Questions for Panel on Issues and Decision Scenarios

Compilation by Steve Tatko, Colby '10

 

Managing the north woods could be the key to turning Maine into a stronger economy. Given that forests here grow slowly and rural economies in most areas of the US are weak or subsidized or both where do you see that kind of value coming from?

 

The public non-profits and other interest groups have an ever-increasing feeling of a right to have an opinion or dictate what can and cannot be done with private lands.  Private property owners have rights.  For example they don't have to allow public recreational access.  How much intrusion do you think companies are willing to tolerate before an all-out revolt, with maybe a closure of access? How do you think a closure of land to recreation will affect Maine lifestyles and the state's economy?  Recreation brings over 1 billion dollars to the economy and some large tracts are being closed.

 

Do you think it is time for more public ownership of northern forest land to accommodate public values?

 

We have heard about some of the class/economic dimensions of creating equity in the management of Maine's north woods- but what about the multi-cultural dimensions of equity?  How will Maine's Native American and immigrant communities be part of planning for and sharing in Maine's north woods?

 

Do you agree that legislative mandates have forced low population towns to disorganize?

 

Lynx, quality 2x4's and outdoor activity are great but how do we integrate a livable wage for citizens who will treat the land with respect?  Example: how can we keep a young logger engaged in a career of logging?

 

Lapping said every planning decision LURC makes is an economic impact decision.  LURC is currently limiting its responsibility for consideration of economics of rural Maine.  How can we draw them back to that responsibility?

 

Can you imagine a "Master Plan" for northern Maine?  How would you find common ground among the varied interests and long-term needs at the same building a unified vision to guide northern Maine's future?

 

The land that is purchased for the public is removed from the tax base.  Who picks up the bill?  The tax payers in the Unorganized Territories should not have to pay the cost of fire protection etc for land that is everyone's in Maine.

 

Rural poverty is not a new problem for Maine and can be said to be largely a result of the long-standing patron-client relations characteristic of industrial ownerships and unorganized township structure.  Yet, without being entirely just, these arrangements have served to some extent, as a safety net from more serious poverty experience.  Are there opportunities for configurations of ownership and work that are possible in northern Maine to address rural poverty and distributive justice in the new forest lands economies?  What will it take to develop means of participatory development in these scenarios?

 

Why is there no person from the area under discussion included on this panel of issues and scenarios?

 

Was any effort made to have residents of the LURC jurisdiction here today?  If not why?  How many people here today are from the Unorganized Territory?

 

What is your view about new products, bio products and bio fuels being produced from forest resources?  Can this be greater value added in a sustainable management effort that benefits those who work in northern Maine?

 

Are there no social civic environmental responsibilities that come with private ownership of forest lands?

 

What are steps to a value added economy in northern Maine?

 

Rather then sell and develop a large portion of their forest land, wouldn't Plum Creek et. al. be better off to put all their land into working forest for long term value while collecting cash up front by selling development rights via easements to the state?

 

How can we achieve a better balance of working forest and wilderness?

 

Working forest easements have largely failed to secure public access to the Maine Woods.  How can we permanently ensure public recreational access to our woods and waters?

 

What has changed in the Maine Woods in the past 10 years and what could or should happen in the next ten years?

 

In regards to "negative" conversation what are the positive things the Maine woods has going for it?  What is positive from a land, ecological, social, economic, community perspective that we have going for us and how can we build on it?

 

My family has a 250 acre farm in central New York in a high development area.  How does a small farm compete with corporate factory dairy farms?  What crops/ markets that are not traditional to grow, can be competitive?

 

If a vote were taken on Plumb Creek's proposal in Greenville and other nearby towns on site most observers feel it would pass 70/30.  They want the jobs, the tax base and the economic potential.  How do you square this reality with NRC's opposition?

 

Why should the public accept or support the expenditure of public funds for future conservation easements?   The public pays today to protect the commons and ten years from now.  However, the easement "protection in perpetuity" could be ended through the agreement or negotiations among new owners and the easement holder claiming so called "unforeseen circumstances" as in Johnson county MT?

 

How do you envision the large conversation about the woods of Maine happening?  Can it be done?