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Coalition asks Quimby to abandon national park plans

‘Sometimes big ideas are just plain bad ideas’

AUGUSTA — Leaders of several groups that oppose a national park in the Millinocket area have called upon park proponents Roxanne Quimby and her son, Lucas St. Clair, to abandon their plans now that voters in Medway and East Millinocket have rejected the park proposal in recent advisory referendums.

No Park Logo webThe town of Medway voted against the park by a margin of 252 – 102 on June 23. East Millinocket voters said no to the park plan, 320 – 191, in a similar vote on June 29.

“We respectfully ask you to abandon your plans and apply your substantial land holdings and financial resources to more realistic and meaningful economic development in the region,” says the letter signed by Anne Mitchell of the Maine Woods Coalition, Patrick Strauch of the Maine Forest Products Council, Bob Meyers of the Maine Snowmobile Association, and David Trahan of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. (Read Bangor Daily News story)

The letter noted that Quimby and St. Clair have spent several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to build support for a national park among people in the Millinocket area, and “hired public relations consultants and outreach coordinators; held public forums; paid for numerous ads, mailings and robo-calls; commissioned polls, and made large donations to environmental and community groups” in an effort to influence the votes in Medway and East Millinocket, two of the towns that would be most impacted by the proposed national park and national recreation area.

“Despite all your efforts and expenditures, the people of Medway and East Millinocket have now joined the Millinocket Town Council in resoundingly rejecting your plan for a national park. The opposition in these towns is even more striking given the economic devastation the region has experienced with demise of Great Northern Paper,” the letter reads.

The letter also chastises Quimby and St. Clair’s paid spokesperson for dismissing the significance of the votes by telling the Portland Press Herald, “’Big ideas take time, and despite the votes, we see progress in the region,’ as if the people in these towns simply weren’t smart enough to understand your plan for their future. “

“Well, sometimes big ideas are just plain bad ideas, and voters in Medway and E. Millinocket clearly understand that,” the letter says in response.

Instead of promoting a national park and turning over thousands of acres of forestland to the federal government, the letter asks Quimby and St. Clair to use their land to become part of a “proud and longstanding tradition of working forests that support many of the best paying jobs in the state and also are made available for abundant recreational opportunities for Maine people and visitors from around the world.”

The letter, which is being shared with members of Maine’s congressional delegation and Governor LePage, closes by telling Quimby and St. Clair that “We stand ready to work with you to bring investment and opportunity to the Katahdin Region, as long as the prospect of federal ownership and control of your land holdings is taken off the table.”

A list of the 229 businesses that oppose the proposed national park in the Katahdin Region.

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