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Re[2]: [at-l] aWFul Putnam Mine...



Kahley: There are no special issues on Trailplace at the moment. The site is down for revamping. I haven't
had a chance to check the plans in any detail, but hopefully it will continue to insist on broad
discussion of important trail matters.

My major concern at the moment is the stalling of a massive effort to put some of the Maine
wildlands into permanent public protection. Maine looks wild but until recent years it has been 95
percent privately owned, mostly by paper companies who harvest the wood for their paper machines.

Starting a couple of years ago, the companies have been selling land to the highest bidders. On a
positive note the Nature Conservancy has purchased easements on several hundred thousand acres to
prevent development. A regional land trust similarly protected a half million acres.

And the state through a forest legacy program initiated by Clinton has been eyeing another million
acres or so. Maine alone had been seeking another $60 million from the federal budget. Unfortunately
the Bush budget has slashed the fund nationally to just $30 million.

More ominously, huge blocks of prime river and lake frontage are now being bought by private buyers
to create  20,000 acre private
"kingdoms" at three times the market price for Maine wildlands of recent years. This will jack up
the price of public acquisitions, possibly putting the state and conservation groups out of the
market.

The last chance to acquire significant blocks of public lands in the largest unbroken forest in the
East is disappearing.

This will be my last message for a couple of weeks. We leave this afternoon to close out my
father-in-laws apartment in North Carolina. He had been living with us for the past three years but
despite his age, 88, always dreamed of "getting well" and returning. He didn't make it. He died last
week.

My suggestion to folks who want to help preserve some of the wildness that they saw in Maine, is to
contact their U. S. Representatives and Senators and urge full funding for the Forest Legacy
Program.

Weary