The Maine North Woods is the northern geographic area of the state of Maine in the United States.Folks,
It covers more than 3.5 million acres (14,000 km²) of top forest land in north-western Maine. It includes western Aroostook and northern Somerset, Penobscot, and Piscataquis counties. Much of the woods is currently owned by the timber corporations, including Seven Islands Land Company, Plum Creek, Maibec, Orion Timberlands and Irving timber corporations. Ownership changes hands quite frequently and is often difficult to determine.
Its main products are timber for pulp and lumber, as well as a thriving hunting and outdoor recreation economy.
Included within its boundaries are two of the most famous wild rivers of the Northeastern United States: the St. John and the Allagash. The North Maine Woods completely surrounds thr Allagash Wilderness Waterway.
The Maine North Woods are predominantly forestland consisting of mixed northern hardwoods and conifers, much of it artificially planted after harvesting by the various landowners. The major tree species are sugar maple, American beech. balsam fir, quaking aspen, Northern white cedar, red spruce, white spruce, black spruce, yellow birch, paper birch, and Eastern white pine. The area is also home to white-tailed dear, moose, black bears, bobcat, coyotes, red fox, fisher, otter, mink, marten, weasel, beavers, porcupine, muskrat, red squirrel, Snowshoe Hare, ruffed grouse, Spruce Grouse, loons and gray jays. There are official hunting seasons for the grouse, deer and bears, with a state-run lottery system for awarding moose-hunting licences. Char including squaretail, togue, and isolated populations of blueback trout are the best known fish of the rivers and lakes. Black fly, mosquito, deer fly and midge populations can be significant from late spring through early autumn. The Maine North Woods are also home to the endangered Canada lynx, bald eagle and the Furbish lousewort, a rare plant that is found only in the St. John river valley. Animals which have disappeared from the woods during European settlement include caribou and gray wolf. Status of the cougar is uncertain.
Early 19th century logging of the Maine north woods employed native Maliseet, English settlers from the Atlantic coast, French Canadians from the Saint Lawrence River valley, and some unskilled laborers recruited from large eastern cities. Unique mythology evolved in the remote logging camps from hazing new employees or attempts by competing groups to dominate the resource extraction labor market. Two birds held special significance. The relatively tame gray jays would follow loggers through the woods in the hope of stealing unwatched food, but were not harmed because they were believed to be the spirits of deceased woodsmen. Some French Canadians would quit work if a white owl was seen flying from a tree they were felling, for they believed it was a ghost who would haunt them unless they left that part of the woods.
Mythical creatures of the north woods:
* Razor-shins was an immortal humanoid with sharp shin bones and a thirst for liquor in the prohibition state of Maine. New employees were encouraged to leave a jug of Nagor whiskey outside of the camp door on the night of the full moon. If razor-shins emptied the jug by morning, he might use his razor-sharp shinbones to fell a tree for the new man. But there were tales of new employees caught in the woods by razor-shins and scalped or otherwise mutilated after failing to offer the customary tribute.
* Will-am-alones were squirrel-like creatures said to roll poisonous lichen into small balls and drop them onto the eyelids or into the ears of sleeping men. The lichen balls were reputed to cause headaches and visual hallucinations the following day. The effects seemed most evident among men who had consumed illegal liquor.
* Windigo (or "Indian devil") was described as a huge, shadowy humanoid with a voice like the moaning of the wind through the pine boughs, but known only by his tracks through the snow. Each footprint was 24 inches (60 cm) long and resembled a snowshoe imprint with a red spot in the center where blood had oozed through a hole in his moccasin. Some feared to cross his tracks and claimed looking upon Windigo would seal their doom.
* Ding-ball was a cougar whose last tail joint was ball-shaped and bare of hair and flesh. Ding-ball was fond of human flesh and would sing with a human voice to lure the incautious out of their cabins at night where it waited in the darkness to crack their skulls with its tail.
Americans for a Maine Woods National Park, an interest group that includes scientists, educators, environmentalists and celebrities, is pushing to turn a as much as 3.2 million acres (13,000 km²), an area larger than Yellowstone and Yosemite combined, into a national park.
The proposed park is very controversial among residents within or adjacent to the park's proposed borders. Many fear the dislocation of traditional industries and recreational activities as a result of a park's creation. The County Commissions from Aroostook, Piscataquis, and Somerset have voted to oppose efforts to create a park. They are joined by Maine's Congressional delegation, its governor and legislature. A local group, the Maine Woods Coalition, was organized to oppose the effort. -- Wikipedia.
I received the description below from the Old Guide a recent National Park Service "listening" conclave about a proposed federal takeover of northern Maine.
The Feds came to Maine to "listen". They want to take over much of Maine for a new North Woods National Park. They lined up a whole bunch of environmental groups to testify in favor of it. A few of we property rights advocates infiltrated the session and were actually scheduled to testify.
I was one of the first to arrive about 1:45 and one of the last to leave. At the end I was surrounded by three top officials from the Obama administration who wanted to hear what I had to say because there were so few landowner advocates in Bangor. I was able to expand on what I said in my prepared remarks. There were five break-out sessions. (Divide and conquer.) I was in the "grey room" as determined by the color of our folders when we checked in. There were 35 people in the room to testify and five feds up front. I was the ONLY advocate for private landowners in the room! Years ago we called that a target rich environment. I did not seek to lead off with my presentation. I waited until the guy from RESTORE gave his presentation. When I gave mine I thought the RESTORE guy and Ted Koffman of Maine Audubon were going to bust a blood vessel.
Old Guide's presentation:
Federal "Listening Session"
September 2, 2010
The Old Guide
Welcome to Maine. Your announcement said you come to listen. Thank you for your time.
• What Works? – Please share your thoughts and ideas on effective strategies for conservation, recreation, and reconnecting people to the outdoors?
You ask what works. Private ownership works. The reason the environmental industry likes Maine so much is that we private landowners have taken such good care of it for the last four centuries. We are still taking good care of it. However, in my lifetime we have lost great amounts of freedom. We used to be able to build a boathouse IN the lake. Boathouses didn't hurt the lakes at all and the fishing was better. We had a spruce budworm epidemic a quarter century ago. We needed to salvage large amounts of dead and dying trees. The environmental industry used that as an opportunity to attack Maine's landowners, large and small. A photo appeared in our newspapers showing a vast clear cut. The photo was taken in Siberia. It leads penthouse environmentalists in Boston to think our forests are gone.
In 1940 Maine had about 6,250,000 acres of pasture and cultivated ground. Today we have just over a million. In my lifetime Maine has gained an average of 77,000 acres a year of forest. Yes, gained. That is over three townships every year. Our forests are not gone. Those who say we are losing our forests simply lie or are ignorant of the truth. Our forests are not "fragmented". We don't need "wolf routes" to reconnect our forests. The addition of three townships of forest each year has created a huge contiguous forest and the greatest new carbon sequestration in the world. We private landowners did that.
• Challenges – What obstacles exist to achieve your goals for conservation, recreation, or reconnecting people to the outdoors?
The obstacles are many, but the biggest obstacle we face is LURC and the rules they invent. No other state has over half its land governed by an unelected bunch of state functionaries, accountable to no-one. We don't get to vote on these people or the rules they dream up to control us. They just impose them.
You folks are all high enough in the administration to realize there are preparations and contingency plans being made in the event of civil strife in our country. Just last Sunday your boss, President Obama spoke to the people of New Orleans and honored them for their perseverance. We too have persevered. We have been under a regime of discrimination, oppression and rural cleansing for four decades. Just prior to April 19,1775 the Crown imposed such rules on Americans. Those rules were called "The Intolerable Acts". Our forefathers fought a war over them. Now, 235 years later, we have new intolerable acts. At a state level listening session an employee of LURC asked if I thought we could experience civil strife in our country. He was too young to remember Detroit, South Watts and Atlanta in 1968. I answered him with a question; If we did have civil strife in Maine, where would the members of LURC go? I say these things because I was born before WWII and actually remember freedom. We want it back. We are Americans. WILL persevere.
• Tools – What additional tools and resources would help your efforts be even more successful?
Everybody likes clean air and clean water. Those are not issues. The real issue in Maine is a vicious agenda of rural cleansing. The tools and resources we could use are a state government that encourages economic growth instead of stifling growth. Economic growth brings prosperity. The environmental industry calls growth something else. They call it sprawl. They don't like growth or prosperity.
• Federal Government Role – How can the federal government be a more effective partner in helping to achieve conservation, recreation and reconnecting people to the outdoors?
We don't need to be reconnected to the outdoors. We are an outdoor people and have been connected to the outdoors all our lives - for many generations. We could, however, use a little help building more recreational trails for snowmobiles and ATVs. They are an important part of our economy since so much manufacturing has left and the recreational sector could use a little stimulus money. It's our money after all. Aside from that we don't need any federal involvement. Oh, and we'd like the piece of the White Mountain National Forest in Maine back. You could auction it off and use the proceeds for snowmobile and ATV trails.
Remember who we are. We are freedom loving Americans. Many of us have fought for freedom in several countries. As Lord Percy said in his report back to England after the battles of Lexington and Concord, "They are wise in the ways of the woods and they know what they are about." We still know what we are about today. We know who you are. Remember who we are, freedom loving Americans. It is in your best interest.
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We have been led down the road by the environmental industry for years and following Chairman Mao's tenets of two steps forward, one step back. We are supposed to be thankful when they don't take as much from us as they first threatened. That is the behavior of a childish fraternity pledge. not a freedom-loving American.
I don't buy into that. You should have seen the shock when I advocated building boathouses in the lakes and when I said we wanted that portion of the White Mountain National Forest in Maine back. Those comments were what made the administration leaders want to talk with me in the lobby when it was all over. I guess the small bunch at the New Hampshire session ten days ago was more docile.
I tell you, there were 15 people on the opposite side of the large round table across from my side and I made eye contact with most. Their mouths were so wide open in astonishment they looked like a bunch of guppies at feeding time. They had never heard such ideas.
No name calling. No histrionics, just facts.
The Old Guide