How can Roxanne Quimby give away thousands of acres she doesn’t even own?
Plantation, LLC, owns less than 60% of the land it is proposing to give away.
GREENVILLE, Maine — The Maine Woods Coalition today released a map showing that Roxanne Quimby’s Elliotsville Plantation, LLC, owns less than 60% of the 150,000 acres she is planning to donate to the federal government for a national park and a national recreation area. (Map of proposed national park)
“How can you give away land you don’t even own?” said Anne Mitchell, chair of the coalition, which, along with groups such as the Maine Snowmobile Association, Maine Forest Products Council and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, opposes the creation of a national park in the Katahdin Region.
“For months, Ms. Quimby’s son, Lucas St. Clair, has been all over Maine promoting his mother’s plan to give 75,000 acres of forestland to the federal government for a national park and an adjoining 75,000 acres for a national recreation area,” Mitchell said. “Yet, we now know that she doesn’t own or control much of the land in question. What kind of deal is that?”
Mitchell said that Maine Revenue Service records show that Quimby and Elliotsville Plantation own about 66,000 acres of the 75,000 acres they say will comprise the national park, and only about 21,400 acres – or about 28% — of the 75,000 acres that will make up the recreation area.
The two 75,000 tracts have been repeatedly touted as a package deal to try to make the park concept more palatable to those who oppose a larger 3.2 million-acre national park that has been proposed for years by the group RESTORE.
The land not owned by Elliotsville Plantation within the proposed park and recreation area boundaries is owned by the State of Maine and other large and small landowners, including several from the forest products industry. In addition, Patrick Strauch, executive director of the Maine Forest Products Council, noted that there are only three access roads to the proposed federal land and and it’s not clear if Elliotsville Plantation has control over any of them.
“I don’t think the federal government is interested in having fully loaded logging trucks and RVs sharing roads in a national park,” Strauch said.
Noting that Quimby and Elliotsville Plantation own so little of the land in question, Bob Meyers, executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association, said the real question is that if she succeeds in giving away the land that she does own, will the federal government come for the rest?
“History shows that once the National Park Service takes control of land, the boundaries continue to grow, as do restrictions on commercial development and recreational activities,” Meyers said. “For generations, Maine’s large landowners have managed their lands for sustainable wood harvesting, while also allowing public access for an endless variety of recreational activities. It’s a tradition that is unique in the U.S. and has served Maine well. We don’t need the federal government taking control of our lands and our future.”
The Maine Woods Coalition is made up of individuals, businesses and organizations having a significant personal interest in issues affecting the recreational, commercial or industrial use of forestlands in northern Maine. These members must own property, reside in, or have a significant presence in one of the four northern counties: Somerset, Piscataquis, Aroostook or Penobscot.
The Maine Forest Products Council (MFPC) has been the voice of Maine’s forest economy since 1961. The MFPC represents the diverse needs of the state’s forest products community, speaking for logging contractors, sawmills, paper mills, biomass energy, facilities, pellet manufacturers, furniture manufacturers, and on behalf of more than nine million acres of commercial forestland in Maine.
The Maine Snowmobile Association (MSA) represents 28,000 snowmobilers and 2,000 businesses that belong to 289 snowmobile clubs statewide. Those clubs obtain landowner permission for, maintain and groom 14,000 miles of trails statewide. It is estimated that the economic value of snowmobiling is in excess of $300 million per year and it accounts for the full-time equivalent of 2,300 jobs.