RESTORE: 26 Million Acre "Eco-System Restoration" Target Expanding

The Land Rights Letter February, 1993
Copyright © 1993; Erich Veyhl, All Rights Reserved

The scope of private land targeted by the preservationists' Northern Forests Lands Campaign is growing. The "North Woods Ecosystem", previously defined by environmentalists to mean 26 million acres from the coast of Maine through New Hampshire and Vermont to western New York State now extends, according to some leading preservationist lobbyists, to over 1,600 miles across the north eastern half of the United States and Canada. The new definition includes all or parts of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota to the west, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania to the south, and parts of the Canadian Provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland to the north and east.

"Over three hundred years of European settlement have left the North Woods severely damaged, but not destroyed," says former Wilderness Society New England Regional Director Michael Kellet, "... [the] natural remnants are the raw material out of which a new North Woods can emerge."

Kellet is now Executive Director of "RESTORE: The North Woods", whose stated purpose is "to preserve, and defend the natural ecological integrity of the North Woods Ecoregion of the United States and Canada through citizen activism."

He says in a RESTORE brochure the he "believes that there is no better place to begin the restoration of the earth" and that his group "focuses on the North woods as an ecological whole, since nature ignores political boundaries."

Kellet is famous for his statement two years ago at Tuft's University, "I think it's likely this [26 million acres of New England and New York] will end up, most of this will end up being public land, not by taking away, but that will probably be really the only alternative."

RESTORE's Board of Directors includes Abigail Avery, Honorary Vice President of the Sierra Club; Brock Evans, Vice President for National Issues, National Audubon Society; and Margaret Hays Young, Wildlife and Wilderness Chair, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. Both Audubon and the Sierra Club have advocated Federal acquisition and control over the smaller, 26 million acre version of the North Woods for several years.

Audubon's Brock Evans explained at a Tufts University environmental leadership conference, "I think it all should be in the public domain... As Michael [Kellet] said, there are some very distinct similarities between the emerging, what I'll call the Northern Forests Lands Campaign -- which is happening in northern New England right now and if I have anything to say about it from my national perspective, it will be an even bigger campaign in the next few years than the Ancient Forest Campaign we're just going through right now in the Pacific Northwest."

Evans urged his audience, "Be unreasonable. You can do it. Yesterday's heresy is today's common wisdom. It happens over and over again... So I would say let's take it back. Let's take it all back."

"Major priorities" of RESTORE include "expand public land ownership", "establish a system of nature reserves", "re-establish public control and allow only uses that restore and protect natural systems", "promote responsible management of private lands -- restrict ecologically destructive practices and encourage sustainable uses", and "make human communities ecologically sustainable -- ban toxics and non-renewables, reduce consumption, stabilize population."

In the expanded "North Woods Ecosystem", RESTORE wants to see "ancient [sic] 200 foot pines rising again," "wolf and cougar thriving", "rivers that were once damned flowing free to the sea," and "human communities that are once again in harmony with the natural world."

[Presumably, New York City will be allowed to remain, at least during the first phase, provided the population agrees to "ban non-renewables", "reduce consumption" and submit to "ecologically sound" breeding "stabilization" -- ed. ]