Interior Secretary Salazar: No Plans To Explore Possibility of a North Woods National Park in Maine

There are no plans at this point for the National Park Service to look into the merits of a "North Woods National Park" in Maine, according to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

During a congressional review of the Interior Department's FY 2013 budget proposal, Secretary Salazar told U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that the Park Service is not planning to conduct a "reconnissance study" of the proposed park.

"There is no effort under way to do any of that," the secretary said last week.

Talk of creating a national park in Maine's North Woods has been kicking around for roughly 20 years. The drivers behind Restore: The North Woods long have envisioned a 3.2-million-acre park, one that would be 1 million acres larger than Yellowstone National Park and which would help wildlife species threatened with extinction for lack of habitat and protect the "wild forests of New England."

The appeal of a "North Woods" national park reached all the way to Washington, D.C., where Interior Secretary Salazar was so intrigued by the possibility that he and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis traveled to Maine last August to meet the locals and hear their thoughts on the proposal. The two didn't promote the idea, but rather tried to answer questions from those on both sides of the issue.

Roxanne Quimby, who built a fortune making candles and personal care products under the Burt's Bees label, so believes the landscape is worthy of "national park" status that she has offered to transfer roughly 70,000 acres of her land that butts up to Baxter State Park to the National Park Service.

The gesture, while seen as grand by many, is looked down upon by others who believe Maine's woods exist to be logged or that having the federal government in the backyard in the form of a national park would create too many "restrictions and rules."

“Since your visit to Maine in August, the proponents have been trying hard to gain support for the completion of a feasibility or reconnaissance study, but I will tell you that the harder they have pushed, the stronger the resistance has become,” Sen. Collins told Secretary Salazar during the hearing.

Comments

Disappointing. America deserves a North Woods National Park.

It is important to be clear about this. According to the Bangor Daily News, Sec. Salazar said, “We have no plans to move forward on a reconnaissance study on the proposal from Ms. Quimby on the national park." His words were carefully chosen. First, he said there are no plans, which does not rule out a study in the future. Second, he limited his remarks to Ms. Quimby's proposal, which is different than the Maine Woods National Park & Preserve vision that has been put forth by RESTORE: The North Woods. And third, Sen. Collins' comment that "the harder [proponents] have pushed, the stronger the resistance has become” is relative and anecdotal. It says nothing about the actual support for the national park idea. Every statistically legitimate poll I have seen shows a majority of Mainers surveyed are supportive of the park idea. It is important to separate political spin from quantifiable fact. ~ Jym St. Pierre, Maine Director, RESTORE: The North Woods

As a Maine native, I have been excited for years about the possibility of preservation in Maine's north woods, but I'm not surprised by this decision, or even terribly disappointed. Maine's own Baxter State Park is managed much better than the national parks in terms of wildlife habitat and conservation - the management of our national parks is subject to too much special interest pressure and politics. I would love to see Roxanne Quimby's land added to Baxter, or even created as a new park system, outside of the national park system. I would love to see Restore's goal of 3 million acres preserved, and hope that it happens.
I'm resigned to the fact we probably can't preserve this much land without being part of the national park system, but hope that we can move forward with turning some of Roxanne's land into permanently protected parkland in the meantime, using much more forward thinking conservation policies than the national park system uses (which focuses way too much on recreation, at the expense of conservation).

Think about the timing. Snowe's sudden retirement gives the Dems a legit chance to pick up her seat; taking Maine Woods NP temporarily off the table might be the politically prudent move at the moment.

Locals were also againt Teton National park back in the day

Justin - don't quite get your logic. Why do you think creating Maine Woods NP would be unattractive to Dems?

Hey Anon,

I don't. Just the opposite.

Then could you explain why it would be politcally prudent to pull the proposal?

Not pull, shelve.
Independents and swing voters.

As part of Roxanne Quimby's strategy in obtaining land here in Maine, she first makes it known that she desires to purchase a piece of land and then the owner liquidation harvests the land knowing that Quimby will pay top dollar to keep other investors from purchasing said land.
The 59,000 acres she has now was harvested prior to her aquiring it, including a large stand of old growth forest. That land is not suitable for a national park, unless it was to be named "Stump Park".
Maine's proud traditions of private ownership and public access have properly maintained the forests for generations, and you can travel as Thoreau did even today. We are justifiably proud of the unique partnership we have with private landowners, and the stewardship of our great state that we share with them.
People are welcome to visit these lands; many campsites have been established for all to use, and the freedom to recreate any way a person could want is available all year 'round with no restrictions on the visitor other than to comply with our traditions and be respectful towards the landowner and our common sense traditions.
The jewels of the North Maine Woods have been preserved in the best managed park in the world, Baxter State Park. At almost a quarter million acres of forever wild wilderness, it is one of the most beautiful places on earth.
There is simply no need for a national park here. What is here now is better than any national park, and there is no threat at present that would cause anyone to want a national park here.
Jym St. Pierre and the RESTORE agenda have been a wolf at our door for decades now, and nothing that they have claimed has come true. We say to them and their ideas, we're tired of you, and we wish you would leave our Maine way of life alone. The same goes for Roxanne Quimby, since they are one and the same.
Stop trying to ram a national park down Maine's throat. We will resist with all our might, and our politeness is wearing thin when it comes to these pseudo- intellectuals telling us what we need.

When it comes to questions being asked and answered by politicians, why do we always need to "read between the lines" Why can't there be direct answers to the questions asked? I know I am asking too much, but for once I'd like to hear the truth from someone in Washington.
The same goes for Mr. St.Pierre and RESTORE and Now Ms Quimby and others. Questions about their plans are asked constantly by the locals, but always their answers or words are "carefully chosen", which means "political double talk". They give an answer today, in front of a group of folks looking for a reason to support them, only to find out at a later time that they should have listened to what was not said, or what was intended to be said. So consequently the local opposition grows.
Tactics like gating large tracts of previously usable land, preventing hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, atv riding, trapping, etc. and decietful words and plans will gain you nothing but opposition.
I dare say most of the folks who are opposed to the notion of a National Park or ANY FEDERAL INVOLVEMENT in the Maine Woods would welcome a LOCAL plan that includes considerations given to a balanced approach to working forests, recreation (motorized and non-motorized) fishing, hunting, conservation, environmentalism, etc.., All the plans on the table now include very strict limits on the very industries Mainers have been striving for decades to achieve.
The plan on the table for the NWNP now includes 75,000 acres adjacent BSP to be under Federal Control, and the town(ship) of Barnard and Eliottsville/Willimantic to be dedicated to "some traditional, recreational uses",... so that mean if I live on Rte 11 in Benedicta, and I hunt, fish and ride in that area ,... once the NP is approved, I would need to drive 60+ miles to do what I used to do out my back yard?
And Like Jim St.Pierre says above, The proposed 70,000 acre park has no intention of stopping at that,.. their stated goal, for years has been 3.2 million acres, and like Jim St.Pierre also says, You need to "be clear about what is being said through the CAREFULLY CHOSEN WORDS",... in other words, you can not take what they say at face value, you need to be vigilant and consider what is not being stated. Make no mistake, the idea of a National Park, National Monument, National Conservation Area, National Heritage Area, etc, is not going away. All these ideas intend to TAKE AWAY from the people who live, work, raise families, earn a living, have deep family roots and wish to continue doing so for generations.

To Mr. Dhuy & Mr. Horne
How refreshing to read your comments. Stand your ground and don't stop shouting your "COMMON SENSE" Gentlemen. It is apparent you can see the agenda. Good for you. Anyone questioning wether or not you know what you are talking about, just tell them to come to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area and see what's happening. If the national Park Service is so good, why are so many people all over the country so displeased with them. They are a good idea gone bad. The people that were involved in creating the magnificant parks and policy during years past are no longer controlling the system today. It's not even the Government officials or employees. It is the special interest environmental groups. The same groups that we admired so much in the past. That to is gone. It's not about the birds and animals and flora anymore. It is about power and control. You think you have an agreement with these people, I don't care if it is etched in stone, they will find or create a way around it. If what you have isn't broke, don't invite them in to fix it.
Thank you for your time.
Ron (obxguys)

Mr. Dhuy, Mr. Horne and Ron Saunders, I am refreshed to here your words of reality and support. Need more face smacking reality! Like kids that have gotten away with a lot and continuing until someone either cares enough to give them the spanking they need and later are thankful for or they die a miserable death taking the country with them or...

Jym St. Pierre's response should be displayed in mainstream media. How telling these deceptions are!

From his words:

"His words were carefully chosen." .... meaning: He was being deceitful.
"Every statistically legitimate poll I have seen shows a majority of Mainers surveyed are supportive of the park idea. It is important to separate political spin from quantifiable fact. ~ Jym St. Pierre, Maine Director, RESTORE: The North Woods" ....
This is double-speak at it's purist and finest. "Statistically legitimate polls" are nothing other than the "political spin" vs the facts of f how the polls were gathered. The "polls" were garnered in much the same way as going to a CASINO to take a poll on having a new CASINO, or gathering a petition in the same way.

We don't need the governnment stealing more private land! NO NEW NATIONAL PARKS!

Fognog2 is right! The government is a thief. It needs to be prosecuted by . . . umm, uhh . . .