Maine Promoted as "Building Block"
for National Wilderness Hit List

by Erich Veyhl

Liberty Matters News Service and As Maine Goes 7/16/99

The Wilderness Society has released it's annual national list of targets for Federal acquisitions on behalf of the national green lobby. Prominently added this year is most of the state of Maine, claimed to be "endangered" because private property ownership allows owners to sell their land to new private owners.

The Wilderness Society annually promotes its priority acquisition targets as "endangered wildlands" in order to cajole the public into believing that a "public value" is "threatened", that there are no legitimate private property interests or economic production involved, and that Federal action is therefore "required" to solve the invented problem. The prime "arguments" are emotionally appealing scenic photographs and the usual semi-poetic environmentalist rhetoric carefully sidestepping the facts -- from how the land is actually being managed and used to what would happen to the rights and values of the victims should the greens succeed in their takeover.

In past years newspapers around the country have repeated the Wilderness Society promotions as "news" with no mention of the opposition to its "wilderness" assault on private property and civilization. This year's release is intended to further promote on a national level a green/government takeover of the privately owned land in Maine. They are looking for votes in Congress to override local opposition.

Last year's promotion of "endangered" lands targeted the "Western Mountains" in Somerset County, Maine. This year's national promotion expands the target to most of privately owned rural Maine from the Atlantic coast to the New Hampshire border. "Maine's North Woods", says the press release, "comprise more than half of the 26-million-acre Northern Forest, stretching from Maine across New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York's Adirondacks to the Tug Hill region."

The Wilderness Society press release on Maine emphasizes a call for "revitalization" of Federal funding for land acquisition (meaning the new Federal acquisition entitlement "Trust Fund" now working its way through Congress) and reveals, "if Congress were to start using all the money in this fund ... the impact on land protection, from New England to Hawaii, would be enormous."

The Washington, DC organization's promotion further reveals, "Our number-one goal is to create a network of wild places for our children and grandchildren, and lands in Maine's North Woods are important building blocks in that grand plan."

The promotion says that the greens are "heartened by the level of support from members of Congress representing New England."

At a 1990 environmentalist meeting at Tuft's University in Massachusetts discussing strategy for taking over northern New England (and not intended for public consumption), the Northeast Regional Director of the Wilderness Society, Michael Kellet (now head of RESTORE: the North Woods), extemporized on the green goals for a sweeping takeover of private property and the political importance of the appearance of local support to pull it off:

"Since we're talking about strategy here I think we -- there's a delicate balance here -- I think it's likely this will all end up [26 million acres from the coast of Maine to New York], most of this will end up being public land, not by taking away, but that will probably be really the only alternative, but until people -- if that is the case, until we work that through and find that that is, and a large proportion of the people up there agree, I think we're setting ourselves up for another Ancient Forest [Pacific Northwest] kind of situation where people are perceived as coming in and forcing their ideas and values on other, on people. Regardless of whether they're good ideas or not, I think we've got to bring people along to the point where at least we've got people up there."

So despite the continuing widespread opposition to the environmentalist lobby's plans to "re-wild" Maine by eliminating private property and the private economy, the recent Wilderness Society promotion claims to represent "local" interests. It applauds Gov. Angus King and the Maine Legislature for putting a $50 million land acquisition bond on the Nov. ballot, but its "Maine Woods Champion" poster-viro is radical environmentalist Jim Glavine, described only as "a selectman in Beaver Cove who owns Beaver Cove Camps on Moosehead Lake."

Glavine is quoted elsewhere in the background material as supporting large-scale public acquisition and powerful green organizations including the Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy and the New England Forestry Foundation. He advocates that "much remains to be done both in this region [western, central and northern Maine] and in places such as Downeast Maine" -- where environmentalist land grabs have been fought for years.

The Federal entitlement program establishing a new "Trust Fund" for expanded Federally funded land acquisition is planned to be voted out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this month, ignoring previous committee promises for further hearings. The Senate hearings to date have been deliberately stacked by the committee chairman with proponents of the new guaranteed funding. The Trust Fund, if established, will provide perpetual, automatic, off-budget funding for land acquisition eventually exceeding a billion dollars a year, all immune from future Congressional budget appropriations.

The greens are ecstatic about the prospects and the fact that the political process in Washington is rigged in their favor. Both the Clinton-Gore administration and national environmentalist organizations such as the Sierra Club have made it clear that Maine is a prime target for the acquisitions.

Maine Senator Susan Collins has said she will not co-sponsor the bill, but has not indicated a willingness to oppose it. Sen. Olympia Snowe has not stated where she stands.

The Wilderness Society national promotion was timed to create a national public misperception of a need for such guaranteed perpetual funding to save "endangered lands". But the promotion is only one step in a long term strategy to take over and "re-wild" most of Maine and other rural parts of the country into a "wilderness network" as part of what writers such as Ayn Rand have identified as the environmentalists' "Anti-Industrial Revolution." The Wilderness Society's "grand plan" plays well with city-dwellers who think their own standard of living is secure, like to think about the scenery somewhere else, and don't realize they are hurting people and the natural resource base of the economy. Environmentalists, driven by their anti-humanity ideology, of course don't care about that.