September 19, 2019

Will Quimby’s New Obama Playground Destroy Baxter State Park?

Oh, the cries to protect wilderness! Many cried to protect the beauty and the “wilderness” of the Yellowstone National Park. And did they? I suppose it depends on your political perspective definition of what “wilderness” is…right Slick Willie?

Yellowstone, often described as the model of how all lands should be “protected” has limited access but fits boldly into the model of an urban, sterile society, too damned lazy to get out of their plush, climate controlled automobiles to enjoy the actual wilderness. Wilderness seems to have morphed into a drive through municipal zoo. But don’t tell anyone.

So Roxanne Quimby, insisting on protecting Maine’s forests and wilderness, cried in the urban jungle to the corrupt politicians for a national park on her land. Not getting her way, yet, she had to settle for the work of cronyism from President Obama – some sort of reciprocating nonsense due to him appointing her to the board of the National Parks – and a national monument designation.

The question I have always had, and one that I read just this morning that someone else had expressed, is how do you protect “wilderness” by building and paving roads, erecting buildings, running infrastructure, such as water, sewer and electricity. Makes little sense.

Baxter State Park has a long common boundary with the new ObamaQuimby playground. The parks director is legitimately concerned about what effect visitors to the Katahdin Woods and Waters (KW&W) will have on Baxter. The director says that, “In order to preserve its wilderness as much as possible, Baxter strives to limit access to about 75,000 visitors annually.”

The director also shares the existing troubles of managing the park because Mt. Katahdin in the terminus of the Appalachian Trail. “Trail officials have been working with Baxter leaders for more than two years to alleviate chronic friction points, such as litter, alcohol and drug use on the trail, as well as large groups ascending Baxter Peak to party in celebration of a hiker’s completion of the mammoth journey. Too many thru-hikers were inviting large parties into campgrounds set aside for trail hikers, and bringing dogs falsely marked as service animals, Bissell has said.” Yes, Americans are so conscientious about protecting “wilderness.”

It’s difficult to get any sense of how concerned the Baxter director should be. While the same Bangor Daily News article states that there has already been some visitors to the Katahdin Woods and Waters, it would be my guess that curiosity is the motivating factor. Once they see that there is nothing to see, word will spread and visitors will be limited…that is until such time as they pave roads, build lodging, put in restaurants, snack bars and souvenir stands. Don’t forget the street lights and lighted parking lots. Remember, all in the name of protecting the wilderness, Mainers were sold the story that a national monument/park would boost the local economy. That’s what protecting wilderness is about. Doublespeak is what all that was and is.

Are there restrictions on what can and can’t be built on National Monument land? Yes, but that is left up to political perspective. Roads and buildings can be erected so long as they fulfill the directives and the purposes of the national monument. But isn’t the ultimate goal here a national park, where they can do anything they want, including the banning of hunting, trapping, fishing, use of ATVs and snowmobiles, etc.? It’s easy to lie and tell the people they will be able to carry on with some of the usual recreation activities on restricted portions of the land, while it’s a national monument. What about after it becomes a park?

The concern by the director of Baxter State Park, is that visitors to the KW&W will cross over the boundary on Baxter’s eastern boundary, which is managed as pretty much actual wilderness, and destroy it with their filth and decadence. It will happen, sooner or later.

Will the “wilderness” of KW&W end up like all the others – paved roads, buildings and retail shops – where lazy visitors can cruise around the paved roads, smogging up the landscape, discarding their trash, defecating beside the road and at pullout sites? Will it expand and destroy Baxter State Park? Will Baxter Park get swallowed up by KW&W like Roxanne Quimby first envisioned?

Time will tell.

And just as a reminder,

DON’T GO LOOK!

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Pardon my French on Katahdin Woods and Waters Monument

Alternatives like donating the land to Baxter — a jewel that sets the standard for state parks nationwide — were never seriously explored. Instead, D.C.-based lobbyists were hired and economic development reports — full of flaws — were commissioned. Many thought the fix was in; the canned federal website bolsters that theory. But at the end of the day, the voices of Maine’s Legislature and the local towns were drowned out. The men and women of Millinocket, Patten, Medway, and elsewhere deserved better.<<<Read More>>>

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North Woods national park debate centers on distrust of government, jobs

*Editor’s Note* – Those that are familiar with my writings know that I support private land ownership and promote that a landowner should be able to do what they wish with their land. I’ve also said that if Ms. Quimby believes a park, on her land in northern Maine, would be such a grand idea, perhaps she should employ some of her own capitalism genius and open her own private park on her own private land. But, because she proposes a national park, which would involve taxpayer money, along with more co-existence with a fascist government, she leaves her proposal open to public debate and scrutiny.

According to the 2013 Operating Report of Baxter State Park, 117,481 visitors came to the park that year – or about 322 people per day. The headline above, taken from the article linked to below, may be what some are focusing the debate about, but it may be just a distraction. The reality is the talk of jobs and a bolster to the region’s economy is a moot point if nobody is going to come.

According to the National Park Service, 2,563,129 people visited Acadia Park in 2014. Some seriously believe a National Park in the middle of nowhere, that doesn’t come close to comparing with Acardia, with nothing more to see and do than Baxter State Park, will at least share some of those visitors to Acadia, or even come close to the same number of visitors.

Unless Ms. Quimby intends on building a modern theme park, which is nothing the National Park Service has really ventured into, I fail to see why more people would be expected to visit a piece of land adjacent to Baxter State Park when there is Baxter State Park, which is not, by park attraction standards, overrun with visitors.

The article, linked to below, describes for readers what the author thinks the proposed park would look like: a rough road, a “stunning” view of Mt. Katahdin, hiking trails, nearby camping and boat launches. He just described Anywhere, Maine, except the “Anywhere” is in the middle of nowhere.

The author can do no better that to offer up a couple of pictures of the region – a picture of water flowing over rocks (found in a million places in Maine) and a second picture showing the destruction by beavers on the forest.

If you build it, they won’t come. They don’t come to Katahdin and I’ve seen no proposed plans that would make this new park anymore attractive than Baxter.

And there is another aspect few discuss. As was told to me by a friend, a guide he knows from Northern Maine reminded him that, once folks find out that we have black flies, mosquitoes and deer flies they find better uses for their time and money.

The National Park Service cannot properly take care of the nearly 400 parks included in the system. Of the 280,000,000 million visitors to national parks annually, the average becomes around 700,000 visitors per year. I have serious doubts that any new park proposal adjacent to Baxter State Park will come close to that number, thus rendering any national park just another burden on Park System and ultimately the taxpayer.

With all of this in mind, has anybody considered that with all the talk we hear from lawmakers in Washington each year about selling off federal lands, are there ever any guarantees that the Federal Government, i.e. the National Park Service, along with its active participation with the United Nations in finding land globally to lock up and keep people out of, won’t sell this land to the Chinese or do with it something worse, should they discover this park a huge liability?

The ten least visited national parks, ranging in visitors from under 12,000 annually to 175,000 annually, have far more to offer than a view of a mountain, water tumbling over some rocks and trees that beaver have destroyed.

The bottom line is there is NOTHING within this park proposal that even remotely rises to the level of national park consideration.

Let it go. One would think that with the persistence in the effort, there must be some politics behind it and not just some generosity of a philanthropist.

I don’t even think the area would make a good location to raise bees.

A rough loop road includes a stunning view of Mount Katahdin, the state’s highest peak, and hiking trails lead to several nearby summits. Existing camping areas were used this summer by artists, Boy Scouts, summer camps, educational programs and Colby College. Several boat launches provide access to the East Branch of the Penobscot River, which Thoreau rode on a flat-bottomed bateau on his final visit here in 1857.

Soaring eagles, lumbering moose and bounding snowshoe hares are common sights. Other wildlife includes bears, fisher cats and federally protected Canada lynx.

Source: North Woods national park debate centers on distrust of government, jobs | Sun Journal

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Maine Gov. Percival Baxter’s vision did not include national park — Opinion

It’s been nearly 46 years since Gov. Percival Baxter’s ashes were scattered through Baxter State Park, but he’s still protecting his life’s work. So it’s sad to see Buzz Caverly, who served the park faithfully for 45 years, support a national park right on Baxter’s border.   “There are […]
Source: Maine Gov. Percival Baxter’s vision did not include national park — Opinion — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

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