“Despite the rhetoric from Roxanne Quimby and other park supporters about jobs, when you look at the facts, a National Park is a bad idea for Maine,” said Mike Beardsley, Executive Director for the Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine. PLC is a trade organization that represents Professional Logging Contractors throughout the state of Maine; an organization of loggers run by loggers. Beardsley will announce PLC’s position Monday, November 7, 2011, 6 p.m. at the Lincoln Center VFW hall. PLC will attend the event hosted by Representative Jeff Gifford at the showing of “For the Good of All“, a video about what happened to the town of Everett, Ohio when the National Park Service entered their lives. This video originally aired by PBS “Frontline” is narrated by Jessica Savitch and covers the creation of a Federal Park in the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area in Ohio. Representative Jeff Gifford said, “We are excited to have PLC make this announcement as they join us in this battle.”
Beardsley explained, “As good stewards of the forest, our loggers have looked at Quimby’s plan and can read between the “cut” lines, this is about federal control. PLC and our loggers do not have to rely on “what if” or “what may be” or even Quimby’s intended results with regard to a National Park. They look at history, that’s right history, the facts of what has happened out West and in Ohio. In states where National Parks are present, like Washington and Oregon, the forests are more susceptible to catastrophic forest fires and studies show that the health of the forests has actually gotten worse. If we take a look at the record of forest management by the federal government in the Northwest, we get a preview of Federal forest management in Maine. Take for instance the Northwest Forest Plan adopted in 1994 which dramatically changed the management on 24 million acres of federal forests in northern California, Oregon and Washington and reduced the historic timber sale program by 80%. In real numbers the timber sale program went from 5 billion board feet (bbf) per year to 1.1 billion board feet per year. Those types of declines would be catastrophic to Maine’s forest products industry and that’s not something our members are interested in.” Scott Hanington, longtime PLC member and owner of Hanington Timberlands in Wytopitlock concurred, “Maine’s traditional use of land in the forest products industry has long proved successful in ensuring a healthy forest, with public access.” Hanington added “our history shows there is not a need for a National Park to ensure access to Maine’s woods for all of us to ski, hunt and snowmobile.”
Maine’s large swaths of forest lands, praised for their beauty, are the product of an active and vibrant logging and forest products industry. According to the Maine Department of Conservation, the percentage of forested land in Maine remains at 90%. Private landowners have insured that land has not only remained forested but healthy. Conversely, in areas where the Federal government has been placed in charge of forest lands, the forests and the forest products industry suffers, regardless of which party controls the White House.
This is the real story of the impact of federally managed lands. In many Maine towns, our forest products industry is vital for direct and indirect employment. We can little afford to replace 80% of good paying full time manufacturing, logging, equipment sales and service private sector jobs with part-time federal park jobs. Neither can we afford to let Maine’s forests go the way of the forests of the American West with threats from both fire and disease. Not to mention, it is another federal tax burden for all Americans. In short, a National Park is a bad idea for Maine, it is certainly no gift.
PLC of Maine has provided loggers a voice since 1995. PLC was created by a group of Maine Loggers to provide loggers a voice in a rapidly changing industry. We continue this effort today, representing loggers that harvest 75% of the actively harvested land in Maine. From the outset, PLC has focused on advocacy, safety, quality operations and business innovation. Our Members realize that harvesting is more than just cutting trees. They are highly skilled, business professionals and are an integral part of Maine’s economic engine. PLC Members do their best in the woods and are committed to excellence in the logging industry, “Professional Loggers”. Our Members are dedicated to maintaining a safe work environment, a healthy forest and industry, as well as being efficient and profitable. Always have been, always will be. PLC of Maine is standing strong for loggers, yesterday, today and tomorrow. For more information visit our website www.maineloggers.com or call our office 207-688-8195.