"Permanent conservation and sustainable community
development are the bedrock foundations of the Moosehead Region’s future
health and vitality."
communicated by the
Region Futures Committee
PO Box 102
Economic Sectors of the Moosehead
Region’s Sustainable Economy
Four sectors provide a strong base for economic
growth in the Moosehead region, growth that is both sustainable and
compatible with our region’s culture and traditions. All four
sustainable sectors are dependent upon intact woods, waters, and
wildlife resources. Permanent conservation and sustainable community
development are the bedrock foundations of the Moosehead Region’s future
health and vitality.
Sustainable forestry practices ensure healthy forest environments,
an ongoing supply of harvestable timber and forestry jobs for
generations to come. These practices also protect the ecological
health of our region, support diverse populations of wild animals
and plants and facilitate the growth of nature-based tourism.
Camping, boating, hiking, canoeing & kayaking, skiing, snowshoeing,
snowmobiling, photography, rafting and diverse guided experiences of
many types are part of the strongest economic sector of this region
and much of the area’s employment is somehow connected to this
sector. Nature tourism is projected to be one of the mainstays of
the region’s future economy.
Hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching, all require healthy diverse
wildlife populations. Contiguous tracts of undeveloped land,
riparian areas, high value habitat for wild animals, and intact
natural plant communities are essential to the ecological and
economic vitality of the region. The potential long-term economic
benefits of conserving unfragmented, high value habitat will likely
outweigh the short-term benefits of inappropriate development.
Retirement/ 2nd Home Industry:
This industry also depends on conservation of high value resources
that define the region. People want to own retirement or second
homes near the woods, waters, and wildlife habitat that initially
attracted them to the area. Supporting real estate development that
uses "Smart Growth" and sustainable community principles (in the
location and amount of development) ensures strong real estate
values even as we secure the health of the region’s other resource
SUSTAINABLE MOOSEHEAD REGION FUTURE
Many hundreds of area citizens, joined by those who
value the Moosehead Lake Region, have been clear about the values that
should guide future land use planning. The Moosehead Region Futures
Committee has worked to gather these ideas into "guidelines" that might
shape Plum Creek’s revision of its rezoning application, LURC hearings
on McPherson’s Burnt Jacket subdivision proposal, and future development
and conservation plans for this region.
1. Development Near Communities: Development should
be based on "smart growth" and sustainable community principles (in the
amount and location of development) and be located near to or within the
communities of the region. Action: create a "Gateway Community
Development Zone" to guide future development in the region.
2. Permanent Conservation: Maine’s laws are clear:
applicants must provide significant, permanent conservation in their
rezoning Concept Plan applications. Permanent conservation easements
should be placed on significant portions of rezoned land and take place
before development begins. Action: create landscape scale conservation
areas, securing large blocks of contiguous woods and waters as working
forest, habitat, and recreation sites.
3. Guaranteed Public Access: Public access in this
region includes valued relationships with forest landowners, traditional
access to large tracts of forest lands, and access to publicly owned
resources: lakes, navigable rivers, wildlife. Public access is also
essential to our tourism economy. Action: create a permanent agreement
by landowners to keep forested lands open to the public for recreational
use with appropriate restrictions as necessary to assure a safe
environment for continued forest management activities.
4. Rivers, Ponds, Habitat, Conserved: Wild trout
ponds, undeveloped or sparsely developed river segments and shore
frontage, high value wildlife habitat (the "green infrastructure" of the
economy) will be conserved. Action: these resources will be inventoried,
valued for both their ecosystem and nature tourism potential, and
protected from inappropriate development.
5. Business Benefits: Economic activity created by
development should benefit the local economy whenever possible. Action:
create an agreement to offer local businesses (contractors, service
providers, suppliers, etc) fair opportunities to bid competitively for
projects that result from development.
6. Intact Forestlands: Fragmentation of forest
resources by inappropriate backcountry development reduces the future
value of "working" forests and degrades north woods tourism
opportunities. Action: require the creation of "restricted development"
and "no new development" zones that would eliminate back-woods lot
development (residential and commercial) in high value woodlands.
7. Nature Tourism Experiences Protected: Tourism is
Maine’s and this region’s largest employer. Action: create a regional
planning process to identify the current and future experiences that
will grow this economic sector and protect and manage the natural
resources that deliver these experiences.
8. Trail Planning: A world class land and water
trail system will be at the heart of the region’s economic and wellness
future. Action: convene a planning process to determine the need for and
location of permanent people powered and motorized trails appropriate
for all types of use and users. Trail easements created by developers
will be granted in perpetuity (with appropriate buffers) and sited to
benefit tourism and local fitness and recreation needs.
9. Squaw Resort Revitalized: Plum Creek’s current
site for a resort in Lily Bay does not offer the most economic promise
for the region. Action: relocate the resort proposed for the Lily Bay
region to an area adjacent to and/or contiguous with the Squaw Mt.
Resort in order to revitalize the region’s winter economy, benefit both
Rockwood’s and Greenville’s economies, and reduce backcountry sprawl.
10. Affordable Housing: This region needs to retain
and attract a diverse labor force. Action: create affordable housing
units within the communities affected by Plum Creek’s rezoning
application. Create strategies to ensure units are not subject to
speculation and are reserved for area workers who most need them.
11. Impacts Reduced: As the region grows it will be
essential to plan more carefully for the impacts of that growth so that
we retain our "north woods" character as much as possible. Action:
require developers to create plans that limit the scale of development
in sensitive areas, support scenic corridors, create cluster housing and
shared amenities (roads, docks, etc) whenever possible and attach deed
covenants that contain specific outdoor lighting and noise restrictions.
Area planners and state agencies should cooperate in regulations that
protect north woods experiences (for example: limit personal watercraft
on waters that provide "traditional" north woods experiences.)
12. Rockwood Area Reevaluated: The density, scale
and location of Plum Creek’s original development proposal would
significantly alter the Rockwood/Brassua area. Action: redesign both the
location and scale of proposed development (resorts, house lots,
campgrounds, visitors’ facility) so that development reflects the
specific needs of the Rockwood Community and the surrounding region.
13. Roach Ponds Conservation: Second and Third Roach
Ponds and the lands surrounding them have the highest value as more
remote backcountry experiences, wildlife habitat, and working forest
(where appropriate). Action: support an agreement by the landowner to
enter into a multi-year option that will enable the State of Maine to
acquire high value lands in the Second and Third Roach Ponds region.
14. Impact Fees For Education: A diverse local
population depends on healthy area schools. Unless the region is to
become comprised of only retirement or vacation home owners and those
who service their needs, the Moosehead Region needs help to secure and
improve its schools. Action: require landowners and development
applicants to pay per-lot impact fees that will be used to establish a
school endowment, providing programs that offer incentives for local
students and their families to remain in the region.
15. Tree Growth Benefits: When land is rezoned out
of forestry and developed the cost of providing infrastructure and
services for this development falls on local communities. Action:
consider the creation of a state mechanism for the return of a portion
of tree growth tax penalty payments (for lands developed and removed
from forestry in the region) to service-center communities as
compensation for increased infrastructure expenditures.
16. Infrastructure Assistance: With the benefits of
increased development also come infrastructure demands that struggling
northern communities cannot support. Action: Plum Creek will deed to the
communities of Greenville, Shirley, Rockwood, Beaver Cove, and the state
or county on behalf of unorganized territories, land proven to be
suitable for the development and construction of a Solid and Liquid
Waste Disposal and Recycling Facility, in accordance with the
anticipated future needs of the region.
17. Professional Planning & Research: In order to
assure that these values and guidelines are incorporated into future
development and conservation, this region requires the benefits that
flow from 3rd party analysis and research. Action: LURC,
other state agencies, the University of Maine will convene appropriate
research and analysis on (but not limited to) the following: the costs
and benefits of development as well as conservation (lost opportunities
as well as realized economic opportunity); the impacts and
infrastructure requirements of future development (roads, septic
systems, etc); a thorough survey that clearly identifies and quantifies
the flora and fauna of the aquatic, avian and terrestrial natural
communities in areas might support development or be adjacent to
development; water quality assessments; an inventory of high
value working forest lands and their current and potential products, and
an inventory of nature tourism sites and requirements (experiences, view
sheds, trails, access, amenities, information services, etc).
The Opportunity: Current large scale development
proposals (Plum Creek’s Lake Concept Plan, McPherson’s Burnt Jacket
subdivision application) as submitted, do not adequately address large
and important development and conservation planning for the Moosehead
Region. We suggest however, that residents and area supporters might see
this as a valuable opportunity to craft a vision for the future of the
region. While development pressures for these last wild areas of Maine
are sure to increase in the coming years, it is our duty and
responsibility as citizens of the region to rise to this challenge and
not allow the desires of a few to dictate the future for the many. The
very nature of these unprecedented applications demands that the Land
Use Regulation Commission, the Department of Conservation, the Office of
the Governor, the Conservation Community, potential developers and the
public work cooperatively to reassess the future needs of the entire
state and make such changes in rules, regulations, policies and
practices as may be required to assure that the culture, history,
traditions and values of Maine are represented in future land use
decisions. There is little doubt that this is the first of many such
plans to be presented by this and other landowners, large and small. The
decisions we make now will become important precedents for future
rezoning and land use applications.
The Moosehead Region Futures Committee looks forward
to continuing to play a positive role as an "honest broker" of
information from local voices who want to be heard by the decision
makers of our state. There’s much more "listening" and research to be
completed. Please visit the interactive map on the Futures Committee’s
website to share your ideas, suggestions, knowledge and solutions!