Talk of the Towns 2/12/16

Host: Ron Beard, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Studio Engineer: Amy Browne

Issue: Community concerns and opportunities

Program Topic: The future of the Millinocket Baxter region, including a possible National Park

Key Discussion Points:

What changes have you seen in the Millinocket-Baxter region in your lifetime… are there trends in the economy and in forest practices, land ownership of the Millinocket-Baxter Region?

Given the trends, what role could recreation and tourism play in the near and longer term future economy (leaving aside, for now who owns and manages the land). What private resources are currently contributing to the recreation/tourism economy?

What gave rise to groups like Friends of Acadia and other “friends groups” of national and state parks? Your career has been in conservation—what trends do you see in what land is conserved, how it is conserved? What is the interplay between conserved land and land that is managed for forestry, agriculture or other specific economic ends?

What are the main arguments for (Olson and Johnson) and against (Pray and Robbins) a national park in the region?

Quoting from an article in Portland Press Herald– In response to interest in having President Obama initiate National Monument designation for land donated by Elliotsville Plantation

“…three members of Maine’s congressional delegation outlined nine “conditions” that the Obama administration should consider if it went forward with a designation. Those conditions include ensuring that traditional recreational activities – including hunting, fishing, camping and use of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles – as well as forest management continue on the land. They also stated that any monument designation “must respect private property rights and ensure the federal government will never take any private land in the area by eminent domain.”
Are these conditions at the core of continued discussion?

Charles Pray, former state Senator, Millinocket, 1974-1992
Jim Robbins, former President, Robbins Lumber, Searsmont
Ken Olson, conservation consultant, former President, Friends of Acadia
Cathy Johnson, North Woods Project Director, Natural Resources Council of Maine