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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. 

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