September 10, 2013

Large tract near Baxter State Park opening to hunters

Groups praise the change but still have deep concerns over Roxanne Quimby's vision for a national park.

By Deirdre Fleming dfleming@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Today's poll: Hunting near Baxter

Do you agree with the decision by Elliotsville Plantation Inc. to open 40,000 acres of land near Baxter State Park for hunting?

Yes

No

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click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge

n this Jan 28, 2011 file photo, Wassataquoik Stream flows through Township 3, Range 8, Maine, on land owned by Roxanne Quimby and Elliotsville Plantation, Inc.

AP

"It is hard telling, if they do get the national park, what's going to happen," Christianson said. "Then everything is subject to change."

Bob Meyers, executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association, said a national park with a no-hunting and no-snowmobile policy would change the culture in northern Maine.

He said that remains a big concern for snowmobilers, who were written into the land's management plan last winter.

"Every time land that was previously closed is open to people of Maine, (the landowner) should be commended," Meyers said. "But I don't see it as a game-changer."

David Farmer, spokesman for Elliotsville Plantation, said the national park plan, as now envisioned, would turn about 70,000 to 75,000 acres into a traditional national park, where hunting, snowmobiling and ATVs would be prohibited. Another parcel roughly the same size would be a "national recreation area," where such recreation would be allowed.

St. Clair said the park would be created with federal legislation, and he would make sure that legislation maintains a level of access for all users for years to come.

He said the new access policy for Katahdin Woods and Waters is a real example of what's ahead.

"I realize the reservations around the federal government, but Maine has little experience with publicly owned land. Under 5 percent of the land in Maine is publicly owned. And we only have three National Park Service units, and they're unusual," St. Clair said.

Those National Park Service units -- Acadia National Park, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway and the Appalachian Trail -- offer limited insight into the variety of national parks that exist because of their unusual size or dimensions, he said.

The Allagash and the Appalachian Trail are narrow travel corridors, and Acadia is smaller than other national parks that draw as many as 2.5 million visitors a year.

St. Clair said hunting and snowmobiling are allowed in 70 national park units, out of a total of 401 across the country, and Maine could have one where such activities are allowed if the legislation specifies it.

For now, St. Clair said, he is focused on listening to more people and groups in northern Maine as Elliotsville Plantation's land is used by more people.

"I don't feel (right now) like having national support is as important as having vocal support in the Katahdin region," he said. "By opening up access, the plan is to make this as appealing to as many people there as possible."

Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

dfleming@pressherald.com

Twitter: @Flemingpph

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Today's poll: Hunting near Baxter

Do you agree with the decision by Elliotsville Plantation Inc. to open 40,000 acres of land near Baxter State Park for hunting?

Yes

No

View Results

 

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