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Two major land deals may affect public access


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The Founder
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Two major land deals may affect public access

Two major land deals may affect public access

State and local officials on Tuesday were digesting the implications of two major land deals that could affect access to thousands of acres in Maine’s North Woods.

Conservationist Roxanne Quimby reportedly has bought an additional 4,900-plus acres of forestland in two separate parcels in Township 3 Range 7 north of Millinocket and west of the town of Stacyville.

One parcel abuts more than 23,000 acres that Quimby — an avid advocate for limited-use "wilderness" — owns north of Millinocket Lake while the second property lies on the opposite side of the East Branch of the Penobscot River.

State officials also confirmed Tuesday that they have reached a tentative deal with a Lincoln company to acquire roughly 8,000 acres that was key to last year’s controversial deal adding Katahdin Lake to Baxter State Park.

But the so-called "Valley Lands" deal is contingent on a nonprofit being able to raise more than $6 million in roughly three months — a feat that one state official called a "considerable challenge."

"I’m not confident about raising that amount of money in such a short period of time," Patrick McGowan, commissioner of the Maine Department of Conservation, said Tuesday in an interview. "I’m not saying it’s not possible."

News of Quimby’s latest purchase emerged Tuesday when Millinocket Town Manager Eugene Conlogue announced the sale during the first meeting of the Katahdin Area Access Working Group. That group is charged with working with state conservation officials to help create a comprehensive approach to land-use management in the Katahdin region.

Representatives of Quimby’s nonprofit foundation, known as Elliotsville Plantation Inc., declined to comment Tuesday on any pending or recently completed land transactions. But in an e-mail sent Monday to various parties discussing access issues with Quimby, the co-founder of Burt’s Bees said her foundation had purchased the two parcels last week.

The e-mail was public record because it was sent to an employee of the Department of Conservation.

The larger of the two parcels, which Quimby called Mud Brook, encompasses more than 3,000 acres located west of Stacyville. The second, roughly 1,800-acre parcel surrounds Deasey Ponds.

Quimby said she purchased the Mud Brook property "as a potential swap for access/use as we continue to consider alternatives for the Valley." She wrote that she was sharing the map with the group so members could give it some thought before their next meeting.

Conlogue said he was not surprised by the purchase. Conlogue is among the group of local officials and representatives of sportsmen’s groups who have been meeting with Quimby behind closed doors in recent months to find common ground in land-use issues.

"The small piece of land she bought is not unexpected," Conlogue said Tuesday. "The large [Mud Brook] part, the 3,000 acres east of the East Branch of the Penobscot River, is the surprise."

The most critical issue of the latest purchase, Conlogue said, will be maintaining public access for traditional uses to the smaller of the two pieces, which has a major snowmobile trail running through it. Indications from Quimby are, however, that continued trail access should not be a problem, he said.

In the case of the Valley Lands deal, Lincoln-based Gardner Land Co. has agreed to sell the roughly 8,000-acre parcel to the Trust for Public Land for $6.1 million. But TPL, which has been negotiating with the Gardner family on behalf of the state, has only until Oct. 30 to raise the money.

The Gardners agreed to give the state an option to buy the Valley Lands as part of the hard-fought political negotiations over the addition of Katahdin Lake to Baxter State Park. The Valley Lands was key to gaining legislative support for the Katahdin Lake deal, which ran into trouble with sportsmen.

In April, the Gardners rejected an offer of $6 million to be raised within 18 months.

Maine's failure to close on the current deal would not affect the Katahdin Lake property which already has been deeded to the state, but it would allow other buyers to snatch up the Valley Lands, potentially leading to that land being developed or closed off.

McGowan, while skeptical of the time frame for raising the money, said he was pleased the deal was still on the table.

Sam Hodder, senior project manager for TPL, said he is pursuing every option to make the deal happen.

"I’m certainly hopeful and we’re going to do everything that we can," Hodder said.

A representative from the Gardner family could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Post Wed 15 Aug, 2007 6:49 am 
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Chub Fisherman
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Joined: 14 Mar 2006
Posts: 790
Location: Hancock County


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Ahhhh, I missed her. Thank you Massachusetts for giving us such a wonderful visionary.

Her vision, Her Vision, only!......not anyone group that was elected by the majority of the Mainers.

Limited access wilderness...all according to her highness, Ms. Quimby

Argument:"...well, it is her land...dude!"

Well, why can't Plum creek build house lots on "their" land?

She is single handedly chocking the life out of rural Maine in Millonockett,Sherman, and Patten areas by building her exclusive private park!
They depend on Hunters trappers, fisherman, and snowmobilers for their lively hood and she is wiping those off her land.
Good for you. Roxy. You're a peach

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Post Thu 16 Aug, 2007 5:51 am 
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Lobstah


Joined: 16 Sep 2004
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Does she have a goal for all this land? Is she going to make a park... why else would someone need this much land?

Post Wed 29 Aug, 2007 8:16 am 
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Chub Fisherman
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Location: Hancock County


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Her goal is to make The Great North Woods Park", a FEDERAL Park, not a state park. They have printed up maps and flyers to give out to tourist in Bar harbors, that shows what she want to build. It would pretty much encompass all the lands around Baxter, Moosehead Guilford.....its a huge chunk of land. Her goal is to buy it with her private funds, then turn it over to the federal Government in the form of a new park. So, now instead of the people of the state of Maine having control over this land, the Federal Government has control. As you have seen, they(the Feds) do such a super job at running things. She does not allow hunting snowmobiling or trapping on her lands( the backbone of a lot on small rural towns economies. She would ban fishing if she could. She has declared these area limited access meaning if you believe her way than you can use it. Yet its the people of the state of Maine that has given tax breaks to the logging companies for years in exchange to use there roads and woods, yet selling to her to make some quick money.... and a lot of it. So the two evils here...Roxanne for buying the land and kicking users off as well as camp owners, and the logging company for profiting from the sale, and not selling the land to the state so we the people can have control.
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Post Thu 30 Aug, 2007 5:48 am 
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