What do you think about the new Quimby access plan?

On Monday the BDN shared some big outdoor news: Elliotsville Plantation Inc., the company that oversees Roxanne Quimby’s lands in Maine, has decided to open up access to thousands of acres of northern forest.

On 40,000 acres, that means that hunting will be allowed, effective immediately (or, more accurately, as soon as the “No Hunting” signs are taken down). On another 60,000 acres, access will be improved, and non-motorized recreation will be welcome.

EPI is opening an 18-mile loop road on one piece of property, and is pitching in to build key snowmobile trail.

All sounds good, right?

Well, Mainers have divergent opinions on the matter. And though many took the time to share their thoughts — mostly anonymously — in the comments section under the BDN story, many others are surely willing to own up to their beliefs and speak out on the record. We want to hear those opinions, and may share some of them in a future story.

Not too long ago, it seemed you couldn’t drive down a road north of Milo without seeing a truck with a “Ban Roxanne” bumper sticker on it. Quimby was viewed by some as an interloper, by others as an elite preservationist, and by still others as a person who didn’t seem to care about what they called “traditional Maine activities.”

And she wanted to eventually turn her land holdings into a national park. Honestly, it’s that piece of the equation that has seemed to irritate many Quimby-bashers the most,

Now, it seems that the Quimby camp, led by her son, president of the EPI board Lucas St. Clair, is taking a more measured approach. St. Clair makes no secret of the fact that he hopes opening land to the public serves as the impetus for a more reasoned discussion on his mother’s plans. A national park, where hunting will not be allowed, and a national recreation area, where it will, are the ultimate goals.

In the meantime, previously gated land is being opened up to the public. Hunters and snowmobilers and ATV’ers will be welcomed in some spots.

Several sources I talked with while writing Monday’s story used the same words to describe St. Clair.

Smart. A listener. An outdoorsman.

Some of our online commenters think St. Clair offers an overdue fresh point of view.

Others don’t care. Some discount his words, and his actions, because his mother is named Roxanne Quimby. Others do so because much of the Quimby land was closed to the public after it was purchased. And there are plenty or park-haters out there, who first got riled up when RESTORE: The North Woods was proposed, and who will fight any transition from public ownership to federal control.

If you’ve got an opinion to share, and you’re willing to sign your name, we’d like to hear what you’ve got to say. It might not be as fun as firing off anonymous salvos, but I suspect the debate will be more reasoned, and the rhetoric will tone itself down a bit.

You can reach me at jholyoke@bangordailynews.com. Tell me who you are, (for a change). Tell me what town you live in. And tell me what you think.

I’ll be appreciative. And I suspect many of your fellow readers will be eager to hear what their neighbors think.

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.