We in Maine enjoy being able to see moose and bear, to go camping, fishing, hiking, and hunting, especially in remote wilderness areas. A big reason is that Maine’s current and longstanding “adjacency policy” serves the unorganized territories and our state well. Large tracts of north country have been protected from sprawling development, where we can still “get away from it all,” and where animals needing large wilderness areas can survive.

Thanks to the adjacency policy, when new development locates within a mile of already existing development, we concentrate development rather than let it sprawl haphazardly. We pay less in service costs. We protect Maine’s wildlife, rivers, forests, and lakes from the threats of development sprawl. We maintain the community-oriented character of our state rather than allow strip development to cut up our north woods.

The Land Use Planning Commission now proposes allowing development to go 10 miles from outer boundaries of “rural hubs” and two miles from public roads. Close to 2 million acres of Maine’s north woods are targeted to become “primary locations” for development.

Large-lot subdivisions, banned since 2001, would be allowed. Anyone who wants to protect Maine’s natural resources ought to take notice. What will happen to the lakes and ponds located within the development areas, and outside them, too? Where will wilderness-dependent animals and people go?

This process appears to be pushed by developers or landowners, and rushed with a vote scheduled for November. The one-mile adjacency rule plays an extremely important role in protecting Maine’s unique character. The public must take the proposal to eliminate it seriously. To submit comments, email [email protected] or write to the Land Use Planning Commission, c/o Ben Godsoe, 18 Elkins Lane, 22 State House Station, Augusta, ME, 04333.

Cloe Chunn


The writer is Registered Maine Guide and author of “Fifty Hikes in the Maine Mountains.”)

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