Tag Archives: Maine Audubon

A vision for the Maine’s North Woods

In delicate talks, the many factions

of landowners are forging a plan

that tries to satisfy all of their interests

The long-simmering debate over the future of Maine’s northern woodlands is about to move back to the front burner.

A group called the Keeping Maine’s Forests steering committee is working on a proposal to protect millions of acres of the working forest from further development. The committee is close to having a final plan and will deliver it to federal officials as early as this month.

People already are lining up to oppose it with competing plans for the more than 10 million acres known as Maine’s North Woods. It’s the largest unfragmented forest east of the Mississippi River, with most of it in private hands.

The steering committee grew out of an effort, organized by state officials, to get the traditionally warring factions of landowners such as Katahdin Timberlands, environmental groups such as Maine Audubon, outdoor recreational organizations such as the Appalachian Mountain Club, and members of the forest products sector such as the Forest Products Council, to forge a plan that would satisfy all of their interests.

“The fact that we got them sitting down at one table is unprecedented,” said Alec Giffen, director of the Maine Forest Service.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Beth Quimby in the Portland Press Herald.

Here’s more:

The Maine Woods

• Maine is the most heavily forested state in the nation, with trees growing on 90 percent of its land base, or 17.8 million acres.

• The Maine woods are home to more than 20,000 species of wildlife.

•  As an economic resource, Maine’s forests directly employ nearly 23,000 people.

•  About 95 percent of Maine timberland is privately owned, with small, non-industrial landowners holding more than 6.2 million acres.

•  The Maine woods generate $1.15 billion in revenues from forest-related recreation and tourism activities.

•  Maine’s forest industry harvests 6 million to 7 million cords of wood each year to build homes and make furniture, paper and other products.

Source: Maine Forest Service

 

Steering committee members

• Eliza Townsend, Maine Department of Conservation

• Wolfe Tone, The Trust for Public Land

• Rosaire Pelletier, adviser to Gov. John Baldacci

• Sherry Huber, Maine Tree Foundation

• Karin Tilberg, Office of the Governor

• Mike Tetreault, The Nature Conservancy

• Alec Giffen, Maine Forest Service

• Patrick Strauch, Forest Products Council

• Ted Koffman, Maine Audubon

• Roger Milliken, Baskahegan Co.

• Marcia McKeague, Acadian Timberlands

• John Williams, Maine Pulp and Paper Association

• Eleanor Kinney, Environmental Funders Network Council

• Karen Woodsum, Sierra Club

• Brownie Carson, Natural Resources Council

• Alan Hutchinson, Forest Society of Maine

• Peter Triandafillou, Huber Resources

• Walter Graff, Appalachian Mountain Club

• Don White, Prentiss and Carlisle

• Mathew Dunlap, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine

• Rich Merk, Small Woodlot Owners of Maine

• Ken Elowe, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

 

 

Amend constitution to fund Maine’s DIF&W?

Below I’ve linked to an interesting DownEast.com blog by George Smith of Mount Vernon on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and its funding.

Currently, fees from fishermen and hunters alone fund the department that takes on a very broad set of responsibilities. The agency also provides services to Mainers who do not fish or hunt.

A coalition including the Nature Conservancy, Maine Audubon, and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine is suggesting that the Maine Constitution be amended “by dedicating 1/8th percent of the sales tax receipts to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.”

Frankly, I’m unclear if that means an increase in the sales tax or merely a realignment of how the sales tax revenue is spent. I’m guessing it probably means an increase. But it might be worth it given the broad responsibilities the agency takes on and the fact that some Mainers receiving a benefit are not paying for DIF&W services.

By the way, according to DownEast.com, Smith is “a columnist, TV show host, executive director of the state’s largest sportsmen’s organization, political and public policy consultant, hunter, angler, and avid birder and most proud of his three children and grandson.” He also works for one of the three groups offering the idea to change the constitution, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.

Here’s a link to George’s Outdoor News blog.