Quimby Presents Plan for National Park, Donations
Five years ago Roxanne Quimby reached out to her major critics – including me - to talk about the future of her Maine lands. At that time I could never have imagined what I heard Roxanne tell Millinocket area residents on May 5.
She plans to donate a significant parcel of her land to Peaks-Kenney State Park in Dover-Foxcroft (where her children learned to swim).
She plans to donate a portion of her lands in that area to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to manage for remote wild brook trout ponds.
She plans to donate some of her land in that area to expand the corridor for the Appalachian Trail.
She has helped secure a portion of the key snowmobile trail between Millinocket and Matagamon.
She has sold a portion of her land just north of Millinocket to the state for a town forest.
She has a forest harvesting plan for all of her lands.
She hopes to establish a national park on her 70,000 acres between Mount Katahdin and the East Branch of the Penobscot River (this may include two additional parcels in that area if she is able to purchase them).
She is willing to purchase 70,000 on the east side of the East Branch and donate it to the state for a state park or recreation area.
And as significant as all of this is, perhaps the most surprising thing that occurred on that Thursday night at the Northern Maine Timber Cruisers Clubhouse in Millinocket were the two rounds of applause that Roxanne received from the 125 people who jammed the clubhouse for her presentation.
There’s a good lesson here. Roxanne Quimby used to be my enemy. And when she reached out to me, to Bob Meyers of the Maine Snowmobile Association, and to Millinocket Town Manager Gene Conologue five years ago to find common ground, I did not want to like her. Today, I like, admire, and respect Roxanne, and appreciate her extensive effort to accommodate the interests of sportsmen and the residents of the Millinocket region, without giving up her long-time dream of a North Woods National Park.
Over the years, as our discussions progressed, facilitated by Jim Page of Sewall Company, we created a strong bond between all of the participants that culminated in the panel discussion on May 5, the first time Roxanne has ever publicly appeared in Millinocket. Bob Meyers, Gene Conologue, local legislators, and I joined Roxanne on the panel, but she did most of the talking.
The really good news is that the extra security there that night was not needed.
Quimby built her company, Burt’s Bees, from the beehive up, and sold if for a lot of money, some of which she spent buying property in the north woods east of Baxter Park and north of Dover-Foxcroft. She won the ire of most sportsmen when she placed her land in a sanctuary, banning motorized access, hunting, and trapping.
“Ban Roxanne” bumper stickers proliferated in the Millinocket region.
When I told the audience on May 5 that I’d taken off my “Ban Roxanne” bumper sticker several years ago, and perhaps it was time they did too, the comment drew a big laugh.
Roxanne answered every question tossed her way that night, for more than two hours. She showed them her maps. She outlined her plans for each parcel. She was engaging, open, and articulate. And she was applauded.
It was a remarkable evening.