October 1998: Plum Creek Timber Co. announces it will pay $180 million to South African Pulp and Paper Industries Ltd. (SAPPI) for 905,000 acres, or about 5 percent of the state’s forest land. Local leaders express relief that Plum Creek has no plans for a national park.
October 1999: Plum Creek and state officials complete a $5.26 million land swap and purchase deal that puts about 65 miles of Moosehead and Flagstaff lakes shoreline in state hands. Plum Creek acquires 15,000 acres in Bowtown Township to complete the deal.
January 2002: LURC approves Plum Creek’s plan to build as many as 89 house lots on First Roach Pond. Environmentalists say the plan has no public benefit.
July 2002: Police investigate vandalism at Plum Creek logging operations in Shawtown Township. The words “get out” are spray painted on a wood harvester in one location. This is the first in a series of vandalism incidents and protests to plague Plum Creek.
April 2003: Plum Creek pays a $9,000 penalty for clear-cutting violations that created a 157-acre clear-cut on the east side of Public Lot Brook.
April 2005: Plum Creek formally proposes its signature plan of nearly 1,000 camp lots and two resorts over 30 years. The plan includes three recreational vehicle parks, a golf course and a marina that are dropped later. Residents respond with caution.
June 2005: The state’s largest environmental advocacy organization, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, says Plum Creek’s plan is out of character for the region made famous by Henry David Thoreau.
January 2006: Plum Creek named Associated Press’ third-best Maine news story in 2005. Decisions keeping Portsmouth Naval Shipyard open but closing Brunswick Naval Air Station, and a statewide referendum in November reaffirming Maine’s gay rights law, finish ahead of Plum Creek.
April 2006: Plum Creek proposes a scaled-down but still massive development that includes 480 shorefront lots on Moosehead and nearby lakes plus 495 “backwoods” lots. The original proposal had 575 shorefront lots. The Lily Bay peninsula resort is reduced, and conservation easements on more than 400,000 acres guaranteeing public access for recreation are added. Plum Creek leaders declare themselves satisfied with the proposal.
April 2007: A year of contention ends with Plum Creek revising its plan by relocating 180 of the 975 houses away from Moosehead Lake, conserving more land but increasing its Big Moose Mountain resort from 500 to 800 accommodations.
September 2007: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department say Plum Creek’s plan will destroy habitats for loons, bald eagles and Canada lynx; reduce fishing quality and recreational access to the woods.
October 2007: In response to state and federal concerns, LURC postpones Plum Creek hearings for the company’s third plan revision. The revisions include permanent development caps within the proposed subdivisions and state-held road easements for public access to 57 miles of roads within the 356,000 acres that Plum Creek seeks to protect.
December 2007: Plum Creek announces plans to donate 100 acres for affordable housing in and near Greenville.
September 2009: LURC formally approves Plum Creek plan. Opponents predict the project would harm wildlife and spoil the beauty of the largest undeveloped area east of the Mississippi.
March 2012: The state supreme court approves LURC’s rezoning. Plum Creek must get permits to build, all but guaranteeing that regulatory skirmishes will continue.
May 2012: Plum Creek, The Nature Conservancy and the Forest Society of Maine complete a 363,000-acre conservation deal that allows public access to that land.