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Downeast Maine

Property Rights
and
Rural Independence


Defense of property rights and rural independence is a huge issue in Maine. Well-heeled politically connected preservationist activists and government agencies have for decades been collaborating, off and on openly campaigning, and lobbying for a Greenline park takeover of private property throughout rural northern New England. They want to eliminate the natural resources industries and private homes, which they hate, across enormous areas they want controlled in a primitive state. The campaign appeals to those seeking to line their pockets as political insiders and/or emotionally overcome with scenic imagery as an excuse to harm other people, all without regard to basic ethics.

There have already been several attempts to take over parts or most of Washington County, including plans and a campaign for an enormous National Park displacing the people. They were stopped in the past only with great effort and personal loss, with people's lives torn apart for years at a time. The National Park Service lobby is now back again with Federal legislation for an enormous National Heritage Area across Washington and Hancock counties, once again deceptively promoted to hide the legislative powers and mandates, and their political implementation.

Some Recent Highlights
Scroll down for the full table of contents


Sept. 26, 2022 National Heritage Area

July 5, 2022 Classic Videos document National Park Service acquisition abuse of property owners

July 13, 2022 Myth of the “Willing Seller”

May 11, 2008: Quoddy Tides Maine Coast Heritage Trust Land Lust is not “Protection”

July 16, 2022 Maine Coast Heritage Trust letter says inholders it surrounds are a “threat”

July 20, 2022 Non-profits and National Park Service goal to remove inholders

July 25, 2022 NPS planners: Don't warn the victims

July 13, 2022 Anatomy of a Land Trust

July 16, 2022 Maine Coast Heritage Trust: “Right people” not in charge locally -- Federalize Quoddy (1991)

“The MCHT report... written at the request of the NPS... ‘ is a reference document for resource managers and policymakers‘”.

July 15, 2022 Maine Coast Heritage Trust Insider's Federal planning against private owners

July 13, 2022 Maine Coast Heritage Trust Corporate Finances

Aug 3, 2022 Acadia Creation Myth

July 13, 2022 National Monument Decree Took Over Part of the Maine Woods: bypassed Congress for New Unit of National Park System.

July 13, 2022 Campaign to Federalize the Maine Woods

July 13, 2022 Trump created Federal entitlement for perpetual annual government land acquisition

December 22, 2014 – USFWS internal “Hocutt memo” hidden since 1993 acknowledges duplicitous agency PR campaign directed at local residents and property owners targeted for restrictions and acquisition in the Canaan Valley, WV. Tactics mirror Maine and nationwide.

March 25, 2014 – Maine Coast Heritage Trust opposes restoring Maine's authority over ceding land and jurisdiction to the Federal government

Contents


Target: Maine – “Take it All”

In 1990 I attended the New England Environmental Network leadership conference at Tufts University and found that the national environmentalist lobby was actively planning for Federal acquisition of 26 million acres of mostly private property in northern New England, comprising mostly timberland and small communities. This is a transcript of Audubon Society Vice President Brock Evans' [later head of the National Endangered Species Coalition] portion of the panel discussion in which environmentalist leaders outlined their goals and strategy in the campaign to take over private property in northern New England.

Evans' remarks were intended for fellow activist political leaders, not the public. When they made the newspapers following release of the transcript of his speech he tried to deny it. Here is a typical example.

The national environmentalist lobby subsequently organized the “Northern Forest Alliance” to control and fund activist organizations under a central strategy. Here we see summaries of the big plans, plus a strategist in the Environmental Grantmakers Association – the umbrella organization coordinating activist funding – discussing the scope of a long term campaign to gain political control of private property in northern New England and undermine local opposition. And we see a radical group consisting of those who just can't constrain themselves to a few tens of millions of acres for the “primeval”, serving to make the “mainstream” radical groups appear “reasonable” in comparison.

Targeting Maine played a prominent role in this series on national strategic funding aimed at government takeovers of private property.

The Obama administration put national radical activist leaders in charge of government land agencies, EPA, etc. where they immediately pursued imposition of policies against private land ownership and the economy. The original agenda to take over million acres of private property in Maine was automatically part of this and top Obama officials were in Maine collaborating with viro activists from the beginning.



Seizing the Maine Woods

The big campaign to expand the National Park System at the expense of private property owners nationwide, publicly launched in 1988, was intended to pick up where it had left off in the 1970s when during the Carter administration tens of thousands of families were displaced nationwide for new and expanded National Parks and Refuges. Five of the massive new parks were planned for rural Maine, along with another expansion of Acadia. Two targeted our coastal county and the other three the Maine Woods, almost all of it privately owned..

When that massive schemes failed after years of battling, the Wilderness Society spawned the radical pressure group “RESTORE the North Woods” for a long term push for a consolidated target encompassing “only” 3.1 million acres from the original target in the Maine Woods. A wealthy political radical, Roxanne Quimby, joined the campaign and began buying land in 1998 for what she called a “seed” for the enormously larger new National Park takeover.

Roxanne Quimby's large-scale preservationist acquisitions provide an illustration and sweeping self-caricature of the role and purpose of the more openly radical wing of the land trust movement taken to its logical extreme as they are currently motivated and organized to eliminate private property.

Born in Cambridge MA, Quimby came to Maine in the 1970s from a radical New Left California ‘arts’ college as a hippy back–to–the–lander living in deliberate poverty. Decades later she fell into a fortune after tapping into someone else's small business selling bees wax – her contribution to the business was outlandishly high markups for small packages, selling something of little value into the high–paying “natural” fad market.

As this exploitive "business" grew, Quimby took it out of Maine because of high state taxes – which such progressives favor when applied to someone else – then later sold to a large corporation for a fortune. She came back to Maine to spend tens of millions of dollars buying and accumulating some 200,000 acres of Maine timberland with the intent to stop logging and most traditional recreation in rural Maine by turning millions of acres of land into primitive wilderness in accordance with the Restore agenda. She was on Restore's board of directors for years and has said that she intended her land to be a “seed” and a “down payment” on the millions of acres she wants the National Park Service to take over.

Quimby intended to flip some of her land to the National Park Service in the name of “gift” in order to eliminate private property rights and local government, to be displaced by Federal control and forced wilderness forever – as if any person has a right to change the form of government, replacing civilization and private property rights with primitivism, as she uses her dubiously acquired wealth to buy government policy for an imposed massive eco-socialism.

Quimby is opposed to property rights and exploits its mechanisms in order to permanently destroy them, while her supporters pretend she has the “right” to pursue her agenda of government control in the name of property rights. Yankee Magazine reported in March 2008:

Roxanne's plan is somewhat counterintuitive. She returns to the bees of her past: “To me, ownership and private property were the beginning of the end in this country. Once the Europeans came in, drawing lines and dividing things up, things started getting exploited and overconsumed. But a park takes away the whole issue of ownership. It's off the table; we all own it and we all share it. It's so democratic.’”



National Park Service and Roxanne Quimby's "Plan B" National Monument Strategy to Take the Maine Woods, bypassing Congress March 25, 2014

Faced with growing opposition to her “gift” of imposing a Federal Wilderness in Maine despite her marketing attempts to repackage it as “for the economy”, Quimby revealed in a September 2011 MPBN interview that if she could not get Congressional approval, which is required for establishment of new National Parks, she had a backup plan. Her “Plan B”, she said, is to “donate” the land to the Federal government with the arrangement that President Obama would unilaterally designate it as a wilderness National Monument in order to bypass democratic processes in both Maine and Congress.

Quimby has close ties with the Obama administration and with the National Park Service in particular; she was appointed by Obama to the National Park Foundation (created by Congress in 1967 using Rockerfeller funding to promote the National Park Service). Quimby says she prefers the National Park Service as a “brand”, which remains her “Plan A”, but a National Monument could be held as wilderness by a Federal agency and later transfered to NPS. Quimby's son Lucas St. Clair threatened in the New York Times in January 2014, “It's often a knock-down, drag-out fight to create a park, and sometimes it takes 30 years.”

Executive decrees of National Monuments under the 1906 Antiquities Act, originally passed to preserve small ancient historic sites on land already owned by the Federal government emphasizing Indian artifacts in the southwest, have frequently been employed to bypass Congress in establishing large wilderness areas. The largest National Monument is currently a 2.2 million acre portion of the Tsongas National Forest in Alaska where pressure groups have for decades sought to stop timber harvesting.

Manipulation of the Antiquities Act for government control in private areas is less common, but was politically pioneered at Acadia in Maine in 1916.

Both the National Park Service and the US Fish & Wildlife Service have been used to take private propety in Maine, and both those agencies and the US Forest Service have collaborated with pressure groups to plan and agitate for both acquisition and Greenline land use prohibitions under Federal law.

After the National Park Plan for Washington County failed by 1991, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust tried to use USFWS for massive acquisition, and did succeed in expanding the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge through land takings. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the US Forest Service Northern Lands Study and the susequent 4-state Northern Forest Lands Council disrupted people's live for years across four states until the agenda was mostly stopped, at least for awhile.

Controversial National Monument designations bypassing democratic processes are typically imposed in the waning lame duck days of a President's term of office along with the controversial “pardons”. Obama has a reputation of not being hesitant to use his “pen”. Clinton's 1996 designation of the 1.7 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah was unsuccessfully fought in the courts for over a decade.


Obama National Monument Decree Took Over Part of the Maine Woods Posted July 13, 2022.

Roxanne Quimby and the National Park Service completed the transfer of a hodge podge of nearly 90,000 acres near Milinocket in the Maine woods to the Federal government Aug. 18, 2016.

The transfer was "Plan B" to bypass the lack of Congressional approval required for a new unit of the National Park System. Local towns opposed the Federal takeover with 70% of the vote in referendums despite Quimby's massive and expensive PR campaigns.

Exploiting the legally dubious precedents, the National Park Service's private lobby arm, National Parks Conservation Association, is already declaring that there are now two ways to create new National Parks, raising the spectre that wealthy land trusts seeking Federal takeovers of private property will in collaboaration with NPS bypass Congress, unilaterally creating National Parks and surrounding inholders subject to subsequent removal.

A President has the authority to declare Federal land as a National Monument under the 1906 Antiquities Act, but the Act was for small areas of actual antiquities, intended mostly for Indian artifacts in the South West, not a means to bypass Congress for Federal Parks. Obama also declared much of the Gulf of Maine as a National Monument to stop commercial fishing.

Quimby had the legal right to give land to the Federal government, but the National Park Service as an agency had no authority to accept it without Congressional approval, and Quimby had no right to require in the deed that the land be managed by NPS, unilaterally creating public policy herself in collaboration with unauthorized agency empire building.

NPS says it manages National Monuments the same as National Parks, but the agency currently has no authority at a Monument to acquire additional private land to expand or to remove inholders. NPS National Monument status, however, makes it politically easier to subsequently obtain Congressional approval for official National Park status and acquisition. The park lobby has continued to agitate for a Maine Woods National Park to grow Quimby's “seed” into 3 million acres of complete Federal control as one of the new National Parks they want to remove private ownership in Maine.


Washington Times



Restoring Maine authority to prevent transfer of land and jurisiction to the Federal government March 25, 2014

A 2014 bill before the Maine legislature would block Quimby's Plan B and similar plans from bypassing democratic processes by restoring state sovereignty over ceding land and jurisdiction within its borders to the Federal government. It would apply in general to all Quimby-like machinations by organizations that have been accumulating property in large areas that the pressure group activists have politically targeted for government acquisition for decades. The strategyg threaten inholders and others in and near targeted areas with Federal acquisition and loss of access and infrastructure.

LD1828 would amend Maine's blanket Sec. 1. 1 MRSA §15 approval of transfers of land and state jurisdiction to the Federal government to require state legislative review and specific approval for transfers larger than a reasonable threshold of 5 acres, more than enough for routine Federal buildings. (The bill's original limit of 5 square miles was an error.) Larger transfers would be subject to specific state legislature approval for Federal acquisition.

Pressure group lobbyists, including the Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Quimby supporters who spoke at the hearing, are actively trying to block reform. They try to spread fear and confusion over what they call “unintended consequences” in order to induce legislators to do as they are told by the pressure group lobbyists.

Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Audubon, and Natural Resources Council of Maine, all of whom have tried to get massive Federal acquisition of private property and whose lobbyists attended the March 26 committee work sesssion on the bill, do not want their insider power in collaboration with government agencies limited in any way. (Maine Coast Heritage Trust was organized and initially run in 1970 by the Chief Ranger at Acadia National Park, using Rockefeller money, as an acquisition arm of the National Park Service.)

The bill was postponed in a divided report by the committee in a partisan 8-3 vote until January 15, 2015, pending answers to questions put to the AG and avoiding controversy until after the election. The bill is expected, however, to be brought up on the floor of the House and Senate in this session on the basis of the committee minority report. The bill currently specifies a threshold of 40 acres.

Hearings on LD1828 limiting land transfers to the Federal government without specific state legislative approval:



National Park Service

National Natural Landmarks

Preservationists declaring your property to be “nationally significant” is not an “honor”; it means that you no longer matter: your private property rights are no longer regarded as relevant in the face of claimed “higher” “national” interests.

In 1988 we discovered that the National Park Service, the Maine State Planning Office and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust were secretely turning the 20 miles of downeast coast of Maine from Cutler to Lubec, including our property, into a Federally designated “nationally signficant” National Natural Landmark. The Trust was doing the “study” determined in advance to “justify” the “conclusion”, and had already been politically invoking the not yet official “conclusion” to pressure the state to interfere with private residential property. The Nature Conservancy was secretely doing the same at Beals, just down the coast.

We learned that the National Natural Landmarks Program is used nationwide by the Federal government in collaboration with preservationist insiders and pressure groups as a “feeder program” for new Federal parks and other means to take over private property. A Landmark designation is regarded by the National Park Service as automatically qualifying the land as “nationally significant” for a National Park. The National Park Service lobby calls Landmarks “Ladies in Waiting”.

The Maine Coast Heritage Trust was later found to be quietly pushing to turn the entire Quoddy region into a National Natural Landmark in order to impose greenlining. The agenda was picked up by the National Park Service lobby in Washington, which campaigned for a full National Park takeover of most of Washington County.



Greenlining, NPS ‘Landscape Heritage Areas’ Goal, and LURC/LUPC

Greenlining means that preservationists draw a line around an area and impose government social controls so that the people inside don't have the same rights as those outside. Greenline parks contain a mixture of government land, quasi-government land trusts, and private property subject to strict land use prohibitions enforced by an autocratic government agency. The restrictions range from scenery police mandating to homeowners what color they can paint their home – to heavy restrictions on cutting vegetation – to prohibitions on roads, motorized vehicles, or building a home or business at all – to eliminating most private economic activity.

In the late 1980s the pressure group activists began an active campaign to Greenline 26 million acres of private property across rural Maine (2/3 the state), northern New Hampshire and Vermont, and New York state to the Adirondacks. They explicitly modeled the scheme after previous Greenline parks such as the Columbia Gorge (OR & WA) and the Adirondacks (NY) where the people have been stripped of their property rights under a system of social controls severly restricting land use and economic activity.

This Greenlining is part of their agenda to designate several huge new National Parks that would outright eliminate all private property inside them, with Greenline controls over the remaining private property in between.

The Greenline portion, especially, was promoted in the U.S. Forest Service's 1989 Northern Forests Land Study under Federal legislation on behalf of the pressure groups. There have been several subsequent attempts at Federal legislation to further the Greenlining process, including Sen. Leahy's (D-VT) Northern Forest Stewardship Act, which were defeated only after major battles. Federal legislation ceased when Leahy left his position as head of the Senate Agriculture Committee that overees the National Forest Service.

More attempts to impose a Federally sponsored Greenline on Maine can be expected. Maine Coast Heritage Trust has for decades sought Greenlining to restrict residences to only within approved “settlement clusters”, which do not include what it calls “residential islanding” within “large landscape conservation”

There have been several by pressure groups and activists inside state government to redefine Maine's Land Use Regulatory Commission – LURC – as a Greenline agency to take over private property in Maine. Every periodic update of the LURC Comprehensive Plan since the 1980s has incrementally imposed increasing controls intended to further this agenda.

Here are some articles on the 2008 LURC Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) calling for bureacratic control imposing more limitations on development and more restrictions of land use to “primitive recreation”, both intended to strangle the economy in anticipation of full Greenlining:

The National Park Service has since the 1970's sought to expand its domain beyond National Parks by, among other means, establishing itself as the lead Federal agency imposing Greenline Parks to control private property across the country. Several bills that would have established a framework for a national system of Greenline “Heritage Areas” through Federally sponsored and subsidized regional land use controls have failed in Congress but continue to be introduced. (Preservationists promoting Greenlining now use the term “Heritage Areas” since the term “Greenline” became controversial following the growing reputation of what Greenlines have actually done to people in practice – despite their misleading utopian promotion as “public–private partnerships” and controlled “lived in landscapes”) Governor Baldacci has already sponsored a “study” promoting the designation of much of Maine as a National Heritage Area.

These two articles from Land Rights Letter describe the basic issues in the Greenline agenda:

National legislation S.2543/H.R.1427 before Congress in 2004 serves as an example of the intent to combine Federal power and money with state land use controls to further the national Greenline agenda by first establishing a broad framework. Its sponsors claim they would bring order to haphazard “Heritage Area” designations, but the open-ended provisions sanction virtually any kind of Greenline legislation imposing specific new Greenlines under the system while doing nothing to protect property rights. Documents specifically concerned with S.2543 are:


“Habitat”


As the national environmentalist lobby pushes to expand the Endangered Species Act to cover entire “ecosystem” “habitats”, grant–driven pressure groups such as Maine Audubon are collaborating with activist agencies such as the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the Maine State Planning Office and other government agencies to impose “habitat” designations for sweeping state restrictions and prohibitions on use of private property. A series of articles and columns mostly from the Downeast Coastal Press, in order of their occurence:
Trashing the Economy – A National Environmentalist Agenda


Is the prolonged environmentalist war on private property and civilization in Maine a coincidence in a natural course of political events or is it a well-funded and organized campaign? Trashing the Economy, a book on organized environmentalism and its funding shows the national pattern being repeated in Maine... ... and these articles give a behind the scenes look into an Environtmental Grantmakers Association strategy conference revealing a coordinated strategy to destroy both the economy and those who dare to fight back.
Why Would Anyone Want to Do This?


Will the Atlantic Salmon – now being officially promoted by environmentalists and the Federal Government as an “endangered species” – be to Downeast Maine what the Spotted Owl has been to the Pacific Northwest? This is a review of Alston Chase's book, In A Dark Wood, which describes the environmentalist attack on the rural population of the Pacific Northwest using the Endangered Species Act to shut down the natural resource economy. A major theme is the environmentalist philosophical vision and guiding principles that motivated the attack – and the question of where these motivating ideas came from.
With environmentalists seeking a government takeover of enormous amounts of private property, a Maine grassroots organization called “Keep Maine Free” held a rally to protest the socialism inherent in environmentalist politics and its demand for massive government ownership of the land. This is an op-ed I wrote in the Downeast Coastal Press supporting the protest rally.
This is an op-ed I wrote in the Downeast Coastal Press on the role of the viro's “anti-industrial revolution” ideology in the northeast electrical power outage of 2003.
Battles


Every year the environmentalist lobby backs a national media campaign, coordinated by the Wilderness Society, to go after what they call the 10 or 15 most “endangered” sites in the country. There is no objective basis for the designation – the “endangered” sites list is a media ploy to manipulate puplic opinion in support of a government takeover of whatever the environmentalist lobby has targeted.
In 1988 hardly anyone could imagine a Federal takeover of private property in Maine for the purpose of destroying civilization and the economy in the name of preservation. These notes summarize the barage of environmentalist abuses that show they are serious – and relentless.
One of the earliest national parks in the country, Maine's Acadia National Park has a history of abuse as the environmentalist movement has risen in power.
CARA Condemnation and Relocation Act: Taxpayers' money to take the taxpayers' property

A major ingredient in the orchestration of a government takeover of vast regions of private property through acquistion is money – lot's of it. Since 1965 the annual congressional appropriations of hundreds of millions per year through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) have been the primary source of money used to take over private property for government parks and preserves.

The politics of a Federal acquisition slush fund is described in Ron Arnold's 1982 At the Eye of the Storm: James Watt and the Environmentalists see pp 181-187.

Environmentalists are promoting legislation to establish a $3 billion/year off-budget entitlement called the “Conservation and Reinvestment Act” (CARA) – also called the “Condemnation and Relocation Act” – which is mostly dedicated to or available for acquisition, but also for subsidizing preservationist promotion and lobbying. The off-budget guarantee of a large increase in perpetual funding is intended to accelerate the conversion of private property to government ownership, trampling and eliminating the rights of private owners on a massive scale. A large portion of the funding is intended to target Maine.

The following articles covered CARA when it was previously before Congress in 2000. It came close to passing in 2001 and was re-introduced as H.R. 4100 as the “Get Outdoors Act of 2004” (the bill text is at the Thomas web site (search on bill number HR4100). It remains a major goal of the Big Park lobby, which is waiting for the politically opportune moment to spring it again.

UPDATE: LWCF was converted in 2020 into an entitlement for government acquisition at the full $900 million/year original limit, permanently bypassing the normal Congressional appropriations process and with no restrictions on eminent domain.

President Trump, following his son-in-law senior advisor Jared Kushner's election strategy, told Senate leader Mitch McConnell that he wanted the entitlement passed for a bizarre and unprincipled attempt to aid the failing re-election of Sen. Corey Gardner (R-CO), who sponsored the bill.

Gardner (deservedly) lost his Senate seat, and Trump's unprincipled “Pragmatist” grasping with a cheap political gimmick gave the national preservationist movement a permanent major annual entitlement to take over private property they had not been able to get for 50 years.

Trump is no supporter of property rights, having openly supported and used local eminent domain to take private property for his building projects. He famously lost in court when the Institute for Justice successfully sued him for trying to take a woman's home for a parking lot for his Atlantic City, NJ casino. In an interview with John Stossel Trump accused those who object to having their property taken as “obstructionist ” and said “eminent domain is wonderful”.


Property Taxes

Property taxes in Maine are among the highest in the country and property taxes are far worse where market values of land along the coast increase out of proportion with other property. Systematic government and land trust acquisitions removing land from private ownership drain the local economic and tax base, pushing up property taxes on those left.

The state policy of arbitrarily imposing escalating costs of government through an inequitable, annually recurring asset tax based (only) on real estate value is punishing more and more land and home owners, sometimes forcing them off their own property. This phenomenon is progressing up the coast and increasingly threatens downeast property owners.

As one viro activist put it in the late 1980's, if landowners won't sell then “tax the hell out of them”. Property tax policy has in principle much in common with taking private property by eminent domain in the name of the so–called “public good” (note that the rights of the victim are not considered to be part of the “public good”).



Last Page Update: 09/29/22