Plum Creek’s Development Proposal for Moosehead Lake: How did we get to where we are today?
June 3, 1998:
Sappi Fine Paper North America, a subsidiary of South African Pulp and Paper International, announced that they were selling nearly a million acres of Maine timberland, including lands surrounding Moosehead Lake.
Sappi said they would not sell their lands to a developer:
• “Sappi says it has no intention of selling to a developer. It says vacation condominiums do not coexist with the road building operations and heavy logging machinery that characterize the industrial forest.” Kennebec Journal, Associated Press story, 8/23/98
• “Sappi is exploring the sale only with companies with a commitment to the practice of sustainable forestry and the ability to comply with the Maine forest practice law.” Bangor Daily News, 6/3/98
October 6, 1998:
Plum Creek Timber Company of Seattle, Washington purchased 905,000 acres of Maine timberland from Sappi for $180 million – less than $200 per acre. The land was zoned for timberland and backwoods recreation uses.
In the years following their purchase, Plum Creek said they had no plans to develop the lands:
• “Holley (Plum Creek president and CEO Richard Holley) said the company has no plans to sell off any of the Sappi lands for vacation homes, camps, or other types of development. He said Plum Creek would discuss selling land to the state for conservation.
“‘Maine has a lot of special places,’ he said. ‘They should probably be in public ownership.’
“At the same time, however, Holley would not rule out future sales to private developers. ‘You never say never,’ he said. ‘At this point in time, it’s not our plan that we would move in and develop the properties.’” Portland Press Herald October 7, 1998
• “‘We’re not in the development business,’ Brown [Bill Brown, Plum Creek’s vice president of business development] insisted. As for those website listings, he said, they’re simply the only option we have left for properties that ‘have no other use’ than to be developed into private, exclusive vacation retreats.” Maine Sunday Telegram, 10/11/98
• “Holley says the company is willing to discuss the sale of other land for conservation and has no immediate plans to peel off sections of lake or mountain holdings for development.” Maine Sunday Telegram 10/11/98
• “Lehner said assertions that the company will soon sell land for development in Maine are untrue…. ‘In Maine we have no land sale plans to date.’” Bangor Daily News 2/26/99
• “We will be taking a look at conservation easements or conservation buy outs when we can.” [said Jim Lehner, general manager of Plum Creek Timber Co, LP]…”We are committed to working with the states to get state management of publicly valuable lands either by easement or fee sale.” MaineBiz Feb. 1999
• “Lehner said the sale [of 7,500 acres around Spencer Lake] to Malone was ‘a special deal — a conservation sale. Our greatest fear is that people [upon learning of the sale] will be afraid that we are going to be chopping up our land,’ he said. ‘That’s not the case.’” Maine Times June 29, 2000
Plum Creek sought rezoning and developed 89 lots on relatively remote First Roach Pond, 20 miles North of Greenville.
• “Yeager [Mike Yeager, Plum Creek’s director of land management for the northern division] said that Plum Creek has no plans for another First Roach-type development. He said that while the company’s Maine land base is large, ‘it doesn’t have many First Roach ponds’ that would be attractive for development.” Maine Environmental Policy Institute, June 12, 2002
Plum Creek announced its proposal to build the largest development ever proposed in Maine including 975 house lots, two resorts and three RV parks.
• “Lehner said the company has … no immediate plans for development on its other Maine timberlands – more than 400,000 additional acres – although the company at some point will consider sales there, too, he said.” Maine Sunday Telegram, Oct. 30, 2005
Plum Creek announced it had revised its proposal to build the largest development ever proposed in Maine. The proposal still included 975 house lots and two resorts scattered in 58 subdivisions around Moosehead Lake.
Plum Creek announced it had once again revised its massive proposal, still the largest development ever considered in Maine. The proposal continued to feature 975 house lots and two resorts for a total of 2,315 house lots, condominiums, gated subdivisions, cabins, hotel rooms and other accommodations. It also included five commercial development zones outside of the resorts where gas stations, stores, offices, restaurants and more would be permitted.