Archive for the ‘No Second National Park for Maine’ Category
Preserve Maine Traditions is a citizens group committed to preserving Maine’s cultural heritage and land use traditions. We work to ensure the continued respect between landowners and the public; sharing in the stewardship of this beautiful land for all to enjoy. PMT presented a panel discussion at 6:30 pm March 6, 2012 at the Camden Public Library in opposition to the park proposal for northern Maine put forth by RESTORE:The North Woods and Roxanne Quimby.
Thank you Senator Collins!!!
Here is a link to the Bangor Daily News article –Feds decline to pursue study of Quimby park proposal
Recently someone posted our “sign petition” link onto a New England hunting forum bulletin board. A couple of the responses there were rather shocking, one of which was – why should we be concerned about this, hunting is allowed in National Parks.
So, just to clear up some obvious misconceptions, here is what the NPS has to say about that, taken directly from their website www.nps.gov –
“Most National Parks do not allow consumptive use of the resources, such as hunting, trapping, timber harvesting, and mineral extraction.”
What about a National Monument? – we have been hearing that word lately from park proponents – again, directly from the NPS –
“Monuments are essentially under the same guidelines as a Park.”
Perhaps there is some confusion surrounding Park nomenclature – there is a link here to the NPS website that explains their names and what they mean.
That is not to say there are occasional exceptions to the rule – the permitting process for which would be akin to visiting your local DMV office.
Think of it this way – To casually wave off concerns of freedoms within a National Park would be analagous to saying the following; we’re going to take a city just like what is on Manhattan Island and plop it in the middle of the North Maine Woods – we think it would be great for business and the economy of the region…..and the resulting uproar being dismissed with – yeah, but I’ll still be able to camp there. Maybe you “could” – but the experience would never be the same.
The same for snowmobiling – remember, Park proponents may say all kinds of things that may be ‘allowed’ – but once the land is handed over, all of that goes out the window, and it’s the NPS’s word from then on. Sure, you can answers “yes” to the statement that snowmobiling is allowed in some Parks – would it be the same as it is now on the ITS trails? Absolutely not. Both in Acadia and Yellowstone (which seems to be the most cited Park for sleds) it is restricted to tarred roads within the Park – that’s the precedent. As far as snowmobiling goes – preservationists have been suing for years with varying degrees of success to have snowmobiling stopped in Yellowstone. There are so many rules and regulations it boggles the mind – is that what you want for Maine? I don’t, and I don’t even own a snowmobile – but I respect the rights of others to recreate as they see fit – and someday I may want to get a sled and ride the trails of Millinocket. See the link here and do a search for yourself on the lawsuits to keep sleds out of Yellowstone. They will keep at it and at it until one of these days, they’ll win.
Just because you can answer “yes” to a question does not mean the experience will be the same, or even close to what we have now. The area of the proposed Park is historically a consumptive use area. In Park Planning 101 the first thing they teach you is you don’t change the traditional use of an area to create a Park. A National Parks rules will effectively stop the historic activity of the region, which is why Roxanne herself has said it could take many many years to attract visitors to the Park…because the historic use of the area would be changing – is that what you want for Maine? Think carefully about your answer.
Please visit preservemainetraditions for more information.
What IS the big deal? What’s the harm? We all want the facts right? Sounds fair enough?
Before going any further along this post, please read the National Park Service Critera for Parkland
There is a glaring omission from this lengthy page outlining criteria for Parkland. Did you find it? Have a guess?
Here is a hint from the article;
To be feasible as a new unit of the National Park System an area’s natural systems and/or historic settings must be of sufficient size and appropriate configuration to ensure long-term protection of the resources and to accommodate public use. It must have potential for efficient administration at a reasonable cost. Important feasibility factors include landownership, acquisition costs, access, threats to the resource, and staff or development requirements.
Still don’t see it?
Lets put some of the bigger pieces of the puzzle together in a Readers Digest condensed version. First, as you may or may not know, Restore:The North Maine Woods arrived on the scene here in Maine in 1992 with a big plan to start a 3.2 million acre National Park. Roxanne sat on the board of Restore, and split with them in about 2004 when it became evident that support for a National Park was simply not there in Maine, nor did they have a plan for the land acquisition. She then began quietly (sometimes not so quietly) purchasing pieces of the property that were in the original Restore plan. There was a vision at one time (2004) to make Monson the gateway community to the proposed Park which you can read about in a great press release here. On or about 2007 the US economy began its downtrend, the Millinocket mills eventually closed, and in 2010 Roxanne was appointed to the National Park Foundation Board of Directors. Restore called it a “unique set of circumstances” and pushed with renewed vigor for a National Park. The pieces were all in place –The Wolf at the Door was ready to finally pounce on it’s prize.
But the window of opportunity was short lived. The mill re-opened, the State Legislature voted overwhelmingly against a feasibility study as did the towns of Millinocket and East Millinocket. Maine’s Senators and Representatives have said they will not support the Park without the majority of Mainers behind the idea, especially local approval.
Which brings us back to the question at the top of the post. The glaring omission is LOCAL impact. The only thing a feasibility or reconnaissance study will show is whether or not a Park is feasible for the area, period. It will not assess the impact to the local community. And if proponents get the study, they’ll get the Park. The study is also not done by an independent entity encompassing the local impact, rather it is done by the National Park Service which, where I come from, is called a conflict of interest.
So, we’ve seen in previous posts what can happen to states with large amounts of Federal Land, some Real Facts and Real Fears about National Parks, including the fact that they never stay the same size after inception. They always grow, and proponents are deliberately misleading you to say otherwise. We’ve seen what the economic impact will really be in Economics 101 and the jobs that will be lost should a National Park in the region become a reality. Proponents have claimed that a National Park will take people off welfare and yet we’ve seen what the Welfare statistics are surrounding Acadia National Park, and that most National Parks do not hire the local population.
I find it amusing that proponents think this message is anti-government in nature, nothing can be further from the truth, it is a pro-Maine message. We have been such good stewards of the land in the first place, which is why it’s there for preservationists to want to protect. The land was open and accessible for ALL to use, not just a select few, until Roxanne bought it and put up gates. You can read more about issues surrounding access here and here.
Why would you want to give that land away?
John Malone one of the largest landowners in the US, and Maine understands the need for both conservation and the continuation of a working forest and traditional access; He intends to keep the land as a working forest, aides said, and will continue to supply timber to local paper mills and keep the land open to the public for recreation. And as Frank Janusz directly put it; Frank Janusz, the owner of the Airline Lodge and Snack Bar in rural Hancock County, where much of Mr. Malone’s new land is located, had just returned Friday from grooming 40 miles of snowmobile trails.“Without the snowmobile business, six to eight people would lose their jobs right here,” he said, adding that access to the land was critical. “We’d die without it,” he said.
We can, and should, explore other options to preserve the integrity of the land, and yet continue to allow access for EVERYONE, both recreational and employment related. With the way people feel here in Maine, proponents owe it to us to do just that.
It’s amazing to me that proponents are stuck on the notion that the Forest Industry here in Maine is a dying industry, as nothing could be further from the truth. There is a ‘must read’ story here where In Westbrook, we are producing World Cup soccer shoes and Gucci jackets out of Maine paper. In Old Town, our pulp mill is producing jet fuel. Composite wood, liquid fuels and sugar from trees are being researched at the University of Maine, while Europeans are eyeing torrefied wood, so-called wood coal that they can burn in the existing fluidized bed coal power plants. Sawmills are toughing out a housing recession, yet the projected 60 percent increase in annual allowable cut in spruce/fir over the next 20 years, not to mention the rising volumes of white pine, all bode well. On the news just this morning there was a story about exporting cedar log cabin kits to China.
How embarrassed will you be if Maine creates a big National Park, and ends up having to import it’s wood at a higher cost?
The town of Millinocket has never marketed itself, we need to give them a chance to do so, and they have a plan in place to begin that, which you can read about here
There are alternatives that allow Maine to financially prosper from it’s unique forestland, while conserving that land in parallel. It’s what we as a State have done for generations, and we’re pretty good at it. It’s why the land is still there. Proponents should be exploring these options instead of forcing their will on the people of Maine whom have continually told them no.
The people behind this website are fighting for their way of life, their livelihood, their backyards, and their traditions. They’re spending their own money, and their own valuable time to get the message across. They actually care about Maine’s future and Maine’s woods, not a legacy or a non-profit success.
And that’s the big deal about a feasibility or a reconnaissance study. It will not include the local impact, which will be an impact that is detrimental to the future of the State. We can do better.
Please visit preservemainetraditions for more information.
The proponents of a second National Park in Maine have stated that this wonderful “gift” will be an economic engine and revitalize the economy of Northern Maine. Proponents have previously said that the proposed National Park is the ONLY viable option to create jobs…that is…until Cate Street Capital opened up the mill again in East Millinocket. Now that tune has changed to the proposed Park would be part of economic “diversity” in the region, implying that the two can work hand in hand. When pressed for information, what we get is the answer that a feasibility study is needed – now downgraded to a reconnaissance study after the feasibility study was voted against 513-132 -the results of which you can see here. Yet one only has to do some simple searches on the internet to come up with some hard facts.
First, the proponents of the proposed Park would have us believe that should the Park come to fruition that the Northern Maine economy will be “revitalized” . Lets look at some other states and see if that is true.
The Federal Government owns almost 650 million acres of land (2.63 million square kilometers), which is nearly 30% of it’s total territory.
In Maine, there is 22,646,400 acres, of which Acadia National Park comprises 47,748.
Should the proposed 70,000 acre “seed” become the 3.2 million acre goal, 14% of Maine’s land will be under Federal control. Pretty big number. For proof that the goal is indeed 3.2 million acres, see unanswered questions.
So, let’s look at another state – how about Nevada. In Nevada the Federal Government owns 84.5% of the land and it’s two popular National Parks – Great Basin and Death Valley. So, if the proponents of the new Park for Maine are correct in their theory, Nevada’s economy should be revitalized and the economic engine should be chugging right along.
So, what do you think Nevada’s unemployment rate is??
Lets look at California – 45.3% of which is under Federal control and home to; Golden Gate Recreation Area, Joshua Tree NP, Lassen NP, Lava Beds NM, Pinnacles NM, Redwood NP, and the ever popular Yosemite NP. According to the proponents theory, California should be very well off with all that Federal land and jobs.
And yet the unemployment rate for California is almost 12%.
Maine, with very little Federal control has an unemployment rate of 7.5%, or almost half that of states that have a lot of Federal land and popular National Parks.
In fact, one could make the argument from the data that Maine’s unemployment rate is more likely to go UP if we got a new National Park.
Lets look at the Forest Products Industry in Maine.
10 years ago Restore did an economic impact study of their proposed 3.2 million acre park, and things have changed a lot in those 10 years. They projected that jobs related to the forest industry here in maine would be declining and the gradual phasing out of forestry jobs. But, like all industries, the forest industry has progressed. It’s not all about paper any more. The wood pellet industry has been created and taken off in those 10 years. With the price of oil rising, large businesses are switching to boilers that burn pellets instead of oil. It’s been discovered during those 10 years that Pine trees produce a rare substance that is part of the Tamflu vaccine, you can read about that discovery here.
The wood liquor industry for use as a potential fuel is in its infancy and also has potential for tremendous growth, and again wasn’t in the cards 10 years ago. I also discovered this article during my research; record timber sales.
What will happen to this if we lock up 3.2 million acres of Maine’s working forest? What cures or vaccines or other uses for timber will happen in the next 10 years?? The predictions of Restore 10 years ago have not come true.
Even a short 6 years after Restore’s impact study came out, this study came out;
Here is the all important number from that report;
The annual contribution of forest-based manufacturing and forest-related recreation and tourism to the Maine economy is over $6.47 billion.
And more importantly;
Each 1,000 acres of forest land in Maine supports 1.2 forest-based manufacturing, forestry and logging jobs and .7 forest-related tourism and recreation jobs.
So, lets do the math.
1.9 jobs per 1000 acres is .0019 jobs/acre multiplied by 3.2 million acres is 60,800 jobs lost In just the forest industry alone.
That’s a lot of park rangers.
Restore themselves in their impact report mention that the proposed national park would eliminate1 billion from the economy. Then they go on to try to make that number seem small and insignificant because they project declining harvest numbers, which other reports 10 years later show is not the case.
Let’s take a look at snowmobiling.
Direct evidence of snowmobiling’s economic impact on the state can be found here
So, the hard numbers are 300 -350 million brought in to the state and 2700 + jobs.
Proponents will tell you that it is ‘not true’ that a national park would ban snowmobiling, yet they are forgetting the ‘but’ after that statement. Sure, you can snowmobile in Acadia NP – only around the loop road and ocean drive. There will be some snowmobiling in a proposed park – key word being some. It will not be like it is today. Consider this statement “Environmentalists are encouraging park officials to keep the number of snowmobiles around 260 a day for the coming season — the average number that have used the parks for the past five years — and eventually to phase them out. “ quoted from a NY times article. This is the direction that Parks are taking..phasing out.
Lets take a look at ATV’s – which have become very popular over the past 10-15 years, and hunting. The source of the data cited is “Public access to Maine’s private lands, a Cultural and Economic asset” prepared by the Maine state planning office.
In 2006 (source 2006 census) Hunters spent 240 million in the state of Maine. I can’t find data on how many jobs that brings to the state, but think of all the guides, lodging, gun shops, and sporting goods stores, not to mention the mom and pop variety stores that benefit from this activity.
In 2004 ATV’s brought in 200 million to the state and were responsible for 1,975 jobs.
So – there are some hard numbers for you.
Back when Restore was pushing their own agenda for the same proposed National Park Ron Lovaglio came out with the following statement;
Maine Department of Conservation Commissioner Ron Lovaglio stated at the Maine Woods Conservation Easement Forum that the wood products extracted from the 3.2 million acres of forestland in the Maine North Woods adds approximately $986,000,000 to the Maine economy each year through wages and sales of products and services. According to the Maine Office of Tourism, the typical overnight visitor to our region spends $85/day. To make up for the loss of productivity of locking up 3.2 million acres of forestland, a National Park would have to bring 11.6 million ADDITIONAL tourists to the region.
The data shown earlier in this post shows his statement to be accurate.
Where do you think these tourist are going to come from?
Acadia NP – one of the most visited, only attracts approximately 3 million visitors per year as a comparison.
And finally, what about the loss of the tax base of 3.2 million acres? Maine has a tree growth tax program which greatly reduces the amount of tax paid, but they are certainly getting a large amount of money in taxes from that property. As far as taxes go , it is basic economics 101 that if you remove a large tract of land from the tax base, the tax burden on other properties will go up. Proponents will tell you their big idea is Payment in lieu of Tax (PILOT) program – However “Although some would say that federal land will return money to the tax rolls through the Payment In Lieu Of Tax (PILOT) program, the 1994 Balanced Budget Act (as well as current budget realities) keep this program from being funded at more than 50% its necessary level. Therefore, Maine should expect no more than 50% of the reduced land value payment we should receive, should 3.2 million acres become federally owned. Consider Maine’s track record with the Tree Growth program and reimbursement to municipalities.” (Cited from Maine Woods Coalition).
And the last time I checked – our Government is broke.
And yet the proponents of a Park say this is a “no brainer”.
Their proposed Park will destroy Northern Maine’s economy.
I propose that it is time for a regift.
I propose that there are a number of ways that we can all get what we want – public reserved land or a land trust being a couple of examples.
Really think about it before you support giving all this land away from our State.
If you agree please consider signing a petition against a new National Park using the link below.
To find out more please visit preserve Maine traditions
Proponents of a second National Park in Maine claim it will be a jobs creator and an economic engine that will revitalize the economy, and that other states are benefiting from having Federal lands near them. We’ve already shown here that is not necessarily the case.
Another state where that is not the case is Utah. Utah is so stifled by the rules and regulations that come with the “wonderful gift” of Federal land that they passed House Bill 143 giving them the authority to use eminent domain to condemn the Federal Lands within their borders. Oregon is hoping to follow Utah’s lead and do the same thing. This is what’s happening in other states – rules, regulations, and mismanagement have stifled the economy instead of growing it.
Oregon is very similar to Maine in that they have a large timber resource that has now been plagued with wildfires and a slow decline of the timber industry due to Federal regulations locking away the land, and jobs have moved away from “family-wage levels to low paying, dead-end jobs in the tourism industry.”
Utah realized that the Federal Government had failed to take into account the economic needs of the state against their environmental concerns, to the point where they decided to do something about it – in their words “land that is currently mis-managed and neglected by the federal government would be transferred to either state government or private citizens, who would make use of the land to create jobs, revitalize rural communities, boost the economy, and balance state and local budgets. What a concept.”
Other states are not happy with their Federal Lands, and states such as California and Nevada both of whom have popular National Parks and large amounts of land owned by the Feds also have economies that are in the toilet, not revitalized.
I don’t want that for Maine. We can do better than that on our own.
You can read the full article source here
To find out more please visit Preserve Maine traditions
Proponents of a second national park in Maine have made the statement that towns that are adjacent to National Parks enjoy greater economic prosperity. What they don’t say is that National Parks are typically centered around some type of jewel such as Cadillac Mountain, Death Valley, Grand Tetons etc etc. Places that people were going to and wanted to see anyway that needed protecting for all of us to enjoy. The area of the proposed National Park has no jewel – the jewel is Katahdin which is already under state protection because Percival Baxter had the foresight to see that a National Park wasn’t a good idea for Northern Maine.
So, tourists would be going to visit these areas regardless of whether or not they enjoyed National Park status. Think about it for a minute. Think about Old Orchard Beach – no National Park there, and you cannot dispute that it is a destination spot for tourists. The economy of Old Orchard Beach is equivalent or greater to that of Bar Harbor, and Bar Harbor would enjoy that same prosperity whether or not there was a National Park next to it; the same as Rockland, Camden,Kennebunkport and the myriad of other coastal towns.
In time, we may see some projected tourism economic data on the proposed National Park. Tourism studies usually include three terms the first being direct spending which is; the purchases of goods and services that are directly incorporated into the visit such as tolls, camping fees, and firewood purchased at the Park. The next term is an important one and is called indirect spending. This is important because this figure can be manipulated to suit the bias of the author. Indirect spending includes all the spending related to the visit that is not spent directly at the destination such as gas and food on the way to the destination, and that number can be diluted out to infinity. The final term is multiplier and is even more convoluted that indirect spending. A multiplier is a factor of proportionality that measures how much an endogenous variable changes in response to a change in some exogenous variable. For example, suppose a one-unit change in some variable x causes another variable y to change by M units – M being the multiplier. To use an analogy if there is a 60 miles stretch of highway with no gas stations and I build one I have caused a variable (x). I then cause Y to change by bringing people to my gas station by a multiplier (M) which can be garnered from traffic studies, surveys and the like. This variable is the easiest one to manipulate and if you start seeing the words premise, projection,relative, forecast, and assumption that’s the time to get nervous, because these terms translate to “I have no idea, but manipulated the numbers to suit me.” It’s a guess. Basically all you have to remember when you start reading about multipliers is that the actual multiplier is always close to zero. For every new dollar spent, someone else is losing a dollar, just like in my simple gas station example as I would be taking money away from nearby gas stations.
The same can (and is) being said about jobs. There are direct jobs and indirect jobs associated with National Parks. However, just like indirect spending, indirect jobs can be manipulated by the data wielder. As I stated in the beginning, I believe that Bar Harbor, like Old Orchard beach, would be a destination spot whether there was a National Park there or not. In fact I could probably make a strong case that were Acadia NP to end existence tomorrow that there would be even more economic multipliers and jobs in this region – after all, what rich person wouldn’t want to stay in a hotel on top of Cadillac Mtn? I say this to make the point that there is no way to measure indirect jobs here in Acadia National Park because those jobs would be here regardless. Therefore we can only measure direct jobs in Acadia. So, here’s the million dollar question – how many jobs do you think Acadia National Park directly creates? A park that enjoys great popularity, and has 2 to 3 millions visitors per year. Got a figure in your head?
100 permanent and 130 seasonal employees. See the Source of that figure.
That’s it – for 3 million visitors.
How many jobs do you think the proposed National Park will ACTUALLY create.
How many visitors do you think they will attract?
Think about it.
What we can look at is how many visitors Baxter attracts…Baxter that has the jewel of the region, and encompasses ~ 200,000 acres or about 2.8 times the sized of the proposed National Park. Baxter Park did their own study in 2008 and came up with the following data; approximately 60,000 visitors come to the Park annually of which (51%) of survey participants reported that they were day users and (44%) reported that they were overnight users.
Of those overnight users the vast majority only spent one night in the park, which is about what I would think based on the use of the area (predominantly hiking), and would be the same figure for the proposed National Park. Places like Acadia you stay for a week as there is so much to do…it’s such a diverse resource. The people that would likely stay for a week in the Millinocket region would be consumptive users, such as snowmobilers – and yet the proposed Park would greatly restrict or ban them outright.
So,Baxter Park, which has the jewel that people want to come see in Katahdin, and was protected as a State Park because Percival Baxter did not want a National Park in Maine attracts ~ 60,000 visitors annually the majority of whom are either day users or 1 overnight users.
When I took Park Planning in college we were taught that you first did an overlook of the current use of the property. For example, what do visitors of Baxter Park go for? Hiking? Perfect, a Park would fit with the current use of the area. So, before the proposed National Park parcel was gated to the public, what did the public go to do there? What was the use of the area? Traditionally consumptive use – hunting, snowmobiling, fishing, ATV’s – uses that are not compatible with a National Park. To create a National Park in the proposed region you would have to change the current use of the area, something that rarely works.
The proponents of a proposed second National Park in Maine announce continuously that this is about jobs and economic revitalization which it will not accomplish. We’ve already seen here that the creation of the 3.2 million acre goal will lose at minimum 64,000 jobs by locking up that property.
A National Park in this proposed region of Maine is just not a good idea, and will not revitalize the economy – it won’t even dilute it.
There are some more great thoughts about the proposed national park here
No Park for ME.
Proponents of a second National Park in Maine have claimed that it is just ~ 70,000 acres on the table, and nothing more. It’s not going to grow to the 3.2 million acre leviathan that no one in Maine wants, and it’s spreading misinformation and feeding fears to say otherwise.
Ok, so here’s a question for you –How many National Parks have stayed at the same size since inception?
Lets look at some facts;
Acadia National Park is getting ready for a new 56 acre expansion. source.
Everglades National Park is expanding by 109,000 acres, and has grown a massive 1 million acres since inception. source.
Olympic National Park is proposing a 240 acre expansion. source.
Petrified Forest National Park just purchased 26,000 acres, which is 1/3 of its expansion goal. source
The US senate approved 1.32 million to expand Congaree National Park. source
North Cascades National Park could expand 237,000 acres. source
An initiative is underway to expand and re-designate the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area as a National Park and Preserve. source
Do you see a pattern? How many National Parks stay the same size after inception? Probably none of them.
Real Facts – Real Fears.
And if you are thinking that the proposed Park won’t grow past the 70,000 acres on the table – you had better think again – its just the “seed”.
Think before you decide to give Maine’s land and traditions away – there are viable alternatives to a National Park that can make everyone happy.
No Park for ME