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[at-l] Kingdoms (was: aWFul Putnam Mine...)

Bob Cummings wrote:

> 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.


...as if "the state" is ever "out of the market" for anything.
All it takes is will.

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

It appears that the Mainers who wanted to put the kibosh to
the timber industry are finally getting what they asked for.
Sure, the industry was in decline anyway, but one wonders how
much the recent political pressure and uncertainty have hastened
the arrival of this day.

Had Jonathan Carter and others been *smart*, they would've worked
instead to implement the same Soviet-style protections for the paper
industry that American agriculture enjoys. Wrap the issue in red,
white and blue rather than green, and the checks will come flying.
Maybe even bus Willie Nelson and whatever's left of Lynyrd Skynyrd
in to do a "Mill-Aid" benefit concert for whatever the bumwipe
plant in Millinocket is called today.

Just think: the paper industry could've been frozen in subsidized
amber, and the Maine tradition of "public access to private lands"
secured for countless generations to come -- or for at least as
long as the federal Mohair subsidy.

The irony and (dare I say) justice of the current shituation is
too delicious, doncha think?


Well truth be known, I don't like it none, either. I don't have
the money to bag me one of them 200 acre parcels. On the other
hand, I've vowed never to own large tracts of undeveloped land.
A few years ago the Fulminatrix and I were eyeing a largish parcel
in Coplin Plantation, but we had to wonder whether someday it'd
become someone else's viewshed or something. Better to put those
savings toward an Audi A6.




> 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.

I got a better idea. Instead of petitioning the scum in Washington
for more stolen loot for yourselves and chains for your neighbors,
why don't y'all just sign over *your* tax refund checks to a private
land acquisition fund? Here's a golden opportunity for people to put
their money where their mouths are.

But then one wonders: WWWFD?