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Conservation prioritized over recreation -- Mtn Bike Ban in Maine

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Old September 1st 07, 02:12 AM posted to alt.mountain-bike,rec.bicycles.soc,rec.backcountry,ca.environment,sci.environment
Mike Vandeman
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Default Conservation prioritized over recreation -- Mtn Bike Ban in Maine

Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 17:36:41 -0700
Subject: Conservation prioritized over recreation -- Mtn Bike Ban in

Conservation prioritized over recreation

Staff Writer - Kennebec Journal, Maine, USA

Friday, August 03, 2007

A new management plan for the state-owned Bigelow Preserve calls for
more protected wilderness, limits on mountain bike use, and larger
buffers to shield visitors from timber operations.

The Preserve, in northern Franklin County, encompasses 35,000 acres
along Flagstaff Lake and centered on the scenic 20-mile-long Bigelow
Mountain Range.

The management plan, available online and in print, is the second one
since the Preserve's creation in a 1976 public referendum. The plan
also covers management of adjacent public lands.

State officials say visitors will see only minor changes as it goes
into effect.

Under the 175-page plan:

*Another 10,000 acres will remain wild, in addition to 10,000 acres
set aside in 2000 for an ecological reserve.

* Off-road mountain biking is out. Facilities, especially those along
the shoreline, will be improved, but only after a study of documented

* Better buffers will shield trails and mountain views from timber

The plan also commits to good stewardship of competing recreational
opportunities to protect the undeveloped backcountry character and
natural beauty of the area while making the public lands available to

The plan was released after three years of work.

"This was a very thorough process. There was some frustration on the
part of some groups but, by and large, I think we were able to retain
the character and without making a lot of changes to what people
expect," said the manager of the Flagstaff Region, forester Peter
Smith, at the Farmington office of the state Department of
Conservation's Bureau of Parks and Lands.

The plan was approved by Commissioner Patrick McGowan earlier this

The Flagstaff Region includes the rugged mountains, backcountry
forests and high-elevation ponds in the Bigelow Preserve that is
traversed by 17 miles of the Appalachian Trail. It also encompasses
about 20,000 acres of public lands north of Farmington to the Canadian
border and east of the Rangeley Lakes Region to the Kennebec River

The Preserve, created by public referendum in 1976 in response to the
threat of a proposed four-seasons resort, was established to "set
aside land to be retained in its natural state for the use and
enjoyment of the public."

Among the changes made since Bigelow's 1989 plan, said coordinator
Kathy Eichenberg, has been the designation, in 2000, of 10,561 acres
as The Horns Ecological Reserve in the heart of the Preserve where no
snowmobiles, bikes, or timber harvesting is allowed. The 2007 plan
protects another 10,000 acres around the Reserve as a buffer.

An overarching concern was expressed by some interests related to the
Preserve's future, she said.

In their comments, they say they are worried that, little by little,
the nature of the area could shift from a backcountry area to an
intensively managed recreation destination with new trails, additional
camping facilities and new uses contrary to the Preserve's purpose.

One concern was the increased use of mountain bikes. Eichenberg said
the Bigelow Act did not specify what uses were allowed in the
Preserve. Snowmobiles, an existing use in 1976, were permitted but
restricted to designated, low-speed trails.

In recent years, mountain bikers, often connecting from outside
recreational trails, have unofficially been using old woods roads and
trails and disturbing traditional uses. Now, the sport will be limited
to roads where cars travel and there is no off-road riding, she said.

"We consider it to be a quiet recreation that could be managed so we
provided for it," Eichenberg said. "For folks who are concerned, the
Preserve will not be overrun with pressures to have more snowmobile
and mountain bike trails."

A coalition of interests known as the Northern Forest Alliance Caucus,
worried about cutting the Preserve's oldest and largest trees,
requested that significant areas be set aside as a new, backcountry,
non-mechanized area where timber harvesting was not allowed.

The Bureau's response was that its sustainable forest management of
old-growth stands and mature trees, together with the extensive,
no-harvesting area set aside in the ecological reserve, will increase
-- not decrease -- their numbers.

Bob Weingarten of Vienna, a member of the Friends of Bigelow, said
tourism was his worry.

"The state sees tourism as a major economic driver and is targeting
the Bigelow Preserve as one of the places to promote," Weingarten

Eichenberg disagreed.

"The Bureau will not seek to market the Preserve to increase its use."

I am working on creating wildlife habitat that is off-limits to
humans ("pure habitat"). Want to help? (I spent the previous 8
years fighting auto dependence and road construction.)

Please don't put a cell phone next to any part of your body that you are fond of!

Old September 1st 07, 03:57 PM posted to alt.mountain-bike,rec.bicycles.soc,rec.backcountry,ca.environment,sci.environment
Just zis Guy, you know?
external usenet poster
Posts: 1,612
Default Conservation prioritized over recreation -- Mtn Bike Ban in Maine

On Sat, 01 Sep 2007 01:12:31 GMT, Mike Vandeman
said in

A new management plan for the state-owned Bigelow Preserve calls for
more protected wilderness, limits on mountain bike use, and larger
buffers to shield visitors from timber operations.

Ah, so not a ban, then. LIAR.

May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.

85% of helmet statistics are made up, 69% of them at CHS, Puget Sound

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