Dozens of members and supporters of the Maine Woods Coalition turned out November 30 in Greenville for the Annual Meeting held at the Black Frog Restaurant. The business portion of the meeting included the election of steering committee members, as well as the slate of officers for the Steering Committee. Treasurer Bill Jarvis of Jackman, Secretary Richard Gould of Greenville, and Chairman John Simko all were returned to their offices. Founder and Vice-Chairman Loren Ritchie resigned from his post in order to spend more time with family: Millinocket Town Manager Eugene Conlogue was elected to fill the post of Vice-Chairman.
The proposed platform strongly denounces any proposals for a National Park in Northern Maine, citing job displacements, lost tax revenue, limited recreational opportunities as likely outcomes from such efforts. The platform, which addressed many issues beyond the Park proposal, was accepted by the Coalition members present. Members did request that the Steering Committee re-work the language for two segments: conservation easements and also natural resource protection.
Members present agreed that conservation easements can be a valuable tool for protecting public interests on private property, but that each easement involving public funds must be evaluated carefully to ensure that the public's interests are being met. In regard to natural resource protection, the members present agreed that reference should be made to the map commissioned by the Maine Woods Coalition and produced by James Sewall Company of Old Town. The map shows clearly the numerous forms of protection currently offered to the Maine Woods, an illustration which is in sharp contrast to proponents of a National park who claim public ownership - ultimately federal ownership - is the best or only way to protect the private land of the Maine Woods.
The Maine Woods Coalition is a non-profit organization made up of property owners and residents of the counties of Somerset, Piscataquis, Penobscot and Aroostook. The mission of the Maine Woods Coalition is to promote Maine';s tradition of private land ownership for public benefit, a tradition which has been the mainstay of the Maine Woods for centuries. The Maine Woods Coalition works to evaluate proposed public policy changes for the Maine Woods, and advocates at all times the best interests of the stakeholders of this four-county region.
For more information regarding the Maine Woods Coalition or to join, please write to us at Maine Woods Coalition, P.O. Box 1287, Greenville, Maine 04441.