Maine’s North Woods is the largest undeveloped forest in the Eastern U.S., and it is being threatened by a proposal put forth by the Land Use Planning Commission, which seeks to eliminate the adjacency principle’s one-mile rule. This rule has served to protect Maine’s forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife habitat from sprawling development for the past 45 years, by requiring any new development in the LUPC’s 10.5 million-acre jurisdiction to be within one road mile of existing, compatible development.

The proposal being presented by the LUPC would allow new development to extend 10 miles from “rural hub communities” and two miles from public roads. According to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, “Close to two million acres of land could become vulnerable to residential, commercial, and industrial development. We are concerned that this proposal could fragment wildlife habitat, allow sprawling strip development, damage forests, undermine Maine’s outdoor recreation tourism industry, and permanently change the character of the North Woods.”

As a proud lifelong citizen of Maine, I am deeply opposed to any efforts that would jeopardize our legendary North Woods. Eliminating the one-mile rule would be devastating not only for the people who love this untarnished wilderness for its beauty and recreational opportunities, but also for the countless plant and animal species who make it their home. Wild, unadulterated places that are safe from human activity are few and far between, and having such a place in Maine is a gift we should cherish. What a shameful and tremendous loss it would be if we shortsightedly sacrificed one of the last great unspoiled wildernesses in this country just to make a buck.

Please consider submitting a comment to Benjamin Godsoe and the Land Use Planning Commission to oppose their efforts: [email protected]

Rebecca Tripp is a resident of Searsport.


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