Category Archives: Baxter State Park Information

Information about Baxter State Park vacations.

There are non-national park options that make everybody a winner

Maine Forestry Products.
The are other options than a National Park in our area. Read the opinion of James L. Robbins. Former president and owner of Robbins Lumber in Searsmont. photo: Tim Pasanen

By Jim Robbins, Special to the BDN

In 2000, Robbins Lumber put a conservation easement on the 20,767 acres surrounding Nicatous and West Lakes to protect the land forever. In addition, the state acquired 76 islands and 243 acres connecting to the Duck Lake Public Reserve Unit.

I told Roxanne Quimby about this project in 2011 at a meeting of the Maine Forest Products Council because I wanted her to know she had other options — options that would unite Mainers, not divide them. Her answer was, “There is no plan B. It is a national park or nothing. There are no other options.”

I oppose her park and national recreation area because she only owns 87,500 acres of the 150,000 acres she promises to donate. The other 63,500 acres are owned by many individual landowners — many of the parcels have been in these landowners’ families for generations. How would you like it if someone promised to give your land away? Threatened? You bet.

Maine's working forests around Mt Katahdin are still working for the economy.
Maine’s working forests around Mt Katahdin are still working for the economy.

She has tried to win over the people of the Katahdin region with the prospect of jobs based on the theory that her park would attract 15 percent, or 375,000, of Acadia’s visitors each year, leading to the creation of 450 jobs. But her park would never attract six times as many visitors as Baxter State Park. Baxter has 200,000 acres, including Mt. Katahdin, compared to the proposed 150,000 acres of the national park. Baxter employs only 21 full-time and 40 part-time workers.

National parks and monuments are built in areas of spectacular beauty or historical significance. The proposed park is mostly cut-over timberland and has very little to attract tourists. The only exceptional beauty in the area already is included and protected in Baxter State Park. The park proponents always show pictures of Katahdin, which won’t be in the proposed park, in their videos and advertisements, which is very misleading to the public.

National parks don’t allow timber harvesting, so they soon become full of over-mature, insect-infested and diseased trees. A National Park Service publication on forest management in Yellowstone National Park states that large fires are mandatory in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in order to maintain it in a natural manner. Since the 1970s, park officials have allowed some 300 natural fires to burn themselves out. In recent decades, 1,250 square miles burned in Yellowstone, 402 square miles burned in Yosemite and many square miles burn virtually every year in Glacier National Park.

Have we already forgotten the devastating forest fires out West last summer? Do we want that policy to exist in our beautiful managed forests in Maine? I think not. Forest fires don’t respect boundary lines, so all lands surrounding the park will be threatened.

An average acre of woodland in Maine produces 0.35 cords of wood per year and is worth $1,280 with value added. Some 150,000 acres of forest should, therefore, produce 52,500 cords per year, which works out to an annual loss to the Maine GDP of more than $67 million. At a recent conference on Maine’s paper industry, speakers stated that one reason paper mills are having a hard time surviving is because of the high cost of wood. Taking the equivalent of six townships out of production certainly isn’t going to help. Even though the paper mills in the Millinocket region are gone, that wood is needed by other mills in the state, as Maine is still a net importer of wood.

Our family has operated a sawmill in Searsmont for five generations. I know we need to manage all of our productive woodlands wisely to supply wood products for the earth’s ever-growing population, which is expanding at a rate of 80 million people per year. The United States already has 266 million acres of national parks, wilderness areas and preserves where no wood can be cut. That’s about 13 times the size of the entire size of the state of Maine. How much more do we need?

If a national park is established, there will always be the danger of it expanding. Acadia National Park is constantly expanding and just recently added 1,400 acres on Schoodic Peninsula despite a 1986 law that the park service would never expand beyond then-agreed-upon boundaries.

I urge Quimby to establish a conservation easement such as Nicatous Lake. It would be available for recreation, it would remain in the tax base, wildlife and other resources would be protected and the wood would still be available. Everyone comes out a winner.

James L. Robbins is former president and owner of Robbins Lumber in Searsmont.

source:  BDN

Walking to Katahdin – Appalachian Trail video

Video – Walking to Katahdin

Experience Mount Katahdin and the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. 2181 miles, 14 states. Great video!

More about Mount Katahdin and the Appalachian Trail

Mount Katahdin (pronounced: kah-Tah-din) is the tallest mountain in Maine at 5,269 feet (1,606 m or just shy of a mile). The mountain was named ‘Katahdin’ by the Penobscot Indians.  The term means “The Greatest Mountain” in their language. Katahdin is the centerpiece of Baxter State Park: a steep, tall mountain formed from a granite intrusion weathered to the surface above the treeline. The flora and fauna on the mountain are those typically found in other regions in northern New England. Katahdin has been known since time immemorial to the Native Americans in the region, and has been known to Europeans since, at least, 1689. Or, possibly, long before.  It has inspired hikers, climbers, journal narratives, paintings, local hit songs and a piano sonata. The area around the peak was protected by Governor Percival Baxter starting in the 1930s and is now known as Baxter State Park. Katahdin is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, and is located near a stretch known as the Hundred-Mile Wilderness.

Roxanne Quimby and the North Maine Woods

Roxanne Quimby, North Maine Woods, National Park

National Park in Maine?
Yankee Magazine – Roxanne Quimby and the North Maine Woods.

Wow.  I just found this great article from Yankee Magazine. The story of what’s going on with the north Maine woods, a national park and what Roxanne Quimby is doing and… why!  The article is quite long but very interesting!  It looks at the plight of:

1. the locals who feel they deserve to access the land as they wish; to hunt, fish, hike, camp (like they have always had) – even if they don’t own it and the owner of the land doesn’t want them doing that there.

2. a few wealthy individuals who see huge tracts of Maine land being sold to foreign entities for division and development – and want to preserve it in its entirety (with access to visitors), possibly as a national park.

Jym St. Pierre, Maine director of a group called RESTORE: The North Woods, says in the article, “The biggest reason we don’t have a national park in Maine today is because we’ve had a de facto park for generations. People feel entitled to that land, just because it’s always been there.”

Roxanne Quimby summits Mount Katahdin in Maine.
Roxanne Quimby summits Mount Katahdin in Maine.

Roxanne speaks about The Whetstone Bridge and how locals are feeling the hurt with the loss of a back-woods east-west road…

“These two pieces of land here effectively stop all east–west traffic. This bridge, the Whetstone Bridge, here — it’s one of the very significant nails in the coffin because it’s the only way to get across the river for something like 30 miles. Okay, you can go over the bridge, but you can’t go across my land with a car. So you can have your bridge, but it ain’t doin’ you any good. I’m closing in, and I’m doing this to demonstrate that you cannot leave this to chance.”

She is speaking broadly to those who oppose a park, those who ironically also claim they believe in property rights: “Yes, it’s a private road, but it’s been in such permissive use for so many years, people forget that the state doesn’t own that road.”

Up there, where she is pointing, people slapped bumper stickers onto their cars and wore T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Ban Roxanne.” Letters to the editor condemned her.  But… she agreed to keep open two important snowmobile trails that cross portions of her land, perhaps heralding a thaw in her relations with area sportsmen and residents.

Read the entire article at Yankee Magazine

North Maine Woods

Mount Katahdin Spider Report published by Maine Forest Service

cross spider (maine) - Araneus diadematus
Cross Spider (Katahdin, Maine) – Araneus diadematus

A new report from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry reveals that there are 145 different species of spiders on and around Mount Katahdin, including five that have been previously unidentified.

The Maine Forest Service report is based on the scientific collection and identification work done by scientists Daniel T. Jennings, Charles D. Dondale and James H. Redner from Maine and Canada and provides scientific knowledge that could provide baseline information on habitat and recreational-use effects in the park, according to Charlene Donahue, MFS forest entomologist.

None of the 145 different species of spiders found were poisonous, as Maine has no native poisonous spiders, the MFS forest entomologist said. The five previous unidentified species are unique to the North American alpine environment found on Katahdin and some of them have also been found on Mt. Washington and in Quebec.

Some Katahdin specimens are available in the MFS insect collection, while others are being kept at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, Mass.

As part of its mission, the state’s Forest Service frequently publishes technical reports on a variety of scientific subjects, from invasive insects to silviculture, as a way to support Maine landowners, forest managers and businesspeople.

A checklist of documented spiders is available at www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/idmhome.htm. For more information about the Maine Forest Service, go to www.maineforestservice.gov.

Climbing Mt Katahdin information.

It was great to find this Mount Katahdin climbing information over at summitpost.org

Katahdin is the highest mountain in Maine and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. It is located within Baxter State Park, a wilderness-managed area in which humans come second that some refer to as the 51st state. The mountain, being a mile above sea level, towers above the comparatively low Maine lakes and forests. Due to the northerly latitude, timberline is at about 3,500 feet.

Trails and hiking / climbing information about Baxter Peak, Mt. Katahdin.
Welcome to Baxter State Park – Climb Mount Katahdin.

Katahdin is most impressive from the south, a sheer-like granite fortress towering to the heights. It’s shape is somewhat horseshoe-like with the open end heading northeasterly. Click this link to see an excellent overview photo. There are 5 main peaks on the horseshoe, counterclockwise from the north they go: Howe Peak, Hamlin Peak, Baxter Peak (summit), South Peak and Pamola Peak….

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