Jul 13, 2011

Coastal Mountains Land Trust outrage: NGO agrees to join in gutting five acre Goose River headwaters forest for skate skiers

Outrage is indeed coming from every quarter at news that Maine's Coastal Mountains Land Trust proposes to go along with a forest fragmenting plan hatched by the town of Camden, to install a competition two mile  "skate ski" track in a thickly wooded pocket valley, where today moose and bears prowl unhindered by man..  Here's  an update, followed by what you can do.

The project would gut a five acre thickly forested headwaters valley on Ragged Mountain's northeast slope, to cram a 16 foot wide two mile long "skate-skiing" track  with numerous hairpin turnings along witt support facilities on lush wild forest land that is part owned by Coastal Mountains Land Trust and partly by the Town of Camden.  

The state of Maine considers this location to be an Area of Statewide Ecological Significance  due to its unusually rich concentrations of at-risk species and habitats co-occuring on the landscape. .See state report on ecological significance of Ragged & Bald Mountain. The Goose River connects Ragged Mountain (via Hosmer Pond) with Rockport Harbor. With Penobscot Bay  and the Gulf of Maine. For more photographs and maps of the threatened area, click here  

Coastal Mountains Land Trust will make the whole mess possible by letting the "multi use trail" be cleared bulldozed and culverted in part through their "protected" land on Ragged Mountain. See MAP 1.

Why? Because just after passing through the land trust property, the trail would reach its high point, back again on town of Camden property and rejoined to the Camden Snowbowl Resort. There, the town proposes a major septic field and what appears to be half a dozen potential structures   See rectangles in upper part of  MAP 2.   In return, CMLT get to connect their own separate hiking trail directly to the Camden Snow Bowl's planned hi speed ski track.  In summer, the trail, like other Snowbowl trails, would be opened to hikers and unleashed dogs, which will inevitably drive away the bears, moose, foxes deer and other wildlife from a now-fragmented forest.

 WHAT YOU CAN DO.   Read this summary of issues (pdf). then do two things:

1. Ask Coastal Mountains Land Trust to pull out of the deal, or else make public their reason for supporting this destructive project. CMLT should also make public  its dealings with the anonymous donor and others surrounding this plan. Contact Scot Dickerson or Kristen Lindquist at CMLT by email:  info AT coastalmountains.org. Or by phone 207-236-7091.

2. Ask the Camden Planning Board to reject the plan. On July 20, 2011, the Camden Planning Board is going to consider this plan at its evening meeting,  then vote on whether to approve it, disapprove it, or table it pending more information.  Let them know what you think.  Is fragmenting such a large and irreplaceable coastal mountain forest worth it? Who or what is the anonymous funding interest promoting this skate-ski development in such a fragile place?   Turning the headwaters of the Goose River into a septic field is an insult to Rockport.  Rockport citizens should be outraged that their headwaters of their river be defiled so casually by the town of Camden.
Postal mailing address is Chair, Planning Board, Camden Town Office,PO Box 1207, Camden, Maine 04843  Or Email your information to Chris MacLean, chair of the Camden Planning Board.   

Either way, ask Chris to send copies around to the planning board members. Be brief and to the  point - an irreplaceable steeply sloping natural forested wetlands-rich valley full of interior dwelling bird habitat in the Camden Hills should not be fragmented and disturbed for a speculative recreational activity. Especially one being promoted by an outside apparently anonymous interest. Camden should conserve its irreplaceable natural resources. 
That's it. Send this to a friend and ask them too to leave the town of Camden's natural forested headwaters of the Goose River alone.


Anonymous said...

How many times do we have to relearn the same old lesson....YOU CAN'T TRUST THE LAND TRUSTS.....They are a business and exist to make $$$....we shouldn't let their environmentalist clothing fool us......This sellout by CMLT resembles their pushing the division of Sears Island...but at least you know they are consistent...if a port is appropriate for sears island...why isn't a skate-skiing trail appropriate for Ragged Mountain....This land trust believes in developing special places for special people....the rich...nothing new here....

Ron Huber said...

Went to the camden snowbowl meeting . Great folks - happy skiers and hikers and trail bikers, but as far as wildlife goes, the attitude seemed to be: the wild can go move somewhere else. There's lots of natural land around Camden. (Isn't that what early Euro colonists told the Indians - move out, we want the land you live on. Plenty of space elsewhere.)

Publisher, Wild Maine Times said...

For a particularly intelligent essay on the perfidy of many of the U.S. environmental institutions, check out Johann Hari's piece in The Nation March 4, 2010 http://www.thenation.com/article/wrong-kind-green

Soulless careerists like Scott Dickerson -- arrogant, holier than thou and thoroughly spineless -- are at the heart of this rot. They betray those who would be their allies, well earning the appellation of Quisling. Even the ignorant Tea Party types sold by corporate power into mindlessly despising "treehuggers" are not off the mark when they identify the hypocrisy and class contempt demonstrated by people like Dickerson.

It would perhaps be more helpful to adopt a medieval mindset when considering the contemptible two-facedness of Dickerson and so many of his fellow green careerists. Think of him not as a stalwart defender of the environment but rather as the steward of one of the King's deer parks. He's there to ensure the King and his nobles have an exclusive place to hunt -- down to the last animal if necessary. And if the King and his nobles have decided this season to take up skate-skiing, why then it is the steward's job to clear the way.

Peter Taber
Wild Maine Times

Ron Huber said...

Peter wrote:
"Dickerson and so many of his fellow green careerists. Think of him not as a stalwart defender of the environment but rather as the steward of one of the King's deer parks."

Pricelessly dead on!