GREENVILLE – Plum Creek Timber Co. has been presented with yet another public proposal of just how it should develop its land in the Moosehead Lake region.
The latest contribution is a map devised by the Moosehead Region Futures Committee, a volunteer organization representing people who live throughout the 400,000 acres the company seeks to rezone for development and conservation. The map identifies significant plots of lands where development might be located near communities or existing development.
Plum Creek wants to rezone about 400,000 acres in unorganized territory in the Moosehead Lake region to implement a concept plan. That plan, now under revision, calls for the development of about 1,000 house lots, two resorts and sporting camps on about 14,000 acres. It also calls for leaving about 95 percent of the land in commercial timberland management/conservation.
“We have heard many constructive proposals; we will incorporate as many as we can in our new plan and still accomplish our needs of the business,” Luke Muzzy, Plum Creek’s senior land asset manager, said Wednesday. He said the company is actively revising the plan for its presentation in the near future to the Land Use Regulation Commission. That state agency acts as the planning board for the unorganized territory.
The Moosehead Region Futures Committee map pinpoints areas of exceptional outdoor experiences necessary to sustain and grow the region’s nature-based economy, according to committee volunteer Wendy Weiger. The draft map is a work is still in progress, she said.Local people suggested a steering committee be formed of residents who live in the Plum Creek project area, Weiger said in a prepared statement. The committee convened meetings, listened to residents, attended road and camp owner association meetings throughout the region and met twice with Plum Creek officials.
“We started as a group of volunteers who wanted to create a climate where area residents could share, without fear, their visions for the region’s future,” Weiger stated.
Last fall, the committee compiled the list of ideas they heard into a document called “Citizen Solutions.” The map makes may of those “citizen solutions” visible, according to Weiger.
The guidelines in the citizen solutions include: sustainable forestry; development near communities; guaranteed public access; nature tourism experiences protected; Squaw Resort revitalized; affordable housing; Roach Ponds conservation; impact fees for education; and infrastructure assistance.
“This map tries to send several important messages,” Peter Johnson, another MRFC volunteer, said. “It asks Plum Creek to concentrate development near communities in ways that will support the region’s economy, provide permanent conservation of high value woods, water and wildlife habitat that are the heart of the region’s north woods assets, and it tries to start a conversation about areas needed for nature tourism. This map offers a creative and hopeful win-win solution to an area that does not need to be divided against itself.”>/p>
The committee plans to continue its discussion with Plum Creek even after the company releases its revised proposal, according to Weiger and Johnson. In addition, the committee plans on being legal intervenors during LURC sponsored public hearings.
The map can be seen at www.mooseheadfutures.org