September 27, 2020

Not Everyone Happy About Baxter Land Swap

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Gardiner Land Co. is proposing selling roughly 6,000 arcres of land adjacent to Baxter State Park. This land parcel includes Katahdin Lake. Gardiner has agreed to a land swap with the state and the entire process to make this endeavor come about is complicated and potentially disastrous, in my opinion.

When the 6,000 acres is acquired, it will be given as a gift to the Baxter Park Authority and herein lies one of the problems. The 6,000 acres will be treated like the rest of Baxter State Park – closed to hunting, trapping, timber harvesting, snowmobiling, ATV use, etc.

This is a large chunk of real estate to be taken away from neighboring towns and businesses that rely upon the woods for their livelyhood. Part of the deal would transfer lands back to Gardiner Land Co. but some of that land transfer is public lands. This would now take a large peace of land, open to the public, and put it in the hands of private business. There would be no guarantees that this land would remain open to public access or that Gardiner would even continue to own it. Essentially, the possibility is quite realistic that Maine would stand to lose 6,000 acres of public lands also losing access to hunting, fishing, hiking, snowmobiling, etc.

The land adjacent to the Park that encompasses Katahdin Lake is a parcel that many fear would be prime land for development. This may be so and I would not like to see condominiums being built next to Baxter State Park but I feel that the risk to that happening as compared to the impact to local towns and the loss of land to recreation, does not justify the need for this land swap/purchase.

Unless someone can show me something that I am missing in this deal, which seems to me to smell and awful lot like land grabbing for the purpose of closing the land to the public, my stand is in opposition to this deal.

This link will take you to the blog I did at Blogging the Outdoors, announcing the proposal. From there you will find a link that fully explains how the exchange will take place.

Tom Remington

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