Is “Katahdin Forest” a Pre-Park Deal? Purchase and Conservation easement to TNC noted as 'most beautiful and ecologically important' 

August 27, 2002

By Mary Adams, Editor
The Adams Report

Garland, Maine

Today began with an unprecedented lock-down of personnel at the Great
Northern mill in Millinocket before a 10 a.m. press conference announcing
that more than a quarter of a million acres of privately owned land around
the Baxter State Park area has fallen into the hands of, and under the
influence of, the Virginia-based land acquisition giant, The Nature

Yesterday the local police department got a call from the mill that they
should be on hand for today's announcement. But no one showed up to protest
the surprise Katahdin Forest deal. No one knew about it because it has been a
closely guarded secret in the works since March. Rumors of a land agreement
only began to circulate within the last couple of weeks, sources say.

Among the first to react was the Millinocket Town Manager, whose complete
statement is here:

Gene Conlogue writes: ”Because the company made no attempt to restrict future
sales from unwise uses, there is no guarantee that prevents The Nature
Conservancy from selling their purchased land and easements to others such as
RESTORE: the North Woods, the Wilderness Society, etc. The very purpose of a
conservation easement is to prevent future development and such easements may
negatively affect the value of the properties and create a limited buyer's
market for radical enviro groups. Such future sales would result in efforts
to create a Maine Woods National Park and effectively shut down the wood
products industry in northern Maine. While this deal is between private
parties, any attempt to pick the pockets of taxpayers to support this unwise
purchase will be met with my strongest possible opposition.”

Conlogue is a savvy observer of the effects that conservation easements
(aborting many of the natural rights which accompany land) may have on the
future of Maine's forest economy.

He also serves on the board of the Maine Woods Coalition, a group which was
set up to respond to the threat of a federal park.

The Town of Millinocket was the first to officially vote on a declaration
opposing a federal park two years ago.

TNC itself substantiates the green collusion taking place. Today's new online
press release is on the TNC web site with a map of the Katahdin Forest

Note especially:

Preservation Impact: The agreement protects some 400 square miles and links a
nearly equal amount of existing conservation land, creating nearly 500,000
acres of contiguous conservation land in State and private ownership.

The connected lands include Baxter State Park, the Allagash Wilderness
Waterway, the State's Nahmakanta reserve, and the Conservancy's Trout
Mountain preserve.

The easement is contiguous with portions of the 750,000-acre Pingree Working
Forest Easement project and some 300,000 acres proposed for a no-development
conservation easement under the West Branch Project. (Emphasis added.)

In the name of “protection” they are sewing up too much of the Maine woods
by permanently crippling its future!

And they are using YOUR state and federal tax dollars, along with the Maine
Congressional Delegation, to do it.

This is why Conlogue cautions in his statement “any attempt to pick the
pockets of taxpayers to support this unwise purchase will be met with my
strongest possible opposition.”

According to TNC: ”Great Northern Paper will transfer 41,000 acres in the
fabled Debsconeag Lakes wilderness area to The Nature Conservancy.

The company will also place a conservation easement on 200,000 acres of
forestland around Mount Katahdin, which will guarantee public access,
traditional recreational uses, sustainable forestry, and no future

The Conservancy will purchase an existing $50 million loan to Great Northern
Paper, retiring $14 million of it and refinancing the balance at less than
half of the note's current rate, which will provide low-cost, long-term
financing to Great Northern Paper and help maintain the regional economy.”

A source close to the situation says the cash infusion will simply finance
the severance packages of the recently announced layoffs of 200 GNP workers
and that by next week, they'll be hurting again.

The story gets bigger, and we realize that this is only the beginning of a
much larger story. Investment giant John Hancock's Paper and Forest Products
division is involved:

hand in glove with accomplice TNC, and we begin to see a picture of national
and global invisible hands at work on small, essential, Maine communities and
on the people who live in them.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]


Back to Current Edition Citizen Review Archive LINKS Search This Site