A real estate investment trust has submitted plans for development that could transform the North Maine Woods, and Colbians are among many Mainers paying close attention.
Plum Creek, which owns almost a million acres in Maine, submitted plans for housing subdivisions, two recreational resorts, and rezoning of more than 400,000 acres in the Moosehead Lake region.
As the controversial proposal trudged toward hearings before Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission this fall, Colby students took interest. Emmie Theberge ’08, a government and environmental studies major, organized a panel discussion at Colby in October to hear about the proposal from Plum Creek officials and concerns raised by environmental groups.
Theberge, who grew up on Orr’s Island, Maine, and spent time fishing in the North Woods, said trends in the timber industry, shifts in land ownership over the last 30 years, and the role of REITs and TIMOs (Timber Investment Management Organizations) have the potential to transform the landscape and traditional uses of Maine’s northern forests.
But, she said, “Instead of getting caught up in just the environmental side of the argument, I wanted a hearing that would fully represent both sides.”
Meanwhile, Andrew Smith, a first-year student from Hershey, Penn., didn’t take long to get settled at Colby before starting a group to resist this development. Colby Students for the Protection of Moosehead has begun meeting and organizing events. He speaks about his goals in a recent insideColby vodcast, online at www.insidecolby.com/video.