FRA member Jim Robbins, fourth-generation owner of Robbins Lumber in Searsmont, Maine, published a lengthy op-ed in the October 6 Bangor Daily News criticizing the assumptions behind, and practical effect of, the 70,000-acre National Park that former Burt’s Bees mogul Roxanne Quimby is proposing, as a means of disposing of a portion of her large investment in northern Maine woodlands. Robbins points out that “preserved” wildlands in the U.S. already total 266 million acres—and questions how effectively federal management is fostering the pristine qualities that Quimby claims to value—and he debunks the assumption that a large neglected National Park will have no effect on surrounding private lands.
Most pointedly, however: “I find it ironic that Roxanne Quimby says she wants to create a national park to give people access to the Maine woods. She is the first large landowner in Maine to ever shut off public access to the land. Some large landowners charge gate fees to help maintain the roads, but at least we have reliable access to the land. She says that if the park is created that she will make another 30,000 acres available for snowmobiling, hunting and fishing, which is access that Maine’s people have traditionally always had to that land—until she bought it!”