Environmentalists often smear a private landowner in rural Maine who builds a nice home on a large lot as if he is creating what they call a "kingdom estate," rhetoric designed to promote a false image of feudalism in order to incite envy and leftist class warfare. But who is really creating a feudalist kingdom to impose on the people of rural Maine, intending that those who can remain live under government-imposed Alaska-like primitivism, deprived of their rights?
They do not object to radical environmentalist multi-millionaire Roxanne Quimby's new acquisition of 28,000 acres -- an entire Maine township in the north woods. Quimby intends to eliminate the private economy and traditional human activity on her land and elsewhere: She intends to turn her land -- now 40,000 acres and growing -- over to the National Park Service to help lock up more than 3 million acres as a federal wilderness preserve, a plan intensely opposed by local people, Gov. Baldacci and the entire Maine congressional delegation.
The plan is often associated solely with the Massachusetts-based radical eco-organization RESTORE: The North Woods, with which Quimby is associated (including membership on the board of directors for several years). But it neither originated with RESTORE nor is it restricted to a "mere" 3.2 million acres, even though far larger than any national park outside Alaska (Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska is 13.2 million).
RESTORE, founded in 1992, seeks to "restore" most of what the national environmentalist lobby calls the North Woods Eco-System to primitive, pre-civilization "primeval" conditions in a federally controlled wilderness. This includes 26 million contiguous acres extending from the eastern Maine coast across most of rural Maine, northern New Hampshire and Vermont, to the Adirondacks in upstate New York. RESTORE is not alone.
"Mainstream" environmentalist activists quietly lobbied Congress for federal greenline controls and acquisition across the four states as early as the mid-'80s. Their agenda for eight massive new national parks across northern New England surfaced publicly in 1988 as part of the national expansion plan of the National Parks and Conservation Association (the National Park Service's private lobby), and other big environmentalist organizations. Planned "mega-conservation reserves in the Northeast" included Washington County, the region surrounding Baxter and north to the Allagash now promoted by RESTORE and Quimby, and other areas across Maine.
While regional director of the Wilderness Society, RESTORE executive director Michael Kellet told fellow activists at an environmentalist leadership conference at Tufts University in Massachusetts in 1990:
"I think it's likely this [26 million acres] will end up, most of this will end up being public land, not by taking away, but that will probably be really the only alternative."
A radical, ardent opponent of advanced civilization, Kellet says that rural New England is "a region seriously damaged by industrial development." A RESTORE brochure says he "believes that there is no better place to begin the restoration of the earth."
RESTORE board member Brock Evans, then vice president of the National Audubon Society, exhorted his fellow activist leaders:
"We decided in the Northwest to treat it as an Ancient Forest Campaign ... all the forests, all of it. I suggest to you that you have your 'North Woods.' It's the same kind of situation. It should be all of it. There may be different solutions for different particular places, but it should all be treated together. Be unreasonable. You can do it. Yesterday's heresy is today's common wisdom. It happens over and over again" and "You have lots of strong urban centers where support comes from. So I would say let's take it back. Let's take it all back." Following widespread, swift public opposition to the plans to eco-nationalize rural New England, the national organizations took a lower profile, putting the regional viro groups in front to make the plans appear "locally" inspired and not so radically sweeping in scope. The political strategy changed; the goals did not.
In 1992 Chuck Clusen, representing Laurence Rockefeller's American Conservation Association, led an Environmental Grantmakers Association strategy meeting in Washington state concerning funding the campaign to take over Maine. Clusen, who led the environmentalists' Alaska Lands Coalition resulting in new national parks taking over massive areas in the 1980s, said:
"Throughout this period the environmental community across these four [northeastern] states ... has come together in a very large coalition called the Northern Forest Alliance... It has the major national groups as well as the principal state groups of these four states."
"And I've been able working with them over the last year and a half, one, on their development of political strategies and so on, but also to facilitate their development of a campaign plan very similar to the Alaskan situation as to a campaign that will probably go on for at least a decade."
"In many ways this is a much more complex situation because of the private ownership in total of 80 percent of these 26 million acres... [T]here's no way we're gonna buy it all, unfortunately, although there is great interest in this Forest Legacy easement program and also more traditional land acquisition, but that's only gonna be part of the solution ... there's a great deal of talk about, and work trying to figure out, how to make the transition to sustainable economic futures" (a viro concept intended to subordinate economics to "eco-system bio-diversity").
Former Northern Forest Alliance executive director Karen Tilberg is now making state policy as Maine Deputy Commissioner of Conservation.
The New Eco-Feudalism
No one should think that Roxanne Quimby and her cohorts are simply buying an unusually large amount of land in Maine -- this is much more than an issue of who owns some of the land or whether it will be "preserved." It is also much more than preservationism harming the local economy and locking up some land against traditional uses such as hunting, logging, ATVs and snowmobiles, although that is part of the environmentalists' national agenda.
Environmentalism is an ideological political movement driven by enormous funding. They are after nothing less than a cultural and political power grab for sweeping control across rural Maine. They must eliminate private property and the private economy if they are to attain their goals for "biodiversity-based" economics and massive wilderness restrictions to destroy civilized life and "restore" the "primeval" across tens of millions of acres.
That can be done only by government coercion, which they intend to impose by replacing our independent town meeting local government and the American form of government legally protecting the freedoms and rights of the individual, with a feudalist/socialist system controlled by an eco-bureaucracy that would make the current abuses from Augusta pale in comparison. That is why they want federal control; it is the meaning of a federal conservation area.
In Alaska -- one of the viro "models" for "conservation" in Maine -- less than 1 percent of the land is privately owned. The rest is controlled by the federal and state governments and Native Corporations (Indian). The economy survives largely from taxes on oil. Private property owners not living in the few cities but trapped by government conservation areas no longer live "by right" as Americans are supposed to. They are subjected to pervasive bureaucratic permissions, often denied, as government agencies over the decades have clamped down with increasing restrictions in the name of the environment, destroying the freedom of the traditional rural way of life. Private property owners are now often denied access to their own property, contrary to the "guarantees" in the "compromise" federal legislation authorizing the parks. This is the nature of environmentalist "compromise": They take what they can get and come back for the rest later.
Such is the eco-feudalist kingdom environmentalism would impose on the people of rural Maine.
Copyright © 2003 Erich Veyhl, All Rights Reserved Permission is granted to reproduce only in full and with full attribution.
Republished with permission from the Downeast Coastal Press.