Company Responds to Community Input with Significantly Revised Plan that Provides Permanent Conservation
FAIRFIELD, Maine--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 4, 2006--Plum CreekTimber Company (NYSE:PCL) today announced that it will submit itsrevised Concept Plan to the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) nextweek. The new Plan includes significant and important changes from theprevious Plan; changes that reflect many months of meeting with andlistening to members of the community who expressed the need tocarefully balance economic development with maintaining the values andtraditions of northern Maine.
New Plan Includes Permanent Conservation -- Protects WorkingForests and Ensures Traditional Public Access for Recreation
"We clearly heard that members of the community wanted morepermanent conservation in the Plan," said Jim Lehner, general manager,Northeast Region. "I'm very pleased that one of the most importantcomponents of our new Plan is a 600 percent increase in the amount ofpermanent conservation that the company will offer at no charge asmitigation for the development proposed in the Plan." As part of thePlan, Plum Creek will donate a 61,000-acre conservation easement tothe Forest Society of Maine upon approval of the Plan. The Plan callsfor an additional 10,000 acres of conservation easements that would begranted to protect lakes, ponds and streams.
As announced on March 30, Plum Creek has reached an agreement inprinciple with The Nature Conservancy to sell land and conservationeasements that, when combined with the conservation provided for inthe Plan, will result in more than 90 percent of the Plan area beingpermanently conserved if the Plan is approved. The company was able toreach this solution through close collaboration with three highlyrespected conservation organizations.
Plum Creek has partnered with The Nature Conservancy, The ForestSociety of Maine and The Appalachian Mountain Club to create aConservation Framework that envisions permanent protection for morethan 400,000 acres in Maine's North Woods, including 45,200 acresaround Number 5 Bog. Plum Creek worked closely with these conservationorganizations to propose protection for some of the company's mostsignificant land and water resources in Maine.
This Framework, which includes the second largest conservationeasement in the United States, provides permanent conservation forhigh value areas, maintains intact working forests and ensurestraditional public access for recreation.
"The Conservation Framework identifies how the lands with thehighest conservation values can be preserved, and forest resourcesmaintained for the economic benefit and recreational enjoyment offuture generations," said Alan Hutchinson, director of The ForestSociety of Maine. "Hunting, fishing, camping and other traditionalrecreational activities will be assured, valuable fish and wildlifehabitats will be protected, and communities will benefit as theselands are sustainably managed for recreational activities and forestproducts."
Development Component Has Been Reduced -- Preserves the Region'sRemote Character and Resort Tradition and Stimulates EconomicProsperity
In response to requests from members of the community, Plum Creekalso made important changes to the development component of its Planincluding a substantial reduction in the development acreage andmoving it closer to existing towns.
"Members of the community told us that development was importantbecause it would stimulate economic prosperity in the region,"explained Lehner. "But, they asked us to move our development closerto their towns. We responded to this request by relocating themajority of the development closer to the existing growth area betweenthe towns of Greenville and Rockwood."
Other important changes to the development component of the Planinclude:
- Removes development from all the remote ponds and reduces the number of shorefront lots;
- Revives the grand Maine tradition of resorts first in the Greenville area by revitalizing the Big Moose Mountain area with a Nordic ski center and a four-season resort highlighted by a 50 kilometer Nordic ski and bike trail system designed by John Morton;
- Scales back the proposed resort at Lily Bay by more than 80 percent. Lily Bay would be re-characterized as a lakefront resort reminiscent of the historical Kineo Resort, though a fraction of its size;
- Removes campgrounds, remote cabins, sporting camps and the request for additional commercial industrial zoning.
The new Plan also grants permanent trail easements on 144 miles ofsnowmobiling, hiking, and biking trails, including 12 new miles forthe Maine Huts and Trails corridor. These trails, along with theNordic ski and bike trail noted above, would help support therecreation economy through traditional access and use.
"While some members of the community wanted more economicstimulus, others wanted less," said Craig Watt, a resident ofGreenville. "We believe this revised Plan strikes the right balancebetween preserving what is so special in the Moosehead region andgenerating sufficient economic activity so existing communities canprosper."
According to Dr. Charles Colgan of the Muskie Institute at theUniversity of Southern Maine, the fully implemented new Plan willgenerate 1,300 jobs over the long term and increase personal income by$61 million. Local communities would realize an additional $1.38million of tax revenues. The recreational features of the Plan,including the trails and two nature-based resorts are expected to add$25 million in new recreation spending.
The revised Plan also includes a Community Fund funded fromdevelopment that would support schools, trails and other localinitiatives.
"This new Plan is the product of input from hundreds of members ofthe community who cherish the Moosehead region," said Lehner. "It alsoreflects input from numerous organizations including those who werecritical of our previous Plan. And, it reflects a spirit ofcooperation as evidenced in our collaboration with The NatureConservancy, the Forest Society of Maine and the Appalachian MountainClub.
"Plum Creek is grateful to the many individuals and organizationsthat helped us identify ways to achieve important compromises thatbalance economic development with maintaining the values andtraditions of northern Maine. We believe we've achieved this balancewith this new Plan and hope that members of the community will too."
Plum Creek is the largest and most geographically diverse privatelandowner in the nation, with more than 8 million acres of timberlandin major timber producing regions of the United States and 10 woodproducts manufacturing facilities in the Northwest. Since 1989, thecompany has participated in conservation transactions on nearly half amillion acres of its lands across the country. Plum Creek owns andmanages more than 929,000 acres of timberland in Maine.
CONTACT: Plum Creek Timber Company
Maine Media: Jim Lehner, 207-453-2527 x140
Other Media: Kathy Budinick, 206-467-3620
SOURCE: Plum Creek Timber Company