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 to those 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 a Federal law 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
- National Heritage Area
- Videos on NPS abuse of property owners
- Myth of “Willing Seller”
- Land Trusts
- Target: Maine – “Take it All”
- National Natural Landmarks
- Greenlining and LURC
- "Habitat" Restrictions
- Trashing the Economy – A National Environmentalist Agenda
- Condemnation & Relocation Act Gov. Acquisition Funding Entitlement
- Property Taxes
National Park Service Acquisition
Documentary: NPS 101: Cuyahoga National Recreation Area
- Video: For the Good of All
If you want to see the damage done to a community by NPS acquisition and condemnation (eminent domain), this is the place to start. For The Good Of All is the landmark PBS “Frontline” investigation with Jessica Savitch in 1983 of a typical National Park Service acquisition operation authorized and mandated by Congress to establish a new Federal park. According to NPS acquisition records the agency displaced over 100,000 people between 1960 and 1980 (see below).
This one is the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area in Ohio. The transcript of For the Good of All was entered into the Congressional Record by Sen. Steve Symms July 12, 1983 (p.18584, 3rd column).
The documentary shows the four-year struggle for survival by inholder communities facing land acquisition and condemnation. It follows the victims as they are interviewed throughout their fight to keep their homes and small businesses. It shows what finally happened to them, their families and their property.
Before the Federal legislation authorizing the park the people had been assured that they would not be forced out. As elsewhere nationwide, after the legislation passes and you see what is in it, it is too late — and the National Park Service interprets its mandate as exercising it authority to the maximum.
It is normally not possible to record this kind of arrogantly sustained abuse as it occurs, but this video does. It is at least one case in which the floodlights were on the National Park Service. This time NPS could not hide its arrogant abuse of real people behind the scenic props systematically invoked by its typical self marketing.
The systemic abuse did not stop when Frontline exposed NPS in 1983. The National Park Service and its boosters have never renounced or apologized for what they did; they only learned to be more politically sophisticated in pursuing agency expansion and undermining those opposing the abuse.
NPS's own 1992 internal Administrative History of the Cuyahoga NRA, produced ten years later to train NPS managers into the future, reveals the ongoing internal attitude in the agency.
Their History is astonishing and frightening in openly revealing how political the agency is, the hostility and contempt it has for those in its way, the lengths it goes to in smearing its enemies — and an unexpected connection to condemnation at Acadia National Park in Maine 35 years later.
Despite the public moral outrage at NPS after For the Good of All aired, a Cayuhoga NRA official praised first Superintendent Bill Birdsell's condemnations:“People were screaming about it, but had Bill not taken that aggressive posture on land acquisition, I am convinced that this park never would be what it is today. I for one have been really sick and tired of hearing Birdsell bashing because it is the thing to do. I think some day people, if they understand, will thank Bill Birdsell for that very aggressive stand that he took to get what he could get while the getting was good.”
The Administrative History reports in Chapter 9 on Land Acquisition:“[NPS Director] Whalen conceded he may have helped exacerbate the situation because he took a strong stand on using the power of condemnation, especially in western parks where property owners seemingly were 'jerking around' NPS.”
Chapter 11 on the rebellion reveals how NPS has engaged extensively in politics and the media to undermine and disrupt people opposing the condemnations, and how it learned to collaborate with its pressure group activists to promote NPS and distract public attention from the land acquisition:“[H]igh-visibility, special interest activities helped secure for NPS a positive image. Media coverage turned from heavily negative to predominantly positive as attention moved away from the land acquisition program."”
It favorably quotes an arrogant public letter from a park Advisory Commission member collaborating with NPS's drive to sacrifice property owners to “save” the mission:“The Homeowners [Association] like every other private interest group should have their story told but I am tired of hearing their lies rehashed again and again. The [Wall Street] Journal is well aware of the benefits millions of Americans will glean from the historic, scenic and natural treasures in the CVNRA. The public wants a park, they paid for a park, and by God they're going to get a park... The National Park Service is accomplishing an impossible dream in record time and in the best interest of the public. Park Superintendent Bill Birdsell will go down in history as the hardest working, most thoughtful and talented project manager the NPS ever had. The Valley has been saved; adverse development has been stopped and cleanup has begun.”
They don't say that in public while they are trying to get support for a new law giving them more acquisition authority.
Sheridan Steele, the NPS Management Assistant to Superintendent Birdsell, became Superintendent of Acadia National Park in Maine from 2003-2015 where he presided over condemnation to control and force out property owners there — His goal was to purge the park of all private property, which he derided as “holes”, to make the park “whole”.
Steele is credited by the Cuyahoga Administrative History with writing the Cuyahoga Land Acquisition Plan in 1980. Before being hired to assist Superintendent Birdsell with his acquisitions and politics, Steele had been an NPS political activist as Director of the Cuyahoga Valley Park Federation, a pressure group lobbying for the NPS takeover, and had lobbied for expanded boundaries to eliminate private homes “along the periphery” in view of the park and more.
There are variations on NPS power and tactics spanning a century, none good for land owners trapped in the way of the arrogant preservationist mission operating under the full power of the Federal government. Congress subsequently cut NPS funding curtailing the previous volume of National Park System new park expansion, but did not stop the arrogant agency abuse where it is given authority to pursue its obsessive mission above all else.
I have known people who were subjected to National Park Service abuse across the country over decades, and had to deal with the bureaucracy and its boosters myself in chilling encounters (including the National Natural Landmark program in Maine.)
Condemnations began at Acadia National Park in Maine in 1988 for the first time in 70 years. Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Friends of Acadia, and Roxanne Quimby, all advocates of new National Park Service takeovers, have helped the National Park Service (and Sheridan Steele) acquire inholdings under Federal condemnation threat ever since.
I accompanied an elderly woman, under condemnation for her small cottage at Cape Cod National Seashore, to the Washington offices of the NPS head of land acquistion, Willis Kriz, and chief of operations, Jack Morehead, who many years before were responsible for the Cuyahoga planned tragedy of indifferent cruelty, and much much more nationally.
I experienced first hand up close — too close — the chilling, arrogant bureaucratic mission psychology with stone–faced indifference to the human devastation they caused — that they and the agency stood for, and which the National Park Service still is. They said almost nothing in response to the woman's desperate pleas, but Morehead grunted matter of factly in a rare response to my question that they remove inholders because they think their very presence “makes it too hard for NPS manage”.
For the Good of All captures the abusive arrogance of a narcissistic agency and its boosters on their national “mission” that is sadly repeated, mostly kept hidden as the media fails or refuses to acknowledge or expose it. Civil rights and common decency are trampled under the Federal “mission”.
Documentary: Cuyahoga National Recreation Area
- Video: In Condemnation: The Cuyahoga Valley
11 minute filmstrip by Mark and Dan Jury in 1979 that won an amateur film award.
This short filmstrip was produced to begin to understand and show the huge problem of condemnation by the National Park Service and other land agencies across the country which had been raging for decades, mostly in silence, and which greatly accelerated in the 1970s.
Tens of thousands of families lost their homes, farms, small businesses and land to an explosion of NPS eminent domain abuses. The new administration and Congress finally began in the 1980s to curtail NPS acquisition funding, as documented in Ron Arnold's 1982 At the Eye of the Storm: James Watt and the Environmentalists see pp 31-32, 103-117. The National Park lobby planned to resume this wholesale abuse on a mass scale for five new national parks in Maine and other new parks across the country, and further expansions (including at Acadia), across the country in a campaign launched in 1988.
The short In Condemnation film shows in only 11 minutes the devastating NPS actions — along with capturing the stunned sadness, bitterness and despair in the faces of the victims, exacerbated by the shocked recognition of the inexplicable inability or unwillingness of anyone — officials, politicians, anyone — to stop let alone reverse the relentless injustice.
I have seen this live in the faces and voices of many others I have known. Everytime an NPS promoter glibly promotes a new or expanded park, or the agency, I see those faces and hear their voices. The tragedies, once seen, can never be ignored or forgotten. They are the human meaning of the NPS dogmatic “protect the resource” mentality as the ultimate commandment (but in the early promotions typically hidden behind the NPS lobbyists' marketing slogan “for the economy” — who's “economy”? — substituting for openly revealing what they intend to do with land acquisition).
The In Condemnation film was so successful that an additional hour and twenty minute documentary was made about the Cuyahoga Valley and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Areas. That full film is For All People, For All Time (linked to below), also produced and filmed by the Jury brothers.
PBS then created the PBS Frontline episode For The Good Of All with Jessica Savitch hosting the show. (Linked to above)
Parts of In Condemnation had previously been part of an NBC-TV Prime Time Sunday report by Jessica Savitch on December 16, 1979 on Federal land grabs including Cuyahoga NRA, Grand Teton National Park, and the Buffalo River National River (where thousands or rural people were removed).
Documentary: Cuyahoga Valley (OH) and Delaware Water Gap, (NJ,PA)
Video: FrontlinePBS For All People, For All Time
- Video begins with Cuyahoga NRA
- Begin segment on Delaware Water Gap at 58:10
- Conclusion of Cuyaghoga Valley at 1:07:39
For All People, For All Time is the original movie made by Mark and Dan Jury, following their short award-winning filmstrip. Jessica Savitch later produced the PBS Frontline documentary For the Good of All from the filming. (For All People, For All Time is 1 hour and 20 minutes; PBS For the Good of All is one hour. They share about 40 minutes of material on the Cuyahoga NRA, with different narration).
The Myth of the “Willing Seller”
The National Park Service has a century-old continuous history of using eminent domain to displace people. It and its supporters have an equally long history of broken promises telling people prior to establishment of a new area that they will not be forced out.
As a Federal agency the National Park Service automatically has the power of eminent domain wherever it is authorized for acquisition, unless condemnation is explicitly prohibited by Congress for a particular acquisition. A new acquisition authority that is narrowly described as only “not authorizing condemnation” allows the already generally authorized condemnation.
NPS eminent domain authority cannot be challenged in court, only the amount of payment can be argued by those who can afford the legal costs. NPS calls anyone who gives up and sells under the threat of condemnation rather than be taken to court a “willing seller”. NPS denies it is using condemnation where there is no court judment against the landowner who gives up.
Pressure groups, politicians and government agencies seeking to take over other people's property with a new government conservation area attempt to squash controversy by propagating the myth that they only buy from “willing sellers”, contrary to history. But property owners targeted for acquisition have no say in what will happen to them under a new or changing law governing a park. No one can guarantee safety over either the short or long term.
The National Park Service will buy from a willing seller, when it has one, to get its foot in the door for a new area or expansion (typically set up in advance such as through a land trust buying up land in anticipation). But it uses threats of condemnation to control land owners and has a nationwide policy to ultimately remove all inholders, over time and as soon as it can, including those in the way of relentless later expansion.
You are expected to believe “this time it's different”. It isn't. Like the old Peanuts comic strip in which Lucy annually fooled Charlie Brown into thinking she would let him kick the football, they make this false promise (or the appearance of a promise) over and over. Those making the promises have no authority to guarantee what the National Park Service will not do once in power. They get away with this pitch against the innocent too often, despite the long record of NPS coercion for a century.
Once NPS gets the legal authority to acquire property (or otherwise prevent access), the flippant reassurances employed to sell the innocent on the new park scheme are gone. The preservationist political elite does what it wants with its power to “protect” what it calls a “nationally significant” “resource” that used to be your private property. There is no recourse. NPS's only practical concern is avoiding too much bad publicity, which is typically done, when required, by squeezing more slowly out of the public view.
“Nationally significant” means that you don't matter compared with the assumed greater goal of the NPS mission. NPS interprets power granted by Congression as to be used to the maximum extent possible. Once they have the authority there is nothing the victim can do about it. No previous promises, reassurance, expectations, or anything else matters.
Once a property owner becomes an inholder inside a Congressional boundary, and often outside but in the way, the National Park Service will get the land, if not immediately under Congressional authority, then later after manipulation or changes to the park's governing law. See the Acadia examples below for the process in action. Those in more sparse rural areas with even less influence over fickle, changing politicians, are the most vulnerable.
- Concord Journal: NPS Chief of Land Acquistion says “willing seller” is “meaningless”
- "Parks, People, and Private Property: The National Park Service and Eminent Domain" , Hemmat, Steven A., Environmental Law, Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College, Vol. 16 No. 5 Summer 1986, pp935-961.
- Bo Thott of Cutler, ME did a survey of National Park Service Condemnation
- Appalachian Trail. Breen 2005 Congressional Testimony on 23 year battle to stop NPS from destroying Maine's Saddleback Ski Resort at the Appalachian Trail. At the National Trail (a “linear” National Park) condemnation was restricted to an average half mile wide; NPS lumped part of its unused average to try to remove the whole ski area.
- The Acadia Example. For decades (1916–1982) Acadia National Park was one of the few where condemnation was prohibited by Congress. State condemnation had been used to establish the initial park. But freedom from NPS condemnation is temporary, always subject to changing politics.
1982 legislation granted NPS condemnation authority for 1/4 acre where a fisherman lived in a small camp, an inholder within the half of the island of Isle Au Haut part of Acadia. The family, still believing there was no eminent domain authority, found out othewise in 1988 when NPS began condemnation. The land had been owned by the family for many generations since the original settlers.
In 1986 new Acadia boundary legislation resulted from twenty years of political “negotiation” in Washington. Property owners were led to believe there would be no condemnation but were stunned to find out the “compromise” gave the NPS lobby what it wanted: condemnation inside the new boundary. Only existing private residences could remain, provided they are kept substantially unchanged and with strict limits on landscaping; building even a single home is prohibited. The penalty is condemnation, used to control the owner.
Round Pond Inholders at Acadia. One example at Acadia, lasting through 2016, is the fate of inholders at Round Pond where the National Park Service unilaterally expanded its acquisition boundary.
- Downeast Coastal Press: At Acadia, Lust for More Land Is Encroaching on Rights of Property Owners 2006.
- Land Rights Letter: Preservationists Openly Promote Land Takings at Acadia, 1994, update 2006.
- In 2016 Acadia Got 13 more Inholdings at Round Pond and elsewhere through Land Trusts exploiting the National Park Service's condemnation threat and called a “gift” from Roxanne Quimby. Note how the National Park Service calls (2016) property owners trapped in the acquisition boundary expansion a “threat” for wanting to build on their own land, claimed to justify the takings. 2006, 2013, 2016.
[There is much more documentation on Acadia not yet posted here.]
Cape Cod Plan. The convoluted condemnation scheme in the 1986 Acadia acquisition boundary law is called the “Cape Cod Plan” after the Cape Cod National Seashore where a variant was first used in 1961. Exemption for limited use of existing homes is made retroactive, and unbuilt land may or may not be taken immediately. (At Cape Cod the National Park Service also took some homes supposed to be exempt, but later missed a few new ones for temporary lack of enough acquisition funding). Those giving up and selling under the threat are called “willing sellers”.
Advance political promises or misleading appearances of promises assuring no eminent domain, if honored at all in subsequent legislation for acquition authority, typically gloss over retroactive date restrictions for homes and the lack of protection against condemnation of both unbuilt land any any already existing, let alone future, commercial activity. If someone says they won't take “homes”, or “homes and land”, they aren't saying what they will take or land use prohibitions under this scheme.
The “Cape Cod Plan” is regarded by the NPS lobby as a political concession; even its very limited qualification on condemnation cannot be presumed in a new Federal area where the NPS lobby can politically get what it wants without the political concession.
Downeast Maine National Heritage Area
The latest threat is Federal legislation, US Senate bill S3932, for “resource protection” across a “Downeast Maine National Heritage Area” encompassing two counties — run by a network of unelected, unaccountable non-profit organizations installed and subsidized by the Federal governement in a politically privileged position.
Deceptively promoted as innocuous free money for tourism while pandering to “local traditions”, the sweeping Federal legislation that you are not expected to read S3932 (§ 5 & 6) establishes and subsidizes comprehensive central planning and coordination of broad greenline “resource protection”, i.e., which regards private property a public “resource”. The “protection” language has no limitations and applies regardless of property ownership. It extends across all of Washington and Hancock counties — the entire rural region from Acadia National Park to the Canadian border.
The quasi-government organization appointed itself as spokesman for the people of the region to establish a “comprehensive plan” subject to National Park Service approval and which employs all government agencies available. They call themselves an “overlay” over locally elected government “not a replacement”.
The Plan is required to include “recommendations for the role of the National Park Service” in the “protection”, i.e., expected to lead to a new National Park acquisition replacing private property, in addition to other “Federal, State and local programs”. Priority is required to promote and implement “actions, goals, and strategies” in the management plan, “including assisting units of government and others” to “protect resource values in the Heritage Area” in accordance with a still undisclosed inventory of privately owned “resources” targeted for “protection”.
- National Heritage Area Legislative Outline Summary
- National Heritage Area Analysis and Background
- Letter to editor Protecting Private Property Rights
Quoddy Tides, Machias Valley News Observer, Calais Advertiser Aug 2022
- Letter to editor Response to National Park Service Quoddy Tides Aug 26, 2022
- Sen. Angus King's March 31, 2022 press release for S3932 misrepresents the bill as “Federal financial investment”, omitting mention of the bill's requirement for sweeping acquisition and control of private property for “protection”. Vague appeals to “conservation” appear later, with no scope or means mentioned. No bill number is given.
- Sen. Angus King May 04, 2022 press release announcing Senate Commitee approval of the bill, with no bill number given. (Begins at paragraph 4 of the press release.) There is no public record of any hearings and most people still know nothing about the NHA or the legislation, which is misrepresented in the press release as “making the region eligible for additional federal investment and helping to drive economic activity”. King said the bill “passed out of committee as part of a larger, National Heritage Area package that will help streamline designation and authorization” No bill number is given for any such “streamline package” and the public Senate bill tracking system continues to show (as of Sept. 26) S3932 as still in Committee despite his actions.
- Sen. Angus King says he is an “activist chairman” of the Senate National Parks subcommittee (Sept. 27, 2021) who wants to create more parks (Sept. 7, 2021). “Maine is home to at least a couple of potential new national parks. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was recently called out by the chair of the senate subcommittee on National Parks — none other than Maine's own Angus King” (June 23, 2022). King introduced S.4784 on August 4, 2022, with no public warning, to expand the Monument by 50% through acquisition of 43,000 acres, trapping more inholders, in anticipation of a redesignated and much larger Maine Woods National Park. An unpublicized hearing for S.4784 was held on Sept. 1, with only invited advocates, including the National Park Service, who have been collaborating for years.
Anatomy of a Land Trust
July 13, 2022: “The Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) is one of the wealthiest and most politically powerful land trusts. It collaborates with state and Federal government agencies and funds and directs satellite trusts. It uses its financial and political clout to preserve land for the well–connected wealthy in southern Maine with tax deductions, while in rural Washington County it has arrogantly targeted entire regions of private property that it wants to take over with government control and acquisition.”
The Trust has actively exercised undue influence over government agencies to interfere with private sales of residential property that it wants to control, and collaborates with and influences National Park Service and National Refuge planning and expansion. It says it does not want its “‘landscape level’ conservation” “islanded by residential lots” where it has surrounded them, turning them into inholdings vulnerable to control and removal.
- Feb 26, 2010 What is the Maine Coast Heritage Trust? Updated Aug 21, 2022
History of a Land Trust – Origins of MCHT
- Aug 1991, updated July 15,2022:
Maine Coast Heritage Trust Insider Federal Planning Against Private Owners
- Downeast Coastal Press Nov. 18, 2003:
Anatomy of a Land Trust – The Maine Coast Heritage Trust
- April 28, 2008: Downeast Coastal Press April 28, 2008:
Land Trust Acquires 1,500 Acres along Bold Coast – Preservation, Anti–development Effort of Cutler–Trescott–Lubec Coast Dates to 1980s
- Posted July 16, 2022: Maine Coast Heritage Trust letter to State says they do not want inholders they surround: Homeowners “threaten Landscape level conservation islanded by residential lots”:
MCHT letter (by QRLT Alan Brooks) March 19, 2008 submitted in MCHT application for $1.5 million state subsidy
- Quoddy Tides May 9, 2008:
MCHT Land Lust is not “Protection”
- April 1991 posted July 16, 2022:
Maine Coast Heritage Trust Wants Federal Role for Entire Quoddy Region as National Landmark "Right people" not in charge locally.
“The MCHT report, entitled Roosevelt-Campobello International Park Threats Report, was written at the request of the NPS by Bruce Jacobson, then Executive Director of the MCHT. Jacobson wrote that his work ‘is a collection of data from all available sources and is intended as a reference document for resource managers and policymakers’”.
- Downeast Coastal Press June 20, 2006, posted Feb 26, 2010: There is a big history of National Park Service abuses of property owners at Acadia National Park, starting at its founding. The modern Acadia removal of inholders described in this article, spanning 30 years (through the Quimby 2016 “gift” described below) includes the role of land trusts as acquisition front for the National Park Service, buying land from private owners under threat of NPS condemnation. Round Pond is between the park and a residential area into which the park unilaterally expanded.
As the Bar Harbor Times put it: “No plan involving the protection of land for the public good can be implemented without pain and sacrifice.”
- Downeast Coastal Press: At Acadia, Lust for More Land Is Encroaching on Rights of Property Owners 2006.
- Land Rights Letter: Preservationists Openly Promote Land Takings at Acadia, 1994, update 2006.
- May 27, 2013 posted July 20, 2022: Policy for Removal of Inholders at Acadia and nationally
Wealthy preservatationist Roxanne Quimby's non-profit corporation acquired tens of thousands of acres in the Maine Woods to transfer to the National Park Service as a means to buy her desired public policy politically imposing Federal control in the Maine Woods. The disconnected tracts surrounded some 60 inholders targeted for later removal in accordance with anti-inholder policy of the National Park Service and its boosters.
Quimby also collaborates with the Acadia National Park Superintendent to buy property from inholders trapped by the 1986 Acadia boundary expansion that subjected them to condemnation if they try to use their land.
Quimby's personal connections with the National Park Service and its lobby led to her appointment by Barack Obama to the Congressionally authorized and funded National Park Foundation
Quimby's endorsement and participation in the policy for forced removal of inholders, in the name of a “gift”, appeared on her non-profit Eliot Plantation Inc website keepmebeautiful.org in January 2012. When in April 2013 her public endorsement of the removal policy was discovered and denounced during her continuing drive to establish a new National Park in the Maine Woods, she removed the anti-inholder goal from her web page to try to reduce controversy over the threat, but it had been archived:“National Park Acquisitions
After “initial land acquisitions in northern Maine, Roxanne recognized the need to eliminate private inholdings within the boundaries of Maines coastal Acadia National Park. Such inholdings permit development that jeopardizes the Parks natural and wild characteristics and can impair viewsheds and habitat. Starting in 2005, Roxanne began working with Acadias Superintendent to identify and acquire critical parcels within the Parks boundaries. One of the smallest national parks in the country, Acadia has the highest amount of visitors per acre. The value of an additional acre added to the Park is thus very high. Initial acquisitions in Acadia have launched her efforts to acquire inholdings in other national parks all across the country and gift them to the National Park Service on the 100th Anniversary of its creation in 2016.”
- July 16, 2022: Maine Coast Heritage Trust Corporate Finances
From IRS Non-Profit Form 990 for 2019 (latest available)
- Total assets $242,373,719
- Compensation of “non-profit” President $174,841
- Gross annual receipts: $31,745,761
- Unrelated business revenue $38,671
- Grants & contribution income $27,114,178
- Investment income $2,023,401
- Salaries paid $4,720,754
- Fundraising expenses $82,250
- Net annual revenue $20,339,974
“The idea of a private land trust – a private organization owning and maintaining scenic or wildlife areas – sounds appealing on the surface, and in principle could be in a free society with protection of property rights. The reality today is the opposite. Almost all land trusts are highly politicized organizations run by ideological, anti-development environmentalist activists collaborating with government agencies for control. They seek social controls that undermine and destroy the private economy and the rights of property owners ...”
- Background on Land Trusts: Anatomy of a Land Trust – The Concept
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.
- Downeast Coastal Press: Feudalist Kingdom December 9, 2003
- Big Plans
- A Long Term Campaign is Organized and Funded
- Down with Civilization Restore the Entire Northeast
Targeting Maine played a prominent role in this series on national strategic funding aimed at government takeovers of private property.
- EGA – Funding the Anti-Industrial Revolution – Fly on the Wall in the War Room.
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.
- Obama's “All Lands” plan for Maine: Keeping Maine's Forests Federal Plan June 28, 2010
Viro Park and Greenline activists who became state officials under Governor Baldacci have collaborated with the Obama administration, other viro activist groups, and beleagured industrial property owners to arrange for massive new government funding and eco land use controls over 12 million acres of rural Maine targeted for elimination of private property rights.
The plan is in part a temporary Federally funded bailout of large landowners who are losing their rights under regulatory takings and ceaseless pressure from wealthy, politically well–connected activist groups engaged in a strategy of economic strangulation of private industry, business and home owners who try to use their own land.
In exchange for the bailout of large landowners the plan calls for escalation of centralized eco–control and Greenline land use planning, and ultimately hundreds of millions of dollars or more of Federal funds to be granted to the politically privileged viros as they buy or otherwise control the land for ecological purposes and to prohibit non “forest” uses.
The plan proclaims itself to be a “bold initiative to advance national conservation goals” and that the land is a “resource of national and global importance”, which means that property rights are considered irrelevant as anything but a temporary nuisance.
The targeted 12 million acre region extends from the downeast coast of Maine to the western border with New Hampshire, and engulphs all property owners and businesses whether they acquiesce to the scheme or not. The report claims consensus, but opponents of the concept were excluded from the “negotiations”, which were arranged within a so–called “Steering Committee” of selected participants.
The “Steering Committee” group met in secret and has no authority to represent anyone. The plan would literally change the form of government over most of Maine as it imposes social controls through the elimination of the freedom made possible by private property rights and the private economy, replacing them with severe eco-restrictions and manipulation through Federal money.
The report makes it clear that a major goal is to “connect” areas already taken over for “conservation” and that viros envision fee acquisition of large areas called “high value” to “to protect the public's interest”, which to them can and does mean everything they can get. The report calls acquisitions, in the contemporary rhetoric of government, “investments”
The report omits details on how government money and restrictions will be managed and used under what regulations for long term coercion, and what agencies will own and manage the land and the next round of easements and enforce land use prohibitions. It employs the typical rhetoric of “protection” to mean controling use of someone else's private property, and of “encouraging local and regional planning efforts that identify appropriate locations for future economic developmet and areas of high conservation need” – which means Greenline controls.
Viro activists openly promoted Greenlining at the beginning of their National park and wilderness campaign in the 1980s, citing the Columbia Gorge and the Adirondacks as “models” for Maine, but stopped using the term “Greenline” when residents of those areas began speaking out in Maine about what had been done to them through acquisition and land use controls despite the utopian promises originally used to sell the scheme.
“Compromises” with viros always mean that they take what they can get and come back for the rest later, and such is the nature of this scheme and the previous “Forest Legacy Progam” for Federal funding of state-held “easements“ arising from the Northern Forests Lands Council in the early 1990s. Large landowners decided then that if they were going to lose their property rights to ongoing, escalating regulatory takings by the state on behalf of the viros, then they might as well be paid for it. In order to head off further financial losses they agreed to the pretense of selling “easements” as “willing sellers”, relinguishing most control over affected nominally private land to the viros and the state.
Now, following bruising anti-development campaigns and smelling opportunity in the sympathetic Obama administration government, the viros have escalated their Northern Forests Lands campaign once again on their way to a complete government takeover; they want to connect the pieces they have already assembled and implement a quasi-government bureaucracy dominated by viros and funded by the Federal government to plan and acquire millions more acres of private property across entire “landscapes”, eradicating rural private property rights for all time. This is part of Obama's NPS “Treasured Landscape” and USFS “All Lands” agenda for acquisition and control of rural private property on a massive scale.
“Pilot” programs – as if the viros don't know exactly where they are going with permanent widespread control – target regions of Maine that were fingered in 1988 for five massive new National Park Service takeovers, which scheme failed but remains an ultimate political goal of the viros. With arrogant Alice in Wonderland understatement the report admits that “not all landowners in the demonstration landscapes have expressed interest in taking advantage of potential conservation or stewardship options”.
The plan pays lip service to the forest industry economy while seeking to impose a form of eco-fascism – in its literal meaning of allowing some property to be nominally in private ownership but controlled by government, in this case for eco preservationist purposes. The report employs the usual rhetoric of “public-private partnership”, as if such a “partnership” between the private sector and government coercive power could mean anything other than government control guaranteed over time to destroy the private economy and eradicate private property rights as control is increasingly transferred to eco-bureaucracy.
- Maine Property Rights News Alert August 8, 2010: ALRA: Concord, NH, Obama's Great Outdoors Land Grab Meeting Mon. Aug 9
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.’”
- Downeast Coastal Press: Feudalist Kingdom December 9, 2003
- Wealthy Activists Push to Create National Park in Maine Woods Nov 2, 2015 Posted July 13, 2022
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.
- Obama's Monument Decree in the Maine Woods Oct 9, 2016 Posted July 13, 2022
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:
- MP3 audio recording of full hearing 1:44:45, Augusta, March 25, 2014
- MP3 audio recording of work session 0:55:18, Augusta, March 26, 2014
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.
- May 14, 2008: Morning Sentinel: What's Best For Those Who Own, Use Wild Maine Woods?
- May 13, 2008: Downeast Coastal Press: Down–Easters Fault LURC's Proposed Land–Use Plan Revision — Concerns Raised over Vague Terminology, Lack of Focus on Development — County Commissioners Opposed, Citing Anti–Democratic Process
- May 8, 2008: Washington County Commissioners: Written Testimony to LURC On 2008 Land Use Plan (pdf)
- April 25, 2008: Bangor Daily News: LURC Gathering Public Comments On Its Vision for Maine's North Woods — Objections at the Fort Kent LURC hearing
- March 20, 2008: Downeast Coastal Press: “Anti–Sprawl” and the assault on private property in Maine's Unorganized Territories: One Neck For One Leash — The "anti-sprawl" campaign begun by the Sierra Club in the 1990's continues to illustrate the Greenline mentality as it ruthlessly denounces those who live in rural areas.
- March 10, 2008: Bangor Daily News: Tom McCormick: Conservation Groups Wield Too Much Power
- Feb 6, 2008: Machias Valley News Observer: Big Changes to Invade Unorganized Territories
These two articles from Land Rights Letter describe the basic issues in the Greenline agenda:
- May 1992: Land Rights Letter: “What is Greenlining?”
- May 1992: Land Rights Letter: Preservationists Launch New Federal Agenda For Land Use Controls — on “American Heritage Landscapes”: National Park Service concept paper calling for a system of Greenline parks in the name of “Heritage Areas”, with the National Park Service in charge.
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:
- Testimony on S.2543 presented to Congress by R. J. Smith, Competitive Enterprise Institute, June 24, 2004. (PDF file 48K) “[I]n spite of assurances and wording to the contrary, we view this as nothing more than a continued attack on the very institution of private property...”
- Text of S.2543 “National Heritage Partnership Act”, as introduced June 17, 2004 (PDF file 64K)
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:
- Downeast Coastal Press: State Agencies, Environmental Groups Collaborate on 'Beginning with Habitat' Advocacy Program – October 7, 2003.
- Downeast Coastal Press: Cleaves column denounces “habitat” agenda as landgrab – October 14, 2003
- Downeast Coastal Press: Guest column by local Chamber of Commerce(!) president Mike McCabe, owner of the Puffin Pines, promotes “habitat” land-takings – October 21, 2003
- Downeast Coastal Press: Letter to editor dissects “habitat” promotion (by Erich Veyhl) – October 28, 2003
- First public meeting on ‘bird habitat’ land takings
- April 15, 2007: MP3 audio recording of full meeting 1 hr 16 min, Lubec, August 31, 2006
- Quoddy Tides, September 8, 2006 (pdf)
- Downeast Coastal Press: DEP and viros move to take over residential shoreland as “significant habitat” (by Erich Veyhl) – September 19, 2006
- Downeast Coastal Press: Addison Selectmen's meeting discusses new DEP viro “habitat” controls – September 19, 2006
- April 15, 2007: Downeast Coastal Press: Landowners Slam New Coastal Building Curbs in Addison, Machias Meetings – October 3, 2006
- March 22, 2007: Downeast Coastal Press: Guest Editorial: How the perpetrators of the controversial ‘bird habitat’ takings scrambled before the election to blame their opponents (by Erich Veyhl) – October 24, 2006
- March 23, 2007: The human cost of ‘bird habitat’ takings Downeast Coastal Press: An open letter from a Lubec property owner whose land has been taken for ‘bird habitat’ since July, 2006 – October 31, 2006
- March 21, 2007: Downeast Coastal Press: DEP rules expand to control homeowners in “significant habitat” (by Erich Veyhl) – November 7, 2006
- March 21, 2007: Downeast Coastal Press: Governor promises to “listen carefully” (before the election) – November 7, 2006
- Feb 13, 2007: Downeast Coastal Press: Anatomy of A Con: More Sophistry for “Habitat” Takings — Dissects Bangor Daily News promotion of State takeovers of private property. (by Erich Veyhl) – February 13, 2007
- Mar 11, 2007: Downeast Coastal Press: The Fix Is In (by Erich Veyhl): — Dissects Maine DEP Commissioner's op–ed promoting the new state controls over private property for ‘habitat’ – March 6, 2007
- April 16, 2007: Downeast Coastal Press: Hearings Scheduled on Revisions to “Habitat” Land-Use Prohbitions — includes summary of bills under consideration and a statement by Sen. Kevin Raye (R-Perry) – April 3, 2007
- Apr 11, 2007: Full Recording of the State Legislature Natural Resources Committee Hearings on Proposed revisions to bird habitat land use prohibitions – April 10, 2007
- April 18, 2007: Downeast Coastal Press: Down-Easters Testify in Augusta Against Restrictive “Shorebird Habitat” Law – April 17, 2007
- April 18, 2007: Downeast Coastal Press: Norman Hunt Finds Himself Fighting for Much More than Lubec Retirement Home – April 17, 2007. The first case to come under the new ‘bird habitat’ permit requirements.
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...
- EGA – Funding the Anti-Industrial Revolution – Fly on the Wall in the War Room. Expanded 6/15/05 to full Land Rights Letter series.
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.
- Blackout Aug. 22, 2003
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.
- Assault at Round Pond – an exercise in power. June 20, 2006:
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”.
- Legal Analysis of the 1999 Senate CARA bill
- “Conservation” Bared: Letter to the Other Maine
- “No Strings Attached”
- Sierra Club: “Green, bold and not the all-too-usual half-loaf”
- Legal Analysis of the CARA Threat to Property Rights
- Congressional Research Service Comparison of CARA Bills
- Property Rights in CRS Comparison of CARA Bills
- CARA Would Reduce the Local Tax Base
- The Arrogance of CARA
- American Land Rights Association CARA home page
- American Land Rights Association CARA Background Resources Material
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”).
- Downeast Coastal Press: Putting Envy into the Constitution January 28, 2005
- Downeast Coastal Press: For Some, Tax “Reform” Equals Tax Discrimination January 7, 2005
- Downeast Coastal Press: Taxing property owners in the name of soaking “tourists” April 24, 2004
- Comments on USA Today news item: Eminent Domain, Property Taxes and Cannibals for the “Public Good” April 24, 2004
Last Page Update: 01/20/23