Peter Hanson, owner/president of Great Northern Paper Co. LLC, says Roxanne Quimby’s proposed donation of 70,000 acres of her land for a National Park shouldn’t pose a problem for his paper mills, providing the Federal Government doesn’t “suddenly” come under the acquisition of even more land to control and deplete his potential resources for timber. What he is concerned about is answering to federal air quality standards with a National Park next door.

According to information in a recent Bangor News piece, “The park service would ….. have legal authority to challenge air-quality impacts from industrial developments within 60 miles of a park.” I have to admit that in my mind I’m asking, “Isn’t this the real reason Quimby and Obama want this park?” But what do I know? The U.S. House of Representatives just passed the National Defense Authorization Act that gives the president and the military the authority to arrest and detain for an indefinite amount of time, anyone, even American citizens, for suspicion they might commit or participate in perceived terror activity. So you tell me, would Obama and the people that think and act like him be manipulating to shut down these mills? Your call.

But that’s a bit off the topic of this thread. Hanson says what attracted him to purchase the mills was the amount of timber resources available or soon to come.

The top thing that drew Hanson and Cate Street to purchase the mills in September after many other investors walked away, he said, was a large supply of wood now almost harvestable on areas clear-cut decades ago.

“What attracted me to the mill is its situation in the heart of Maine’s wood basket,” Hanson said. “In the next 15 years, a huge amount of spruce and fir is coming online … All of those clear-cuts are now approaching maturity. As that happens, the wood processors that are sitting there are very well-positioned.”

All of those clear cuts are coming mature. Are these the same clear cuts that have so conveniently been evoked as viable excuses for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and other environmental organizations, as to why there are no deer?

Assuming that Mr. Hanson is referring to a sizable amount of mature forests about to be ready for harvest, are these forests not worthy of deer habitat?

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) says the main reasons why the deer herd has suffered so is because of harsh winters and lack of habitat. Maine’s newly crafted Deer Plan states:

The most significant factors are the duration and severity of winters across the region, as well as the difficulty in maintaining suitable habitat for the coldest months on the calendar.

Use of the terms “suitable” and “quality” as they describe habitat provide for convenient escape hatches when people like me question whether all these bygone clear cuts of yesteryear are in fact, bygone. It’s also convenient to pick on those excuses that most people understand little, if any, can Maine citizens do anything about, while refusing to address the things they can do.

So if this is the case, then barring several more “severe” winters in a row, and all of these wonderful “mature” forests appearing on the Maine landscape, should hunters be expecting huge increases in the deer herd over the next 15 years? Of course not. My bet is none of these forests are “quality” habitat for deer.

Tom Remington