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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Jym St. Pierre of RESTORE THE NORTH WOODS calling our attention to an extremely concerning moment in Maine where the Govenor and certain State Representatives are seeking to overturn and gut the MAINE LAND USE REGULATION COMMISSION(LURC), which for years has kept essential checks & balances in place between preserving the environmental character of our North Woods and allowing for responsible development in less sensitive land areas......For all of you who have spent time and soaked in the vastness and beauty of Maine,,,,,, as well as the rest of us who can highly empathize with the need for responsible regulators to be in place to stop greedy, thoughtless and damaging short term development,,,,, we urge you to take action below as Jym outlines

Stop Bill to Gut Maine Woods Protections!

Dear Rick,

Last year, Gov. Paul LePage and some legislators tried to abolish the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC). This is the state agency that was created to look out for the interests of all Mainers by protecting Maine's 10.4 million acres of Unorganized Territory in the North Woods. The reason is simple: they want to allow large landowners and real-estate speculators to develop the Maine Woods with virtually no restrictions.


the beauty and vastness of Maine with potential for wolf/puma restoration

Once citizens found out about this attack on LURC, they pushed back. In an attempt to bypass the public, the Legislature created a 13-member LURC Reform Commission, comprised primarily of people who wanted to abolish LURC. Not surprisingly, the commission's final report called for changes that would gut LURC and benefit developers. Now, these anti-LURC recommendations have been turned into a bill, LD 1798. If passed as written, LD 1798 could emasculate the agency, abolishing LURC slowly instead of quickly.

Lynx chasing down a snowshoe hare in Maine


1. Attend the public hearing, which will be held on LD 1798 on Thursday, February 16, 2012, at 1:00 pm. The location is the Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Committee in the Cross State Office Building, Room 206, in Augusta, Maine. Be prepared to speak for 2-3 minutes in opposition to LD 1798. See the key points below. Bring friends to fill the room.
2. Submit written testimony. Mail or deliver 20 copies before the hearing to: ACF Committee Clerk, 100 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.
 3. Contact legislators on the Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Committee. Call and/or write to urge them to "Vote Ought Not to Pass" on LD 1798. Also, contact your legislative representatives; find them at Voter Information Lookup.
 4. Write a letter to the editor of the major news outlets in Maine and your local newspaper. Letters in the news media reach readers and many government officials who monitor the news. Here is a list of most Maine newspapers.


LD 1798, An Act To Reform Land Use Planning in the Unorganized Territory (UT), raises many concerns. It would:

* Put county politicians in charge of a board with statewide responsibilities. A majority of the new Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) members would be county commissioners who could appoint themselves or friends to a state board with no legislative vetting. That creates conflicts of interest where developers and large corporate landowners have an incentive to get their people elected as commissioners. Nor does this ensure local control because county commissioners are elected mainly by voters far from the UT.

* Let counties drop out. Counties could opt-out of LURC if they took on land use planning, zoning and permitting. This would result in inconsistent standards in different areas, which does not help landowners with properties in different counties who want more, not less, predictability.

* Fragment planning and prospective zoning. Some planning and zoning would be done by LURC, some by regional planning commissions. Eliminating the consistency of having one agency use uniform standards for planning and zoning across the UT would decrease fairness and efficiency.

* Scatter permitting. Some permitting would stay with LURC. DEP would do permitting for large projects. Permit review for small projects would be eliminated or go to counties. Eliminating one-stop permitting ensures less consistency and fairness for applicants.

* Undermine the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP). LURC's 2010 CLUP represents compromise among many diverse stakeholders. Overturning the CLUP disrespects the public process that was undertaken over several years and the hundreds of Maine citizens who participated.

* Reduce land protections. The LURC Reform Commission would have the new board "address" (i.e., dump) several crucial benchmarks, including LURC's "adjacency," "no undue adverse impact" and "harmonious fit" criteria, which have been used for decades to guide new projects toward compatible development and away from sensitive areas. The result would be increased sprawl in the Maine's North Woods.

* Eliminate the "demonstrated need" test. Developers often want to build even where there is a surplus of lots or houses. Terminating the demonstrated need criterion harms local citizens who can make a case there is no market for a speculative project. Nor does it help developers with big dreams but thin financing avoid falling into bankruptcy when no one wants to buy what they are selling.

* Turn a planning board into a development agency. State law would be changed to say that part of LURC's mission is "to encourage and facilitate regional economic viability." Already, residential development is allowed in 95% of the 10.4 million acres in the UT. Already, LURC has approved over $1 billion in commercial and residential development. LURC's job is to guide development. Requiring it to promote growth duplicates existing development agencies.

* Increase taxpayer costs for land use oversight. LD 1798 could cost Maine taxpayers a lot of money. The state will lose economies of scale, the counties will have to raise taxes, and someone will have to pay lawyers to defend lawsuits the counties can anticipate. In an era of economic recession, we cannot afford the cost of breaking up LURC, especially when it will result in more inefficiency in government, less fairness to applicants, more inconsistency across the UT, and greater public confusion.

* Abolish LURC. LD 1798 is a backdoor way to disguise the true intent - to get rid of LURC.

Please take action to help stop this attempt to destroy LURC - our main defense against uncontrolled development of the wild Maine Woods. If you have questions, feel free to contact me via email at, or by phone at (207) 626-5635.

Thank you for your help!
Best regards,

Jym St. Pierre 
Maine Director

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