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08/12/2009

Secretary Salazar Visits Acadia; Discusses the Maine Woods

 Two weeks ago, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar traveled to Acadia National Park at the request of his friend and former colleague Senator Susan Collins.  While in Maine, Salazar requested an informational meeting to learn more about Maine's vast undeveloped forestlands.  The meeting was largely arranged by Karen Woodsum, the Director of Sierra Club's Maine Woods Program.  In Bar Harbor, on the rocky coast of Maine, she managed to gather together in one room Secretary Salazar, Senator Collins, and key coalition members.  The small group, which included conservation leaders, landowners, business owners, and the Governor's conservation team, had a very productive and positive information sharing session.  In addition to learning about Maine's forests, Salazar shared a new top priority of the Department of the Interior: "America's Treasured Landscapes."  That conservation program is only in the early stages of formulation but it promises to be a visionary new way to protect large landscapes in a changing world.

Maine Woods Meeting

Secretary Salazar and Senator Collins in Maine

Maine's extensive northern woods most certainly qualify as one of our country's treasured landscapes.  As the largest undeveloped tract of forestland east of the Mississippi, the Maine woods comprises a contiguous, undisturbed forestland rarely seen outside of the western US.  While western states often have extensive tracts of public lands, Maine is about 95% privately owned.  This presents a myriad of challenges to ensuring landscape-scale protection, but Karen Woodsum and the Sierra Club are working tirelessly to secure just that.  We are excited about the opportunity to work closely with Secretary Salazar to promote and protect America's Treasured Landscapes, such as the Maine Woods.

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