Washington, DC — The July 4th incident in which Maine Senator John Martin bulldozed and cut trees in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway corridor is just the latest example of a long pattern of activity, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). For years Martin has thrown his political weight around for projects on the Waterway in which he had an interest including:
- In 1984, then Speaker of the House, Martin protected his headquarters on the Allagash at Jalbert’s Sporting Camps. Legislatively he pushed through a law requiring approval before the state could change the use of “his” camps.
- In 1990, Speaker Martin ordered the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) to change their permit rules to accommodate a hot tub that had been illegally installed at the same camps.
- In 1997, without public knowledge and as part of an eleventh hour deal, he attempted a $100,000 appropriation to construct a camp within a few hundred feet of Round Pond in T13R12. Thanks to Republican Senators that measured failed.
- In 1999, Senator Martin, as a retaliatory strike, introduced legislation to make the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Supervisor’s position a direct political appointment.
“The original vision of a wild Allagash is being degraded through years of trench warfare waged by self-interested politicians,” stated Maine PEER Director Tim Caverly, the long-time former Supervisor of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. “The bulldozing of the Michaud Farm road by Senator Martin and Representative Jackson illustrates that these officials have no regard for the law, the Department of Conservation, Waterway staff or the people volunteering their time to serve on the Governor’s Working Group presently examining Waterway issues.”
Caverly and PEER are urging that the offending individuals be held accountable. “Unless the political will is mustered to repel these political hi-jinks, the original vision of a wild Allagash will never be redeemed,” Caverly added.
The Allagash is part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System and its designation as “wild” is reserved for rivers that are generally accessible only by trail, and “represent vestiges of primitive America.” For years, local interests, aided by Martin, have pressured for construction of motorized access points, parking lots, boat ramps, and other structures that have eroded the wilderness character of the waterway. The history of this struggle and its effects is detailed in the PEER white paper Losing Paradise: The Allagash Wilderness Waterway Under Attack.