Media Archive

Baldacci unveils vision for Maine North Woods

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 165, No. 49, December 03, 2003

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE - Gov. John Baldacci announced his vision for the Maine North Woods last week at the Penquis Higher Education Center in Dover-Foxcroft.

DOVER-FOXCROFT Gov. John Baldacci made a promise last week to the Maine woods.

In a speech delivered Nov. 26 at the Penquis Higher Education Center in Dover-Foxcroft, Baldacci outlined his "hopeful but practical vision" to preserve the Maine woods as a source of employment and enjoyment by Maine people for years to come.

Before a crowd of about 70 interested citizens, municipal and county officials, state legislators and members of the press, Baldacci unveiled his Maine Woods Legacy,which focuses on the coordination of economic development and resource conservation projects, along with new initiatives and the naming of the Governor's Task Force on the Sustainability of the Forest Products Industry, chaired by Commissioner Jack Cashman of the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

The governor's plan focuses on strengthening the connection between economic health and conservation in the Maine woods. He noted that several communities bordering the woods have started to make that connection, through such groups as the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council, Millinocket Area Growth and Investment Council, and the Lincoln Lakes Regional Development Corp.

In accomplishing that feat, Baldacci stressed his support of the forest products industry. "A healthy forest products industry is critical to the Maine economy," he said. "People who rely for their livelihood on long-time local employers like Moosehead Manufacturing [of Dover-Foxcroft and Monson], Hardwood Products [of Guilford] and Pride Manufacturing [of Guilford] must have assurance that value-added businesses will continue to have access to affordable, high-quality wood ... to help them remain competitive," he said.

He also expressed support for the manufacturing base in the forest products industry; new efforts to , ensure a continuous supply of wood fiber to the market, and initiatives to support Maine landowners in becoming "green-certified." The Maine Woods Legacy also seeks to promote access to Maine's woods and waters for recreational opportunities, the governor said.

"Maine's large woodlands owners have a long history of voluntarily allowing public access to the working forest for recreational purposes. We encourage a continuation of this policy," Baldacci said. He said the state will continue to rely on conservation easements, when private ownership is involved, and look into "strategic state ownership of those areas in Maine with the most critical recreational, scenic, watershed and wildlife habitat resources, along with opportunities for the tradition of backcountry wilderness."

He said that the state will develop its own method of land conservation that promotes economic development opportunities that fit into the state's landscape, traditions and economic needs and abilities.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.