We respect this court’s decision and the need for continued public involvement as this process unfolds.
To be clear, this decision was based on procedure and it is not a rejection of Plum Creek’s plan itself. The court threw out all of the petitioners’ arguments save one argument on process, in which the court said that the final version of the plan should have been aired in a public hearing. The 360,000-acre Conservation Framework itself was not called into question.
We still believe that the overall conservation outcomes of Plum Creek’s final plan are a tremendous opportunity for the people of Maine.
Our view has always been that the Lake Concept planning process is the best way to achieve the right mix of economic development, recreational infrastructure, and conservation. The unfortunate impact of this decision is that the future for all three – conservation, community, and economy – are once again uncertain. However, we will work to ensure that whatever development is ultimately proposed for this region takes the needs of conservation into account.
While the proposed 363,000-acre Moosehead Region conservation easement that The Nature Conservancy has supported is tied to the concept plan that was struck down; it’s important to remember that more than 44,000 acres of conservation has already been accomplished as a result of this process, and will not be affected by Thursday’s decision. The Nature Conservancy and the State of Maine have purchased 15,000 acres, including portions of Number 5 Bog and lands that provide access to the Moose River Bow Trip paddling route. And more than 29,500 acres near the Appalachian Trail’s 100- Mile Wilderness has been protected by the Appalachian Mountain Club.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.