LURC receives Plum Creek application


AUGUSTA (AP) – Maine’s wilderness zoning board received a new application Thursday from Plum Creek Timber Co. for a controversial development plan for the Moosehead Lake region.

The long-awaited filing reflects changes made to the project following criticism of the original plan that included 975 house lots, two resorts, three recreational vehicle parks, a marina and rental cabins.

“After waiting more than a year for this application, we are ready to review the application for completeness and, if deemed complete, begin the public review process,” said LURC Director Catherine Carroll.

Carroll vowed that the agency’s review would be “fair, impartial and thorough.”

The total project involves more than 400,000 heavily wooded acres, of which about 10,000 would be developed.

Seattle-based Plum Creek, the nation’s largest landowner, has said that its revised plan maintains the same number of house lots but shifts some of the development from remote ponds and focuses it south of Rockwood and north of Greenville at Moosehead’s southern end.

The project has aroused strong passions on both sides. Plum Creek property and homes of employees involved in the development plan have been targets of vandalism.

Supporters have described the project as a thoughtful blend of conservation and development that would promote economic growth while preserving access to private timberlands for fishing, hunting, hiking and snowmobiling.

Critics have maintained that the project is too big and would open the door to wilderness sprawl, threatening the character of Maine’s fabled North Woods, an area dear to environmentalists and lovers of the outdoors.