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.
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