By Terry Stackhouse
WABI-TV news story
Outdoor adventure seekers can look forward to now exploring tens of thousands of acres, just east of Baxter State Park.
Roxanne Quimby owns the land and is now allowing recreational activities on the property as her foundation seeks to build support for her proposal for a national park and recreation area. Developers believe increased access means big business.
“We need to start thinking about how to diversify the economies up here, some of the mills have either closed down or drastically reduced in size,” said Lucas St. Clair, President of the Board for Elliotsville Plantation Inc. Project planners from EPI have spent the last year talking about the possibility a national park. While there aren’t any plans for that yet, expanded access to land could help bring the same economic activity.
“We think that nature based tourism, guiding, snowmobiling, hunting, lodging, all could contribute to that,” said St. Clair. 100,000 acres of company owned land just opened for outdoor recreation. While that space can’t be permanently protected from development, nearby business owners are happy to meet half way.
“I am thrilled. I am thrilled because people outside want to help us show what we have here. We are not all going to agree all the time. There is no way,” said Terry Hill, co-owner of Shin Pond Village. “It is not a national park yet but there is so much to see and do here. We are already recruiting lots of different experts to come in and help us,” said one project advocate. An 18-mile logging road has been cleared and expanded as part of their plan to help connect surrounding towns.
“The corridor between Millinocket and Shin Pond and Madagumut area is one of the most heavily travelled corridors used by snowmobilers in the state of Maine so it’s vital to the business communities on both ends of the park,” said Matthew Polstein, owner of New England Outdoor Adventure Center.
“The perspective of people from out of the state looking at it and realizing just how awestruck they are, it is exciting,” said St. Clair.