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The Northern Forest Alliance complained in a September 29th Associated Press story about property rights advocates crusading against the Northern Forest Stewardship Act. Andrea Colnes, director of the Alliance, said "We’re asking whether Congress can deliver: whether reasonable, well-thought-out initiatives have a chance against national political maneuverings."

Ms. Colnes, it sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.

The Northern Forest Alliance is made up of some 28 regional and national environmental organizations, but this is misleading. We can find no evidence that these groups help fund the Alliance, they just lend their name. According to a 1995 letter from the Appalachian Mountain Club, the AMC acted in 1994 only as fiscal agent for the Alliance. The funding was provided by the following "national" foundations:

Jesse B. Cox Charitable Trust $100,000
Pew Foundation $100,000
John Merck Fund (Rockefeller family) $46,000
Moriah Fund $30,000
Compton Foundation $25,000
Tortuga Foundation $25,000
American Conservation Association (Rockefeller) $19,000
Weeden Foundation $10,000

The Northern Forest Alliance has its origins in a National Park Service report
which targeted a hit list of 27 huge "landscapes" in Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont  in 1982. The "landscapes" included such regions as the "Catskills" in New York, the "Northeast Kingdom" in New Hampshire and Vermont, the "North Woods" in Maine and the "Washington County Coast" in Maine.

After Reagan was elected, the Park Service realized they would not get money for that kind of landgrab planning so they turned their research over to the National Parks and Conservation Association (NPCA), a Park Service surrogate environmental group set up by the first Park Service director in 1919.

NPCA came out with their grand plan for a massive takeover of the Northern Forests as well as many other areas of the country in 1988. The Plan urged "mega-conservation reserves in the northeast," called New England the "conservation challenge of the 1990’s" and proposed 8 huge new national parks in the Northern Forest region. Environmental groups used the NPCA plan as a map as they pushed for and guided the Northern Forest Land Study, largely staffed by Forest Service and other biased personnel.

Michael Kellet, who was New England director for the Wilderness Society at the time, told a Tufts University audience in 1990, "I think it’s likely this (26 million acres) will all end up, most of this will end up being public land, not by taking away, but that will probably be really the only alternative." It was this same Tufts conference where Brock Evans told the audience to go for it all (26 million acres).

In 1992, American Land Rights infiltrated a secret meeting of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, including some of the groups listed above. EGA is a secret group that holds closed meetings and guides funding by many of the nations large foundations.

Tapes of the various 1992 EGA meeting sessions were obtained, including one led by Chuck Clusen, formerly with the Sierra Club, Alaska Lands Coalition, Adirondack Council, and now the American Conservation Association, who said. "Throughout this period the environmental community across these four (northeastern) states, which really did not have a history of collaboration, has come together in a very large coalition called the Northern Forest Alliance and now has, I think 28 organizations. It has the major national groups, as well as the principal state groups of these four states."

"And I’ve been able, working with them over the last year and a half, one, on their development of political strategies and so on, but also to facilitate their development of a campaign plan very similar to the Alaskan situation as to a campaign that will probably go for at least a decade . . . "

"In many ways this is a much more complex situation because of the private ownership in total of eighty percent of these 26 million acres . . ."

"There’s no way we’re going to buy it all, unfortunately, although there is great interest in this Forest Legacy easement program (greenlining and partial buyouts) and also more traditional land acquisition, but that’s only gonna be part of the solution."

The NPCA and others ran into trouble in a battle with private property advocates in 1990 and began to hide behind regional and state groups (the Northern Forest Alliance) which includes groups such as:

Adirondack Council Appalacian Mountain Club Appalachian Trail Conference
Maine Audubon Society Green Mountain Club Conservation Law Foundation
National Audubon Society Environmental Air Force National Wildlife Federation
Trust for Public Land Assoc. For Protectionof Adirondacks Northern Forests Forum
Sierra Club Natural Resources. Defense Council Vermont Land Trust
Wilderness Society Student Environmental Action Coalition New York Rivers United
RESTORE the North Woods Natural Resource. Council of Maine Vermont Natural Resource Council

The Northern Forest Alliance and preservationists now agitate for Greenline parks (putting Federal and state land use controls around an area cutting off economic development) without using the word Greenline. They use soft terms of scenic euphemisms and romantic sounding "vision statements," attempting to build political momentum without having to state the actual nature of the laws and regulatory prohibitions they seek to impose. They try to avoid maps and other descriptions that show whose property is targeted. They try never to mention land acquisition or taking your property.

They target isolated regions and paper companies, incrementally building towards the more encompassing goals for the entire area in a piecemeal fashion, but acting at the moment like each piece is all they will ever want. They don’t really care what the Northern Forest Stewardship Act says because they know they’ll just come back and amend it later to create more regulation and land acquisition. They just need a boundary that they can start closing the noose around.



  1. The Northern Forest Alliance is saying they can’t win this year. This talk is designed to get you to let your guard down. Keep up your calls for field hearings. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to ask your Senators for field hearings.
  2. Keep calling your Senators to oppose a mark-up in the Senate Agriculture Committee. They need to know you are watching and that they will be held responsible if they try to sneak the Northern Forest Stewardship Act (S-546) through without you having a chance to have a hearing.
  3. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Keep it short. Focus on the fact that your Senator and Representatives have been unwilling to hold field hearings. Remember, any Senator or Representative can hold a hearing or listening session. He (or she) doesn’t need the permission or money of any committee. Don’t buy excuses. If they really want to hold a hearing, they’ll do it.

For More Information Contact:

American Land Rights Association
Tel: CompanyPhone
FAX: CompanyFAX

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