BANGOR (AP) – A 25,000-acre parcel of woodlands purchased by Roxanne Quimby will likely be declared off-limits to hunters, trappers, snowmobiles and ATVs sometime in the future, a representative of Quimby said.

Critics fear the purchase may cut off access to 2,000 acres where hunting and snowmobiling will be allowed as part of a proposal designed to attach about 4,000 acres aroundKatahdin Lake to Baxter State Park.

Bart DeWolf of Quimby’s nonprofit land conservation foundation, Elliotsville Plantation, did little to assuage those fears.

There’s currently no plan in place for managing Quimby’s latest property, but will likely be managed like her other properties with hunters, ATV riders and snowmobilers eventually being barred, DeWolf said.

Quimby bought the land for more than $10 million from timber company H.C. Haynes/Crawford. That apparently was more than the appraised value, which the state offered earlier this year.

DeWolf said Quimby stepped in to buy the property to prevent the land from being developed. “Our primary goal is basically to protect the resources on the property,” he said.

Millinocket Town Councilor Jimmy Busque, a critic of Quimby’s purchases of large tracts in the North Woods, described the purchase as another example of “preservationists” closing off huge tracts of land to development and recreation, further limiting the economic growth potential of the sparsely populated Katahdin region.

“Those of us in rural Maine are going to continue to suffer,” Busque said. “Our economy and way of life is being threatened every day.”

DeWolf took issue with any suggestion that Quimby is eliminating access. Fishing, hiking, canoeing and camping are all allowed, he said.

The acquisition reopened debate over Katahdin Lake, which pitted conservationists and sportsmen in a weeks-long legislative brawl last winter.

Leaders of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and the Maine Snowmobile Association contend that Quimby’s purchase should change the terms of the Katahdin Lake deal, which set aside 2,000 acres of the 6,000-acre parcel for hunting and other “traditional uses.”

While the southern 4,000 acres will become part of Baxter State Park, the northern 2,000 acres will be managed by the Bureau of Parks and Lands.

But SAM now wants all of the land to go to Baxter State Park, and for the state to purchase land for sportsmen somewhere else.

As it stands, the 2,000 acres would be useless because it’s accessible only by Quimby’s land, said George Smith, SAM’s executive director.

The impact on snowmobiles would be minimal, but the Maine Snowmobile Association supports SAM’s position following Quimby’s purchase.

“Basically, this is a jigsaw puzzle and when you put all of the pieces together, what you end up with is no access to traditional uses,” said Bob Meyers, executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association.

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