Roxanne Quimby’s son cannot speak of his family’s specific plans for her land because, he says, there aren’t any.
Speaking late Tuesday night, Lucas St. Clair said that there’s one point he is sure of: Quimby’s proposal to help create a 70,000-acre national park by 2016, with another 30,000-acre multiuse recreational area, “will never be resubmitted.”
“The main piece that we want to make clear is that there is no specific proposal that we feel is the right one,” St. Clair said. “We are engaging in this collaborative effort to come up with one.”
“There are no details to flesh out at this point because we don’t have any,” he added. “We are going to work with people to find a more collaborative proposal [than the 70,000-acre national park plan], one that makes sense for more people. And what that is, is anybody’s guess at this point.”
St. Clair said he wanted to craft a plan that carried wider appeal.
He offered a telephone number, 370-5813, and invited stakeholders to call in with their ideas. It’s a number for Elliotsville Plantation, Inc., the private foundation Quimby launched in 2002 “for the acquisition and conservation of land and the preservation of open space for the benefit of the public,” according to the organization’s website, keepMEbeautiful.org.
St. Clair made news Tuesday when he announced that Quimby had withdrawn in September the proposal to the National Park Service, which is under the U.S. Department of the Interior.
A noted entrepreneur and environmentalist, Quimby in March 2009 proposed building a 70,000-acre national park on her land adjoining Baxter State Park as a gift to the nation in 2016, but the proposal ran into almost total opposition politically. Most recreation and forest products industry groups opposed it.
Support came from environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, Katahdin region businesses and the town of Medway, though a 2011 survey commissioned by a park support group found 60 percent of Mainers favored a national park.
The chief spokesman for the National Park Service, David Barna, said Wednesday that the service does not formally consider a park plan submitted until a federal delegate submits a bill seeking the creation of a park. However, the service gets informal submissions such as Quimby’s “all the time,” Barna said.
“I had one yesterday from people interested in people making [North Carolina’s] Cape Fear River a national seashore,” Barna said. “Some come in writing, some in discussions, but until there is a specific proposal before Congress,” the agency doesn’t begin its park review processes, he said.
U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both R-Maine, and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-East Millinocket, opposed Quimby’s park proposal. So did Gov. Paul LePage, the state Legislature and leaders from several towns around Quimby’s lands in northern Penobscot County.
Barna said he could not immediately find Quimby’s proposal.
St. Clair relocated to Cumberland County last month from Seattle, where he, his wife and their child had lived for seven years, to be closer to family and to help lead the effort to determine what usage of Quimby’s lands best meets public needs and her goals, he said.
He said he expects to do several months of outreach — meeting with potential stakeholders and leaders in the recreation, tourism and business communities — to reformulate a plan. He cautioned against setting deadlines to the process.
“We don’t really have a timeline. We are just continuing our outreach day by day,” St. Clair said.