I began my research in the fall of 2000. After I realized that officials from GNP had no intention of selling my lease to me, I discovered that I was part of a con that would always have a polite excuse. The excuses came to an end when I wrote a demanding letter to a GNP company official. Shortly thereafter, my construction company services were removed from all GNP and Great Lakes properties.
It was at a "Restore" meeting held in Greenville, in the fall of 2000 that I noticed GNP officials were in attendance. They seemed a bit uncomfortable when we met up. It was not the activities of the crowd storming down the isle, screaming at Restore founders, that got my attention. It was the founders of this new "Preservationist" group that rang my bell.
Jym St. Pierre, and Michael Kellet were the brave preservationist who occupied the stage of the high school auditorium that evening. In my efforts to obtain a building permit from L.U.R.C. for my Black Cat Mountain project, I discovered that Jym St. Pierre was a L.U.R.C. Commissioner during the time that my friend Robbie Robinson was attempting to develop Black Cat Mountain. I later learned from Robbie, and through documentation he provided, that St. Pierre was very involved in killing Robbies attempt to build his 80 unit hotel and 21 hillsides cottages on Black Cat Mountain. In Fact, Jim St. Pierre presided over the hearings that were held here in Millinocket.
The other radical "Preservationist" who braved the stage that evening, was Michael Kellet. He was the Northeast director of the Wilderness Society for many years. Because the Wilderness Society's "Spotted Owl" campaign, was so successful at removing the logging industry and the population from the west coast, they are still very easily investigated today. At the last count, 89% of that industry is now gone.
What did come out of my investigation was my discovery of the motives behind the creation of "Gateway Communities." It seems that when they finished the demolition of several small towns, the bad press that was soon to follow hurt their preservationist movement. It was at this point that they began to re-think their methods. Now there is a new emphasis on re-building these shattered communities. They do this by building on the limited assets in place. Every logging community has at least 100 years of history, going all the way back basic building blocks of this great country.
Thus we now have the invention of "Cultural Heritage Centers."
This new surge fits very well into the drive to promote tourism. Almost all former logging communities are in close proximity to vast woodlands and mountain ranges. Almost all mountain ranges have "Wild Rivers" that can support rafting activities. With these basic building blocks in place they now have the foundation for a "Gateway Community". But what about the people? How do you change the population who is bitter about having their industry and cultural heritage removed? This is what takes time, they first need to build a tourism base, enhance the public perception of the host town, after this, it is then possible to attract second home- buyers to the area. The property values that dropped drastically after the removal of the logging industry and the exodus of the population, often hang for many years. Sound familiar?
Once they have replaced the existing population with second home-buyers, their job is almost done. These people are here to recreate, they don't need jobs, they also need fewer services. Police, fire and education, can also be replaced with Sheriffs , volunteers, and home schools.
When I began to investigate "Gateway Communities", I discovered that the new inhabitants, and the local Chambers of Commerce were fat and happy. They feel nothing for the loss of an industry, or their culture, because it was not their's to lose. According to a local heating oil company, who has about 150 customers, his deliveries are down over 51,000 gallons of home heating oil compared to this time last year.
My research and investigation was recently proven to be correct by the killing of local efforts to annex land to our town's borders. The effort to kill annexation was without any base in fact and was carried out by the voting block that exist within our own Town Council. That "Block" has its` roots firmly in place through a local so-called Economic Development Council called "MAGIC."
When I discovered the Minutes of the June 19, 2002 meeting of the MAGIC board of directors, I found that they had set as a "Priority Project" , using the "Wilderness Society" , to "Transition" the area, (Millinocket), into a "Gateway Community" . I later discovered on The Conservation Fund web-site that Magic had attended a "Gateway Community Workshop" held in Vermont, in October of 2002. According to the information available on this site, Millinocket is NOW a "Participating Team".
This action has all been done without our knowledge, or our consent. Magic has apparently used taxpayer monies to "Transition" Millinocket into a "Gateway Community".
This action taken, goes directly against the " Resolve" signed by our Town Council in September of 2000, and is also in direct conflict with the direction given by the will of the voters in the November election.
Copies of all of this information are available on the center table in our Town Office.
David P. Cyr