over and over in the history of national parks, local anti-park forces are fearful and defensive. They are hoping against hope that two defunct and closed paper mills in northern Maine will be sold and reopened. An anonymous group of Chinese investors is looking at that, but they insist on getting the mills for free, getting state and local tax breaks, getting more federal subsidies, getting union concessions, and having the public assume liability responsibility for the mill's toxic landfill, which will cost an estimated $17 million or more.

The Sun Journal newspaper said about this: "...the Maine Senate abandoned its capitalistic course by passing a bill authorizing the state to purchase the leaky Dolby Landfill, a problem private industry created that Maine's taxpayers must now solve."

The anti-park interests are afraid of allowing even a study of the park idea because they know that the study will show that a park would offer tremendous benefits to northern Maine. They are afraid that a park would threaten the industrialization of the Maine Woods by restoring the heart of the region. They are afraid of public lands, which would be shared, because they have grown up exploiting private lands. They are afraid that once people know the truth about these benefits, they will embrace a park in the Maine Woods.

That is why they oppose the right of philanthropist Roxanne Quimby to donate 70,000 acres to the people of Maine and America to become a national park. Many of these are the same people who claim to defend private property rights -- except for Roxanne Quimby. National park opponents in Maine are like those in other regions where vast global economic forces have passed them by. They are trying in vain to cling to a Maine Woods that no longer exists.

For decades, the Maine Woods was owned by a handful of families and companies that kept the land intact and provided local jobs. No longer. Since 1998, more than 10 million acres of the Maine Woods have been sold, most to transnational corporations and real-estate speculators.

These landowners are:

-Fueling global climate change by cutting down the forest and converting it into short-lived products, such as paper and biomass, which almost immediately release their stored carbon.

-Harming native wildlife with real-estate developments, such as Plum Creek corporation’s sprawling proposal to develop an area of the wild Moosehead Lake region as large as the City of Portland, Maine -- an area designated as critical habitat for the imperiled Canada lynx and other sensitive wildlife.

-Eroding wilderness values, by subdividing and developing wildland lakes and streams, building logging roads, erecting power lines and mountaintop energy projects, and expanding off-road motor vehicle access — including to the legendary Allagash Wilderness Waterway.

-Undermining local communities by closing mills, mechanizing jobs, and failing to economically diversify, all while degrading the natural values of the Maine Woods that could be the foundation of a sustainable economy. The two giant paper mills in Millinocket and East Millinocket, which once employed over 4,000 people, have closed and may never reopen, or may open only for a short time with massive public subsidies and a tiny fraction of the original work force.

Sadly, my fellow Mainers who oppose a new national park seem to have little to offer northern Mainers but continued economic decline. They have no meaningful solutions for local communities that need alternatives to replace lost timber and paper jobs. Rather than hope or ideas, they put forth disinformation, fear and opposition to positive change.

As a student of the history of national parks, I realize that this is the way it has been with almost every past national park campaign throughout U.S. history. Beloved national parks such as Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, Olympic, Redwood, Kenai Fjords, and even Acadia in Maine, faced bitter opposition from entrenched interests when they were first proposed. So did Maine’s iconic Baxter State Park.

Today, even the one-time opponents of those popular parks acknowledge that they were mistaken. As a native and lifelong Mainer, I believe the people of Maine deserve better. Fortunately, we have a choice. We can protect the heart of the Maine Woods as a beautiful national park and preserve. It will restore and protect the forest, keep the land open for public recreational access, and diversify an economy that is in desperate straits.

Those who oppose this vision should either offer a better solution or stop trying to keep us from building a better future for northern Maine.

For accurate information about the proposed Maine Woods National Park & Preserve, see www.mainewoods.org.

The youth deserves a voice in this matter, we who have recently entered into this insecure job market (and will remain in it a good deal longer than the rest of you) should be able to say whether we want to preserve this land in the form of a national park and explore new job opporunities, or save this land for private timbering. I for one favor a NP (and NP job opportunities) over the currently faltering timber industry. Even if the gov. rushes in with funds to buy up the mills waste site (a lemon), it is only a quick fix. Corporate-welfare does not belong in a free market, and it will only save industry for as long as the state is willing to hold its hand and pull it up.

Tea Party Republican!!

Let's see if I'm getting this correctly read on the west coast: People of Maine will no longer be coming to Yosemite, Crater Lake, The North Cascades. These are lands reserved for people on the west coast and Mainers, not willing to anti up for the good of the whole country won't be expecting other states to set asside parks for them.
Pretty sad.

Jym St. Pierre, who posted above, was one of the Wilderness Society lobbyists behind the NPCA Federal park takeover agenda in Maine that failed miserably when it was rejected by the people affected by it decades ago and ever since. He has since made a "career" out of continuing his extreme promotions through the radical "Restore" organiziation split off from the Wilderness Society by St. Pierre and Kellet after the NPCA failure.

St. Pierre is known in Maine as the radical fringe and is not taken seriously as anything but a nuisance and a threat. He does not want a "study" -- there have already been endless studies and investigations resulting in the rejection of his agenda -- he wants an NPS-controlled promotion and planning exercise for a preconceived "outcome" in the name of a "study" as an end-run around the people who own the property he wants the governmnet to take. Normal people do not need any further investigation to already know what is wrong with such a cynical political manipulation.

The activist pressure groups have done everything they can to destabilize the economy, drive out industry, and destroy private property rights in a constant stream of harassment. Normal people are fed up with this nonsense. There is no "burgeoning support" for St. Pierre, who is out on the fringes of the fringe, only his tired political hype and wishful thinking in deceptive promotions misleading even other activists. Even his characterization of Acadia in Maine is a deceptive whitewash.

St. Pierre doesn't have a "solution" to anything, least of all "the economy", only outside extremist money paying him so doesn't have to work for a living as he engages in endless harassment and rationalizations for a fanatically preconceived agenda that has nothing to do with "the economy" and never did. He wants other people's private property he has targeted for a takeover by the Federal government and an anti-democratic replacement of representative government -- which he shrieks is a "dirty trickster" for ignoring him -- with heavy-handed NPS bureaucracy. He is indeed the "poster boy" for the National Park agenda for Maine.

The feds will not be "taking over" anything. That may have been the case in the past, but would never happen today. If this were to happen it would be from donations and willing sellers.

Anonymous, you're quite articulate and obviously very passionate and willing to fight for your position in this matter. Why not tell us who you are as Mr. St. Pierre has? Like it or not, anonymous attacks don't carry much weight in rhetorical battles.

Ryan on June 21, 2011 - 8:15am: "The feds will not be 'taking over' anything. That may have been the case in the past, but would never happen today. If this were to happen it would be from donations and willing sellers."

Of course they take it over. Land declared by Congress as a new National Park means that the land will in fact be controlled as a "nationally significant" park and not what it was, whether anyone else likes it or not. That is the whole political point of declaring land to be a Federal park. "Nationally significant" means that local people and their rights don't matter anymore.

Ryan has no basis for and no authority to make promises such as "that would never happen today", neither does anyone else, and there is no reason to believe such baseless, self-contradictory promises. The takeover is only a matter of how and when -- eminent domain, blocking access, economic strangulation, Greenline land use prohibitions, the replacement of representative government with NPS heavy handed bureaucracy, and the availability of more LWCF money over time -- they know how to create what they call "willing sellers". NPS and NPCA do not want inholdings and always want to expand and control the land outside a park. A National Park means it will be a National Park and not what it was. It can't mean anything else. There is always pressure to remove property owners.

Deceptive media spin making promises that NPS won't remove property owners is done to lull people into going along with a political takeover until it is too late to stop it. The advocates and NPS have no intention of keeping such promises. The propaganda technique of making such promises has a very long history. NPS and its apologists always say in new park campaigns that people won't be forced out. Specifically they used it at Acadia in Maine in the 1980s and people know it; the abuse -- and the denials -- are still going on. "It would never happen today"? -- what a joke, it still is. The park advocates do nothing to help the victims; they got what they wanted and don't care; they are busy trying to take over new areas.

Read the horrifying account of Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains during the New Deal as one of the earliest such abominations of population displacement on record. NPS admits to this one -- it was a "long time ago" so they think it's safe to acknowledge as something "that doesn't happen any more". It's a diversion from the rest of the history. They get away with extreme actions by counting on people not believing that extreme abuse can occur in this country. It does.

As ony a few other examples of NPS counting on making promises it has no intention of keeping and then removing people once the park was created, they did at Cuyahago in the 1970s and 80s, documented on PBS Frontline; they did it at Cape Cod half a century ago and came back in the 1990s to clean out people still in their homes; they did it at the Minuteman park -- supposedly commemorating the American Revolution at Lexington and Concord -- as the first park carved out of a predominately settled area beginning in 1959 and continuing past 2000 with very few left (yes they really did that in the name of commemorating the American Revolution). NPS and politicians made false promises and continue to deny their own history.

This habitual abuse inherent in a Federal takeover has left a long trail of bitterness that has a lot to do with why major new parks are resisted by people who don't want to be displaced and controlled by the Federal government.

Contrary to St. Pierre, the controversy over his promotions is not because Maine people don't know enough and need an NPS "study" to tell them; they know too much, much more than he wants them to know. That is why he does push polls with people who don't know while demonizing "industry", and is why the radical NPCA agenda for Maine went down in flames as politically dead years ago and is why it has been rejected in every form, in whole or in part, ever since.

Sensible people following this can see that it is the NPCA agenda that has been cynically "political" and full of "dirty tricksters" (to use St. Pierre's words) for decades as activists like St. Pierre behave worse than harassing stalkers. It is not, contrary to the inflammatory smear promoted by Federal park takeover promoters, the Maine Senate which is somehow deviously "political". The Maine Senate openly, overwhelmingly, and routinely rejected the so-called "feasibility study" that the activists want to use as a promotional and planning tool to revive their dead takeover in Maine. The resolution had been introduced well before the vote and the entire topic has been discussed for decades.

Of course the feds will "control" it once it become a park, that's the point. The land will not be taken, just can't happen, I promise you.
As for past examples you cite, that is why I said it has happened in the past. Many of our public lands exisit because of ill-informed decisions. However, the times were different and things like emminat domain would be damn near impossible to pull of in the 21st century in the U.S.
I can't say for sure, but in many cases you cite, I would bet that the people that are still getting "kicked out" of parks signed a life time lease or had an agreement with the NPS upon conversion of the park. I know of several examples of folks being paid fair market value for their propertyt and then being able to stay on it a set amount of time (life-time leases, 100 years leases, etc.). They made an agreement with the NPS. Not to mention many of these folks were compensated for their property and allowed to stay...sounds like a sweet deal to me.
You act like the NPS is some horrible organization. It has its flaws like any other, but I feel it does way more good than bad. The NPS is FAR from the evil entitiy you are making them out to be. Remember, parks not only provide recreation, but sources of clean air and water as well as habitat for animals that would otherwise be in danger of extintion from human incursions into their homes. Just sayin...

Ryan is still making promises he has no business asserting. No one faced with NPS abuse can stop it by claiming "Ryan promised you wouldn't do this".

These same empty promises have been made routiney as part of the promotion for new parks for many decades. Read the promises in the 1920s in the record at the Smoky Mountains. The 1920s used to be the modern 'present', and people then naively believed the abuse wasn't possible anymore in this country in their modern times, just as we told to believe it today. There is nothing new about these empty reassurances; they are just as false now as they have been all along. Raw government power is raw government power in any age. People are still exploited for innocently believing that extreme abuse can't happen until it is too late; that is how the power seekers get away with it.

We have heard the "this time it's different" scam over and over and over in Maine for different variations on the same agenda, just as the people at the Columbia Gorge, Cuyahoga, and areas targeted all over the country for decades heard it. It included Acadia in Maine where people are still subject to condemnation for using their own property anywhere in the acquisition boundary.

That includes people who had been promised that their property was not part of the acquisition plans but for which NPS later "adjusted" the boundary to pull them in. The Acadia citizens advisory commission voted to protect these people, with a change in the law if necessary -- the park pressure groups blocked it, threatening to re-open the legislation for another expansion.

This is not the 1920s. It is now. The point is that not only does this abuse occur, there is nothing you can do about it when the Federal government has taken over. NPS has no accountability to anyone. It doesn't care. Local people don't matter, only the mission of the expanding bureaucratic empire operating under the full power of the Fedreal government. This is why it matters, in principle and in practice, that government power be limited. There is no such thing as a benevolent dictatorship, it is only a matter of time before people are shafted.

The park and wilderness activists will say anything to cajole people into letting their guard down, using false promises they have no intention of keeping; it is, after all, a political campaign. Falling for the scam is nothing other than the commonly cited 'definition of insanity' as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. It's Lucy promising to hold the football and Charlie Brown believing that this time she must mean it, surely she wouldn't expect to get away with it again -- but we are not Charlie Brown. The fact is that the activists want the land and Federal control and they will do whatever they have to to get it. They don't care what their victims think.

Notice how St. Pierre weasels with promises that people could 'keep existing homes'. He has no authority to say that, but notice also how much it leaves out: What if you want to expand your home? What if you haven't built your home on your own land yet, struggling for years to get to the point where you can? What if you expect a local free economy in order to survive? What if you don't want to live under the boot of the NPS bureaucracy?

This weaseling "existing homes" version of the empty promise is not new either. It is exactly how people were misled at Cape Cod half a century ago when they objected to NPS coming in to take over. No one noticed at first how much had been left out of the soothing assurances. Then people had their land taken from them. Many homes have been allowed to remain only because NPS lacked the money to take them -- NPCA is trying to "fix" that with the scheme of making LWCF funding for acquisition a guaranteed entitlement not subject to Congressional appropriations. "Existing homes" was redefined in the legislation with a retroactive date, resulting in outright condemnation of "existing homes" -- including homes that had in fact been approved and built before the manipulated retroactive date.

People did not make "agreements" to rent their own homes back from the government at Cape Cod, Minuteman, or anywhere else. They were forced to under threat of condemnation if they didn't. How would you like to be told you have to sell your home to the government; that you have to decide in advance exactly how many years or decades you will be a tenant, which you will pay for in advance; that you will continue to pay property taxes on it; that if it needs a new roof or boiler you will have to pay for it, knowing that it belongs to the government and won't be used for long anyway; and that the community around you will be decaying because NPS is eliminating it?

This is exactly what the "leaseback" scheme is. This coercion is not a "sweet deal". Neither Ryan nor anyone else has any right to impose it on anyone, with or without adding insult to injury claiming it is a "sweet deal". That is not for him to decide as a rationalization for the coercion.

It is morally reprehensible to do this to people. Yet that is the "choice" NPS and its apologists claim to "offer". It is not theirs to offer at all. No one would voluntarily submit to it. And yes, many elderly people years later who stayed as tenants because they loved their homes so much have been and are being thrown out, with NPS denying "extending" their leases because it doesn't have to.

NPS doesn't care and it doesn't have to care -- human rights is not their "mission". Neither do the park apologists care, they do nothing to help these people while making the same spurious "promises" and soothing reassurances so they can get more control over more people in more areas. These are typically the same activists who when caught in a moment of honesty will openly admit that they think people should be sacrificed to their wilderness agenda, with no apologies for any of the past abuse or what they intend to do in the future. They put preservationsim above human rights as a matter of principle. There is only one outcome from that mentality whey they allowed to get their way.

Although Mr. Anonymous, who has posted above, won’t reveal his name, his true identity is obvious to those of us who have followed his long, anti-government crusade. He has repeated the same flimsy claims – almost verbatim — for more than 20 years. If he had the courage to acknowledge his real name, readers of National Park Traveler could Google him, read his past rambling diatribes on right-wing websites, and see that he is obsessed with a wide array of imagined threats and conspiracies.

Like other anti-government extremists, Mr. Anonymous takes a little grain of truth and turns it into a vast government plot. For example, he is fixated on the use of eminent domain by the National Park Service to acquire land for parks. However, the National Park Service has never used eminent domain extensively. On the other hand, this power has been commonly used by federal, state, and local governments to make way for freeways, reservoirs, pipelines, power corridors, mines, and other major industrial developments.

There are a handful of examples where there may be legitimate concerns about the use of eminent domain by the National Park Service. However, almost all of them happened many decades ago. Mr. Anonymous has repeated — and exaggerated — these same few examples over and over. He has no specific examples since the 1970s, because the National Park Service has rarely used eminent domain since then.

Most of Mr. Anonymous’ arguments are based on broad generalizations, anecdotal claims, and undocumented allegations of continuing abuses. For example, there is no evidence whatsoever to support his claim that national parks cause “economic strangulation.” In fact, there is ample evidence that the opposite is true — that local communities get significant economic benefits from national parks. The most prosperous area of Wyoming is the area surrounding Yellowstone National Park. The most prosperous area of northern Maine is the area surrounding Acadia National Park. This is the pattern across the country. Mr. Anonymous is either ignorant of these facts or — more likely — he is blinded by his ideology.

Mr. Anonymous’ claim that the proposed Maine Woods National Park would be a “government takeover” is equally baseless. He argues that with a national park, “local people and their rights don't matter anymore.” In fact, most of the Maine Woods is not owed by “local people.” The region has been controlled by giant corporations, wealthy families, and real estate speculators since the late 1700s. The largest landowner in Maine today — with more than 1.2 million acres — is J.D. Irving Ltd. of New Brunswick, Canada, a privately held conglomerate run by three brothers who are worth $3.9 billion. Of course, Mr. Anonymous knows this, but apparently he considers fabulously rich transnational conglomerates to be just “local people.”

Public acquisition of some of Maine’s industrial timberlands as a national park would mean that local people, and all Mainers, would finally regain control of these lands. The park proposal is not a government initiative — it is a grassroots citizen initiative. Advocates are not calling for eminent domain, but instead for the acquisition of land for the park from willing sellers. This is quite feasible. Since 1998, more than 10 million acres of unpopulated industrial timberland in the Maine Woods have been sold — including most of the proposed national park. Roxanne Quimby has acquired all of the land that she seeks to donate for a national park from willing sellers. The National Park Service is not threatening to take her land — she is generously offering her property to the public for a national park.

Mr. Anonymous avoids mentioning this or any other inconvenient truths that do not conform to his extreme ideology. The only reason his comments deserve a reply is that some people might believe that his disinformation is true. The reality — confirmed by years of public opinion surveys — is that the majority of people in Maine support the creation of a Maine Woods National Park and would support a study of its feasibility. Anti-government crusaders such as Mr. Anonymous are terrified of such a study, because they know that once people get the facts and the opportunity to speak out, they will support the creation of a Maine Woods National Park. That is why I am confident that it is going to happen.

Well, Kurt, at least it's pretty well proven through this discussion that your headline isn't hyperbole.

Re Michael KellettWhat a parallel universe you and your like live in. I am respectful to a point but with Medicare on line to cease to exist in 13 years ALL of the liberal BS is just that. There's a reality out there and the parallel universe will have a very hard row to hoe. Well, they'll be on to the next scam or at best, delusion, but it will end BADLY if given the power. It will be interesting. Mr. Reality here. I remain hopeful, lol!

Dear Hopeful,
I would be glad to respond, but I can't figure out what you're talking about.

There's to much talk Mr. Kellett. The country is in the ----- and all that's left is to flush. You want the Chinese to finance another National Park? That's real good thinking. I long for the days AFTER 911 when we had some sense of reality, humbling and purpose. There's a correction coming and hope we make it before it makes us and that won't be pretty but probably deserved. I love breakthroughs and I am hopeful, Mr. Kellett. I know I've broadened the conversation but felt it needed it. (Editor's note: this comment has been edited slightly.)

Re: Mr. KelletteJust seems to me and others that there are very significant challenges to the country that must be faced and breakthroughs achieved. Some help to that end would be appreciated. The debt issue and how we look at spending is one VERY LARGE consideration. I reside in one of our most significant parks and am blessed by it everyday. I worship in it but don't worship it as my God, if I can add that.Respectfully

Hi Hopeful,

I think you're saying that you would like to see new national parks, but we can't afford them. I respectfully disagree.

- Even if the deficit were an immediate, looming crisis (an assumption that I do not share), national parks have a tiny impact on the overall budget. The entire National Park Service budget is only one-thirteenth of one percent of the federal budget.

- Land acquisition is not a significant cost for most new national parks, because they are generally designated on existing public lands. It is a potential cost for the proposed 3.2-million-acre Maine Woods National Park. However, Roxanne Quimby has offered to donate the 70,000 acres she owns. This would completely eliminate acquisition costs for this smaller proposed Maine Woods park.

- The operating costs of a new national park would be minimal. For example, 86,000-acre Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas received $2.7 million in operational funding to accommodate 197,000 visitors in fiscal year 2008. This amounts to $13 per visitor. If the proposed 70,000-acre Maine Woods park were to receive $13 per visitor for 200,000 visitors (an optimistic number), that would only translate to a $2.6 million annual appropriation — this certainly would not have any serious impact on the federal budget.

- National parks provide major economic benefits to local communities across the country. The creation of a Maine Woods National Park would be a low-cost federal program to provide badly needed jobs and economic stimulus to Millinocket and other northern Maine towns near the proposed park.

So the assumption that we cannot afford new national parks is just not true. To the contrary, I would argue that we cannot afford to not create new national parks to protect America’s great natural landscapes and historic treasures. It is not a cost, it is an investment for this and future generations.

Mr. Kellett:Sorry, tired of the words. Guess I don't have much hope for you, lol! OK, I have a little. NPS as it is, isn't the glorious savior of all things dear that you like to portray.

Michael Kellet is a former New England head of the Wilderness Society, which collaborated with NPCA and other such organizations behind the backs of Maine people and then launched a national PR campaign to overrun the state: they pushded for Federal "Greenline" controls and national parks, taking over private property throughout about two thirds, or 10 million acres, of Maine.

Kellet subsequently started the radical Massachusetts organization "Restore" with St. Pierre and other national activists such as Brock Evans (infamous for his "take it all" speech) when the NPCA plan for five huge new national parks taking over millions of acres of private property in Maine failed.

Kellet's continued promotion of the 3 million acre target in the heart of Maine, through his radical but well-funded splinter group, likewise continued to fail because Maine people will not subject themselves to his coercive 'utopian' plans for Federal control on behalf of wilderness. The plan died because people did not and do not want it. (The recent Maine Senate resolution opposing it is similar to a resolution in 2001 and many more at lower levels of government.) There continue to be a lot of problems in Maine with oppressive regulations on behalf of preservationism at the expense of private property rights and the economy, but Restore and its Federal takeover plan has remained on the extreme fringe.

Kellet is not interested in "the economy". His interest is only as a rationalization for his preconcieved wilderness political goal to, according to Restore in an early statement, "preserve, and defend the natural ecological integrity of the North Woods Ecoregion of the United States and Canada through citizen activism". The "North Woods Ecoregion", according to Restore, extends from Wisconsin to New Jersey and Pennsylvania and north through New England to four Canadian provinces. Restore "believe[s] that there is no better place to begin the restoration of the earth" -- through Federal control, which is the only power big enough to do it. They are radical environmentalist, preserationist activists, not advocates of human prosperity and "the economy".

For the earier, 'smaller' scale version of the "north woods" consisting of 26 million acres of mostly private property in northern New England, Kellet has said he wants most of it to be in "the public domain" -- and so does Roxanne Quimby, who regards a 70,000 acre start as only a "seed" for the 3 million acre wilderness park, which is in turn only the beginning of what they want to "restore the earth" in the larger "ecoregion" and beyond. They oppose private ownership on principle.

There is no excuse for the agenda to eliminate private industry, but the vast lands for which they want to obliterate private property rights obviously ensnares property owners far beyond a "few corporations" that Kellet continues to demonize and which we are told not to worry about.

This radical agenda is not coming from people who are concerned with "the economy" or who know anything about it. They are radical anti-property rights, anti-industry. anti-political freedom, and anti-capitalist, seeking to "restore the earth" through massive controls over everyone.

There is no way to impose their 'vision' under a system of political freedom in which the rights of individuals in a free economy are protected. That fact continues to serve as an inconvenient fact for Kellet, who does push polling on empty slogans and appeals to scenic imagery, not the consequences for real people under a fundamental change in the nature of government. This controversy is not about the scenery.

Along with NPS, Kellet in particular continues to deny NPS's own history of eminent domain and heavy handedness in general in its long record of reprehensible abuse towards private land owners and others not deemed to be part of the NPS "mission" over land it controls or wants to control.

If Kellet won't admit -- as for example in his false statement that "the National Park Service has never used eminent domain extensively" -- that the abuse has in fact been extensive, then one can only wonder how many more people have to be shafted in how many places before he cares.

He doesn't care because individual people are of no concern to his ideological agenda. Protecting the rights of individuals is not the aim of Federal "eco-protection" imposed on people in the name of "national significance". These promotions are not for the benefit of local people, whose rights are to be obliterated even while Kellet tells us it is all good for us in his coercive utopia.

And how "recent" do how many cases of condemnation have to be before we are allowed to denounce them as they deserve to be, especially since park activists regard what they did in the past as justified and necessary for their supposed "greater good"? That endorsement of the abuse as a matter of principle tells you all you have to know about the characer of these people: they continue to condone NPS abuse on principle as "necessary" while telling us that they should not be accountable for it or feared in the future because it happened in the past, i.e., because it happened.

The practical consequences for the future are that they want more such "greater good" in more areas. The number of condemnations dropped off in the 1980s -- but did not stop -- when the Reagan administration cut funding for it, not because NPS and the activists changed their minds about condemnation and depopulation. On the contrary, they expected to resume the carnage of the 1960s and 1970s under the 1988 NPCA/NPS "National Park System Plan", targeting people in hundreds of areas all over the country, after Reagan left office. They were stopped because they have a record. Political controls over acquisition funding contains the abuse but does not stop it. (NPCA wants to "fix" this with a guaranteed annual acquisition funding entitlement kept out of the hands of Congressional approval.)

Instead of acknowledging what NPS does to people, Kellet claims that there have been only "a handful [sic] of examples where there may [sic] be legitimate concerns about the use of eminent domain by the National Park Service". This whitewash of the intentional abuse pursued on principle, is stunning.

A "handful"? "May be a legitimate concern"? That's all? How many moe "examples" does he think are not a "legitimate concern"? It appears that these activists' only "concern" over condemnation is that people found out about their record, which gave them the bad reputation they deserve, making it harder to repeat the abuse, which they now seek to evade by telling us it was only in the "past", i.e., happened, so they should be given more power and money to go after more people.

Kellet and other NPS apologists will not acknowledge either the extent or the severity of their own history and cannot be trusted with more power over more people in more areas. They want power because they want to use it in their "ecosytem restoration" vision. They want Federal power because they know that people will not submit to it voluntarily.

The communities around Acadia in Maine specifically mentioned by Kellet (which contrary to Kellet is not in "northern Maine" and where the national park has its own history of still ongoing abuse), depend on a private economy, most of which has nothing to do with the park. Some businesses do depend on tourism, which would exist without NPS (and most people could certainly do without the congestion it brings). The National Park Service did not create Cadillac Mountain or "the economy".

Likewise, there is already tourism and public recreation throughout much of the Maine woods, including both state parks and private timberland. Wilderness enforcement is the opposite of a human economy and does not add to it, it only adds Federal prohibitions found throughout the National Park system such as the constant drive to elimiate motorized recreation and drive out "concessions". The pressure group activists are doing what they can to harass and drive out private industry from Maine. These are not people to trust for their advice on "the economy" served up as rationalization for a wilderness agenda.

That some people do in fact economically benefit from a takeover of others' land is not a justification for it, including claiming to do so in the name of "the economy" in the manner of the rationalization in the infamous Kelo takings in urban Connecticut. It is also not an excuse for dictating "tourism" (meaning for the wilderness activists primarily wilderness hikers in "roadles areas") as the only allowed economic activity in a form of government central planning imposed for "ecosystem restoration" in the name of "the economy". If the nation had had to depended on NPS for an "economy", the country would never have been settled -- or allowed to.

This is written in direct response to Kellet's specific arguments and evasions. Kellet's libelous mischaracterization of me as engaging in "rambling diatribes on right-wing websites" where he imagines that I am "obsessed with a wide array of imagined threats and conspiracies" and other accusations are the personal smear he intended them to be. He is looking for someone to attack as an ad-hominen diversion from the discussion of his own agenda.

Individuals who only want to peaceably and productively live their own lives are fed up with these full-time activists and pressure groups. They use outside money to incessantly agitate for radical political agendas openly intending to use Federal control claimed to be for our own good and then personally smear anyone who speaks out against them.

Sensible people with a legitimate interest in parks and nature can see that there is good reason why Kellet's agenda in Maine was rejected almost 25 years ago and still is. The record of the National Park Service and the openly stated agenda from groups like NPCA and Restore make it very clear that this controversy has nothing to do with alleged "rightwing conspiracies" and everything to do with what the well-heeled pressure groups are doing in interfering in and threatening people's lives through incessant harassment and agitation.

Re: Anon
Well said!!! Elections have consequences and the incremental destruction of individual freedoms (the strength of this country) has reached a tipping point, I believe. The Trojan horse of environmental wording has, for decades, been a rouse as Mr. Kellett demonstrates so well. There is something missing, a deep personal unhappiness, that drives some the way they use all forms of deception. Maybe it's like the 77 virgins that some believe they receive when they reach their goal that spurs those like Kellett on. I'm not sure but it is very dark and destructive effort. I remain, hopeful (and engaged)! Thank you again, Anonymous, for your clear view of this reality learned from experience.

Follow the history of the Kolb Bros. and very recent history of the Verkamp family's business at Grand Canyon that go back over 100 years that were more a part of the cultural history of the Canyon as the National Park Service itself. They were both forced out eventually by NPS but the buildings remain by act of Congress defeating NPS plans to completely demolish and remove Kolb Studio. They were financially compensated, not with funds from those individuals that made this happen but from tax money from INDIVIDUALS like the Kolb's and Verkamps the likes of which are continually assaulted by government "for the greater good."Just a couple of examples to give an idea how individual rights are being lost. Castro's Cuba comes to mind. I like Hopeful's attitude and the gift that Anonymous has of exposing the deception by some that should have been curbed by a parents spanking and saved the World a lot of trouble, lol!

In response to Mr. Kellett's denial/deception that we have a problem:

Dear Reality Experimentor,

I never said that we don't have a deficit problem. I said we don't have "an immediate, looming crisis." The article you linked to does not refute my assertion. It points to a long-term problem, which I agree we need to fix.

A big step forward would be to let the Bush tax cuts end and implement the Affordable Care Act. The Congressional Budget Office indicates that this alone would pretty much eliminate the deficit.

It's bizarre that you call my comment a "deception." I guess Paul Krugman, the CBO, and a lot of other economists are also guilty of "deception."

Dear Mr. Anonymous,

I stand by my previous comments, and those of my RESTORE: The North Woods colleague, Jym St. Pierre. Maybe you need to pay a little more attention to current events, instead of endlessly repeating imagined outrages from 25 years ago. The Cold War is over and the world has moved on.

Today's reality is that northern Maine is facing unprecedented problems -- unstable landownership, overcutting of the forest, misplaced development, mill closures, and loss of jobs and population. Maine people are looking for solutions to these very real challenges. That is why they are taking a fresh look at the national park idea, as a way to provide protection for the forest, guarantee public access, and diversify the economy.

A national park is a positive idea that could yield positive results for the people of Maine. As always, you offer no solutions to the real concerns of Mainers. You offer nothing but negativity, fearmongering, and obstructionism. People are tired of this kind of overheated rhetoric -- they want constructive solutions.

Dear Mr. Kellett,What we have here is probably the classic Liberal/Conservative discussion with some "reality" either embraced or denied. Counter to Krugman (Lets spend more) is Kudlow if you want to check. The thing with Liberalism is that when everyone sees it for what the ultimate results are , people reject it. Ideally, before the gradually heating water kills the frog to coin a parable. Liberals actually NEED conservatism to survive (financially) not unlike marriages that have one partner keeping things on an even keel (if you can keep politics out of it, lol).I know that conservatism did not get us to this point of decline. The paradigm should and is changing because it has to. The way these arguments are framed is ultimately the test for me. For the greater good while destroying individuals does not work for me. These special places that bring us out of ourselves and humble us, making us stronger are far removed from the muck of political speak. There is a lot to be said for transparency! There's a lot of bad stuff that can't exist if it's practiced but then again the frog lives:).Respectfully

I certainly enjoy my NPS area for their extensive recreational opportunities and for preserving our lands for the benefits of future generations. However, I'm not under the impression that to this day there aren't pressures made on private landowners when a new NPS unit is created or an existing one is expanded or changed in some way.

There have been the pressures made on private landowners to build the new Flight 93 Memorial, including the threat of using eminent domain.

The NPS purchased the land of the old Johnson's Oyster Farm back in 1972 at Point Reyes National Seashore. At the time it was an inholding. The purchase was combined with a reservation of use that included a renewal clause at the end of the 40 year term. Then the Point Reyes Wilderness Act of 1976 placed a potential wilderness tag on the waters where they raised oysters, but not the land that was "leased" from the NPS. So forward to 2005 when new ownership of the oyster farm reads the language of the contract and determines that it can be renewed. But of course it's complicated because the rights to raise oysters in the waters are issued by the State of California, but the the permit issued by the state requires that the the Farm must have their current shore operations to be valid. It gets more complicated, but I guess we can check out other articles on this mess.

I'm not saying it's good or bad, but it's not as if the federal government has always made it painless (in recent years) for landowners when it comes to acquiring land for NPS units.

Guess the title of the article was accurate

Do not have time to read all of this . But my guess is that people are waking up and realizing that National Parks now result in:
(A) The Federal Government taking control of properties
(B) Select Special Interest Groups taking control of the Federal Government, thus taking control of the properties
(C) The People losing control of the properties

So if you want to give the properties to the Select Special Interest Groups, this is the way to do it. Tell me I'm wrong. Look who is pushing for government takeover of properties. Look at the control they want over it once they get it. Look at what they do once they control it. It is theirs.

Sorry Kurt, Couldn't help myself,
Ron (obxguys)

I believe you are right, Mr. Saunders. At least about the 50% that pay 100% of the taxes. Should be a goal for the other half to get themselves in a position where they can have some skin in the game. Might be a lot learned in the struggle:).

Dear Reality Experimentor,

Your points are taken. My main purpose was not to argue about what to do about the deficit, but to make the point that the cost of existing and potential new national parks is minuscule compared with the whole federal budget. It makes no sense to argue that we can't afford parks when we are spending infinitely more money on unnecessary things such as corporate subsidies, Cold War weapons systems, etc.

Regarding your opposition to promoting the "greater good while destroying individuals," I totally agree. That is not at all what we are talking about in the Maine Woods, despite unfounded claims to the contrary.


Dear y_p_w,

I would certainly not claim that the National Park Service has never made mistakes in using its eminent domain powers. They clearly have. My point is that most of those mistakes happened decades ago. The National Park Service has only used eminent domain in a few isolated situations in recent years. I might even agree that some were ill-advised if I knew the whole story. But that is a far cry from what some claim, which is that the National Park Service continues a large-scale assault on private property owners through the coercive use of eminent domain. If there is any objective evidence that this is the case, I have yet to see it.


Dear Ron,

Sorry, but you're wrong.

(A) Only a small fraction of America's national parks were created through acquisition by he Federal Government (aka the American people).

(B) The only Special Interest Groups that I know that are taking control of the Federal Government is wealthy corporate interests that are buying elections and donating huge amounts of money to elected officials. The only Special Interest Groups that are taking control of federal property are private industries that push out other users to log, graze, mine, drill, and otherwise exploit our natural resources while being subsidized by the American taxpayer.

(c) The People are losing control of federal property, because of the private corporate uses noted above. They are also losing control of their own private property in more and more cases, but it is very rarely because of acquisition by the Federal Government to create a national park. Much more common is that people are losing control of their property to greedy corporate interests, such as those with subsurface mineral rights that allow mountaintop removal mining, oil and gas drilling including fracking, and other extractive activities; by industries that pollute the air and water; by adjacent construction of power lines and other infrastructure; and by illegal off-road motor vehicle use and other such activities.

If you are implying that the acquisition of private land by the Federal government leads to control of the land by conservationists, please show us any evidence that this is the case. I have certainly never seen any.

Mr. Kellett,Just wondering if you might be stuck in the 60's (fun at the time) mentality. It could be referred to as arrested development in some circles but I know it's more difficult to grow when a career is so profitable with such a great straw man as the environment. Brings to mind an old Churchill quote about the transition between youthful liberalism growing into smart conservatism as one ages. Both natural life progressions. Tired and old clichés about business taking over are again conjuring up Castro's Cuba especially with the inconvenient truths of this administration's relationship with big business and unions laundering the public's taxes into campaign contributions for almost exclusively one party.
I'll give another site referencing a favorite of many from the 60's including me but I like him even more now, lol!Respectfullyhttp://www.torontosun.com/2011/06/28/lennon-was-a-closet-republican-assistant

Response to "Sorry but you are wrong"

Ironically, I agree with most of what you say. However sometimes it is what is left out that is just as important.
As to "conservationists", I consider myself one, as are most responsible people. I pointed my remarks at Special Interest Groups who under the guise of Environmentalists are attempting to take control of Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. They are craftilly doing this via the endangered species act. Here again, I am in agreement with the act as long as it is not used in a manipulative manner. If someone wants to control something today, we have created multiple ways for them to do it. Unfortunitely many laws that were inacted with honorable intentions are used to extremes for less than honorable intentions.
Now, the reason I brought this up in this article is that it may help to explain why so many people are unwilling to trust handing over control of property to the Federal Government, which places it in the hands of the Department of Interior, Which places it into the hands of the National Park System, who ends up being sued by Suppossed Environmental Groups because they are not running things the way these groups think they should.
Don't get me wrong, I am not blaming the Federal Government or the Department of Interior. I believe their intentions at least start out with the most honorable of intentions that are born out by the initial conversations and negotiations. But once it gets past down to the NPS,for what ever reason, On Occassion, things begin to change. Initial conversations and negotiated promises are lost or forgotten. New laws are passed with gray and contradicting content. Some Environmental Groups that don't give a dang about the past and believe that only they know how the park should be run, then make their move. They do it very skillfully, a nip at the time. They start out with just the things that we all would agree are a good thing. But they have an agenda that goes well past that. If they get their way at Cape Hatteras, everyone will see that this is true. If they don't get their way, then common sense will have prevailed.
The unfortunate thing is that alot of good people are being used by a few organizations in the name of save the environment. Heck, we all want to save the environment. But there are some that also want to control it to the extreme, including exclusion of others. That is why some people are expressing reluctance as to trusting the National Park Philosophy.
I know there are many that will take issue with what I have said. That's fine, I respect your opinions. There are similar issues in progress all across the Country. Too much arguing and definately too much litigation. I think we must ask the question , Why ? I think one answer is some want a little too much to be their way and disregard the feelings of others.
The motto of the free and open access folks at Cape Hatteras is "Protect and Preserve, Not Prohibit". I think that says it pretty good. Because of the misdeeds of a few, some think it necessary to exclude all. I think some moderate regulation will work.
Please believe that I know most Environmentalists are good, well meaning folks. I have used the term herein to associate certain special interest groups. Hope everyone understands. I further wish to point out that it's difficult to determine the motivations and what forces are behind some actions of the NPS. Hoping for the best where that's concerned.
Ron (obxguys)

Ron Saunders,Spot on and respectfully said! Not always an easy deal:).

Dear Reality Experimentor,

It's quite unseemly of you to accuse me of having a "profitable" career using the environment as a "straw man." My wife, who makes twice what I make, would laugh at the idea my work for a small nonprofit group is "profitable." And calling the environment a "straw man" -- now who is spouting "tired and old cliches"? You sound like James Watt -- maybe that means you're stuck in the '80s. Or maybe it's the '60s, with your wacky allusion to "Castro's Cuba." Talk about arrested development....

Regarding big corporations taking over, that is not an old cliche -- it's a new reality. If you don't think that corporate interests have an unprecedented amount of control over American life, it's another sign that you might be lagging back in the '60s.

I am not happy that Obama gets funding from corporate interests, but he doesn't have much choice if he is to stand a chance against the massive corporate contributions flowing to the Republicans. Maybe you missed the Citizens United case and the scandalous donations to the Republicans from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Koch Brothers that helped to buy a number of Republican elections in 2010.

I am happy to have unions supporting Obama -- they are the only major counterforce left to balance selfish corporate and Wall Street interests. That is why right-wing Republican governors are doing their best to bust unions -- it has nothing to do with state budgets. Amazingly, they have overreached so far that the people are fighting back.

Being unhappy about America being taken over by giant corporations, Wall Street bankers, and the greedy rich is not a '60s thing -- it was championed by "tired and old" presidents such as Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman. We need their kind of leadership now, more than ever.



Dear Ron,

You make a lot of good points. My own feeling is that we can’t go too wrong if we always have a sense of balance. I am an off-road motorized vehicle user, but I recognize that it is only fair to have places where responsible people can use them. In return, I think ORV and snowmobile users should be willing to support other areas that will be managed as wilderness.

The RESTORE: The North Woods proposal for a Maine Woods National Park and Preserve would address both kinds of uses. The core would be national park managed as wilderness, and other more accessible areas would be a national preserve, where hunting, snowmobiling, and other uses not usually allowed in national parks could continue.

I also agree that some environmental organizations -- especially some big national organizations -- can be pretty arrogant. I have to deal with that myself, as a person who works for a small nonprofit group.

I think the National Park Service is doing its best to balance the many sometimes contradictory interests of the American people. They usually do a pretty good job. As long as everyone has a voice and the process is transparent, I think we can eventually sort out the tough issues.



Mr. KellettSo much imagery is also a large part of debate. It always has been but the amount of reality or truth as a base of the issues sure has to be at an all time low, I believe. The use of the "environment" as a straw man is not arguable. It's right up there with the way some people throw the "racist" term around so loosely that it's meaningless except to slander and neutralize the opposition. There ARE people out there that see through a lot of these debate tactics and those numbers are increasing as the attempts to ignore reality can not be soothed by ever more meaningless words. Short on time here but thanks for the discussion.

Well, Reality Experimentor,

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Thanks, as well for the discussion.


Michael Kellett, Maybe a beer summit sometime, my favorite :).Take care