A national park is first proposed for Maine — June 8, 1994
A 3.2 million acre national park was proposed by RESTORE: The North Woods. The proposal was met with immediate opposition — and mockery — from the state’s forest products industry and landowners.
What kind of North Woods does Maine really want? — April 25, 1996
Jym St. Pierre, the Maine director of RESTORE: The North Woods, in an OpEd to the Bangor Daily News wrote that a “reasonable balance” of private and public land ownership needed to be struck in order to preserve the wildness of the Maine woods for future generations. He cast the movement to create a national park and preserve as following the legacy of Percival Proctor Baxter and as a legacy to passed on into the 21st century.
“With undying hope, fierce will and good luck, we can still protect and restore big wildness in Maine. The first step is respectful, open public discourse about the kind of north woods we want,” he wrote.
Private landownership is best — Sept. 26, 1998
“We do not need any more federal ownership or control in Maine. National parks and their likes are single-use areas with no timber harvesting and limited access. Maine hunting, fishing and snowmobiling as we know it would be history,” David Clement wrote in an OpEd to the Bangor Daily News.
“Let’s be happy we have private ownership in Maine and work to welcome and work with the new owners of the Sappi lands. We already have a bad rap for not being friendly to private business. Federal or large state ownership just enhances this perception.”
RESTORE touts business support for national park — Aug. 21, 1999
In a symbolic effort to showcase support for its national park effort to Maine’s congressional delegation, RESTORE touted that 75 area businesses had signed petitions supporting its work. There was one problem: Representatives from the environmental group did not bring the petitions to the unveiling in Bangor and only one of the four businesses from the Queen City that signed petitions were at the press conference.
Moosehead residents say no to park — Sept. 1, 2000
The 3.2 million acre proposed national park routinely has met opposition from residents in central and northern Maine. At a meeting in the Moosehead Lake region, many of the 200 residents who turned out voiced their opposition to the proposal.
Park idea called threat to unions — Sept. 5, 2000
A national park often has been cast a threat to the state’s forest products industry. With support for a park resurfacing in 2000, opponents sought to cast it as the latest threat to unionized workers.
New poll shows support for park — Sept. 14, 2000
A survey conducted by RKM Research and Communications Inc. for WCHS-TV in Portland and WLBZ-TV in Bangor found that 56 percent of respondents supported the creation of a North Woods park. Polls purporting to showcase widespread support for a national park in the state contrast heavily with the vocal opposition from residents in towns adjacent to the area under consideration.
North Woods park plan blasted in Millinocket — Oct. 4, 2000
Opponents of a RESTORE’s proposal for a 3.2 million acre national park in the North Woods turned out for a special town meeting in Millinocket to reject the plan from the out-of-state group.
“I am glad so many of you are letting it be known that people who live and work in Maine’s forests do not need any out-of-state group deciding how to be good stewards of the forest,” U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said in a statement read by a spokeswoman at the meeting.
Largest conservation easement in America signed — March 21, 2001
The RESTORE proposal lead to increased interest in land conservation in Maine. Over the course of a decade, several million acres of timberland were preserved through easements or purchases by land trusts and other conservation groups.
Report says park would aid region, restore opponents reject forecast — Sept. 10, 2001
With the timber industry in decline, an economist from the University of Montana said a national park in the region would bring much needed economic vitality to the state. In September 2001, Thomas Power, chair of the economics department at the University of Montana, unveiled a report showcasing the economic benefits of a park. That report was commissioned by RESTORE.
Study: North Woods a private affair — March 29, 2003
The odds of the public gaining control of a larger share of the North Woods was unlikely through at least 2020, throwing cold water on the hopes that a large national park would become a reality, according to a study conducted by William Beardsley, then president of Husson College. That study based its findings on the predictions of forest products industry officials and private landowners, most of whom remained anonymous.
Celebs join effort for North Woods park — May 5, 2003
In spring 2003, RESTORE touted a list of big-name celebrities who joined a committee to push for the creation of a 3.2-million acre national park.
Among the A-list celebrities were Jeff Bridges, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins, Holly Hunter, Laura Linney, Robert Redford, Ted Danson, Christopher Reeve, Meryl Streep and Sam Waterston.
Opponents of a national park gathered in Millinocket to sing the protest songs of Matthew Heintz, “the North Woods Balladeer,” drink a little Moxie and rally against federal land ownership.
Quimby buys land for a national park — Nov. 25, 2003
Roxanne Quimby, the founder of Burt’s Bees and a former RESTORE board member, began buying land she hoped to donate for the creation of a national park more than a decade ago.
Quimby continued to buy land that she hoped to turn over to the park service for a national park, which would be much smaller than the RESTORE proposal.
Roxanne Quimby sees mood changing on North Woods park — June 5, 2011
Roxanne Quimby had been a supporter of the creation of a national park in the Maine woods since RESTORE: North Woods first proposed one in the 1990s. In 2011, Quimby unveiled a smaller 70,000-acre version of a national park proposal in 2011.
“I still love the vision of a 3.2 million-acre national park in Maine,” Roxanne Quimby said during an extensive interview back in 2011, “but I know it’s not going to happen in my lifetime. This is what I can do now.”
Quimby says national park would create tourism jobs — July 18, 2011
Opponents to a national park going back to the 1990s have long argued that it would threaten the forest products industry and the jobs it supports. Quimby sought to change the debate by touting the ability of a national park to create jobs and bring diversity to the region’s economy.
Quimby irks Mainers with derogatory comments about state — Oct. 7, 2011
Quimby’s name became a dirty word in rural northern Maine — many trucks sported “Ban Roxanne” stickers. She further irked Mainers with a 2011 interview with Forbes magazine, in which she called Maine “a welfare state” full of obese and elderly people.
Penobscot County commissioners oppose Quimby park plan — Aug. 21, 2012
Not seeing persuasive evidence that towns adjacent to national parks enjoyed prosperity, the Penobscot County commissioners voted 2-1 to oppose to creation of a national park in the North Woods.
Quimby takes park plan off the table, son says — Dec. 11, 2012
The family said at the time it would still like to see a national park in northern Maine, but it withdrew its proposal submitted to the National Park Service and began pursuing other options.
A new spokesman and a new plan — Dec. 12, 2012
The park plan was briefly dropped in 2012, after Lucas St. Clair took over the family’s private land conservation foundation, Elliotsville Plantation, Inc. He said the family needed time to craft a proposal that would be acceptable to more people.
Park would be economic boost — Feb. 14, 2013
St. Clair was soon back to touting the park plan, with an emphasis on economic development.
The national park made an appearance into the 2014 gubernatorial race, with independent Eliot Cutler pledging to lead an effort to revitalize the park plan if elected.
National park concept wins Bangor council endorsement — March 23, 2015
After much discussion, the Bangor City Council came out 7-2 in support of the concept of a national park and national recreation area in the Katahdin region.
200 Maine businesses endorse proposed Katahdin area national park — March 26, 2015
More than 200 businesses from around the state endorsed a proposed 150,000-acre national park and recreation area in the Katahdin region, saying it would provide a needed boost to the state’s economy.
New poll shows strong support for national park — June 2, 2015
Park supporters unveiled a poll touting wide support for a national park, including among 67 percent of respondents who lived in the 2nd Congressional District, the location of a proposed park. Since the poll was released, it has become widely cited by supporters of both a park and a monument.
National park debate turns focus on land ownership questions — June 17, 2015
A proposal for 150,000 national park and national recreation area east of Baxter sparked some controversy when it came to light not all the acreage in its boundaries was owned by Elliotsville Plantation Inc. Park supporters said this figure was only meant to describe the upper limit of its size, not an actual measurement of the land included in the proposal. Opponents seized on this, saying advocates for a park were misleading the public.
224 businesses come out against Katahdin region national park — June 18, 2015
In one of the largest displays of opposition to a proposal floated by St. Clair for a national park in the North Woods, 224 businesses signed onto a list, saying they didn’t want to see a park come to fruition.
Bangor Daily News endorses national park — Nov. 6, 2015
“The proposed national park and recreation area will not cure the Katahdin region’s economic woes, but it can be a focal point of its remaking with benefits spreading to Bangor and beyond,” the editorial board wrote.
“Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. This would be an ideal time to add a small part of Maine’s famed North Woods to a system with a globally unprecedented legacy of preservation,” it concluded.
St. Clair: National monument could be step toward park — Nov. 16, 2015
“A national monument instead of a national park is not our goal,” Lucas St. Clair said during a phone interview Nov. 11. “Our goal remains the same. However, a national monument is an interim step to get us to our goal. It’s a very common way [for national parks to develop], specifically as an interim step, but our goal remains the same.”
Collins, King, Poliquin express serious reservations about North Woods national monument — Nov. 23, 2015
U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin wrote a four-page letter to Obama last November, urging him to refrain from signing an executive order placing the monument designation on about 87,500 acres east of Baxter State Park and use federal authority to aid the region’s economy.
“A national monument carries the same protections as a national park,” Jim Frick of Bangor, a Sierra Club Maine executive committee member who works on Maine Woods issues, said. “And it could be an interim step toward the eventual creation of a park.”
New logo shows organizers focused on North Woods national monument — March 21, 2016
In March, Lucas St. Clair showcased a logo for a North Woods national monument as his focus shifted toward attaining a monument designation for land owned by Elliotsville Plantation Inc.
Proposed national park is unnecessary, the land is undeserving — March 28, 2016
With the proposal for park shifting into a monument, the debate shifted to raise the question about whether the land in question actually deserved the designation. Land under consideration for a park or monument ought to be of high value or uniqueness to be included within the National Park System. Barry Burgason, a wildlife biologist for Huber Corp., argued in an OpEd to the Bangor Daily News that the land owned by Elliotsville Plantation Inc. was undeserving of the status of a park.
LePage’s national monument ban passes House, Senate — April 7, 2016
A bid to block the creation of a national monument in Maine passed by a narrow margin in the Maine House and Senate. The bill, LD 1600, proposed by Gov. Paul LePage and sponsored by Rep. Stanley Stephen, D-Medway, requires that the Legislature give consent to the federal government to name a national monument in the state. LePage signed it into law on April 12.
Greater Portland may have the population and economic base to tip the scales in the controversial national monument debate — even though the region is hours away from the land in question and many people neighboring the property have said they don’t want it to fall into federal hands.
Patten residents reject national park and monument in vote — April 19, 2016
Residents voted 121-53, with three abstentions, against supporting a proposed national park in a nonbinding referendum.
Maine people weigh in on proposed national monument at packed forums in Orono, East Millinocket — May 16, 2016
After a tense forum involving Katahdin region leaders in East Millinocket, where speakers were almost universally opposed to the proposal, the audience at a public meeting at UMaine’s Collins Center for the Arts showed overwhelming support for the proposal, revealing the stark differences of opinion on the subject held by people around the state.
Back in June, Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, visited Maine at the request of U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin. Bishop is an opponent of national monuments, and he hoped the testimony gathered would dissuade the president from naming a national monument via executive order.
How will visitors get to a North Woods national monument — June 10, 2016
Skeptics of the national monument often turned their attention to the practical details about the proposal. For instance, how will visitors get there? Can the roads to the national monument handle traffic from the forest products industry and visitors to the region?
A century ago, President Woodrow Wilson established a national monument on Mount Desert Island that became the Acadia National Park we all know today. Here are five things Mainers should know as Obama weighs whether to name a national monument in Maine.
Maine is far from the first state to face the creation of a national monument. President Barack Obama has designated 22 monuments since he took office. With a proposed monument in the North Woods, Maine can learn several lessons from other states’ experiences.