All Maine Matters

January 2006



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The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlands Project
by Marion Campbell

In the 1950s, The Nature Conservancy was a small Virginia-based organization funded by its members in order to preserve land for botanical and zoological study. It remained that way until Patrick Noonan took over in 1970. It was he who changed the focus of the organization to the secretive, manipulative, land grabbing entity it is today.

Acting in secret, and with money obtained from grants from wealthy family foundations, Noonan bought 14 of the 18 Virginia Barrier Islands, by creating a bogus front company. It was his idea to develop them into upscale vacation homes. To make way for the acquisition of the oceanfront lots for these homes, TNC “saved” the islands by “protecting” the shores from human intrusion so that those who lived nearby lost their livelihoods when their seafood and vegetable processing plants were forced to close. This caused an economic disaster and deepening poverty as opulent homes replaced what the locals had had before.

TNC further exacerbated the situation by creating another front group called Virginia Eastern Shore Corporation, which vowed to “fix” the problem by creating tourism businesses, craft shops and small real estate businesses. It was an utter failure, millions were lost, and poverty only deepened. The area lost taxable property to conservation, and the locals were prevented from accessing the islands. Since then, TNC has been taken over by the big money interests and has developed a network of wealthy family foundations such as Rockefeller, Mellon, and duPont, plus others, as well as industry giants such as Amoco, Ralston-Purina, and more.

Under its present chairman, Steve McCormick, head of its Board of Governors, it has become the wealthiest and most powerful land acquisition agent in the world. Famous people, from all walks of life, retired politicians and much of the national media support them. The Nature Conservancy is also the richest environmental organization in the world with approximately $3 billion in total assets. Much of this has been accumulated from sales to the government and others of strategically acquired lands, and every penny they make from their land deals is tax-exempt.

This wealthy environmental organization controls more than 90 billion acres of land worldwide, with more than 12 million acres in the U.S. alone. Much of this land was acquired during the 1990s with the cooperation of Bill Clinton, Al Gore and their Department of Interior secretary, Bruce Babbitt.

A Clinton executive order ensured that activist environmental organizations such as TNC were immune to all lawsuits.

The stated mission of TNC is “to preserve the plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.” With the help of private grants, TNC was able to leverage matching government funds in order to increase their power and control over the people by purchasing, then locking up the land. As with all radical environmental organizations, they “save” the environment and destroy the people.

In 1974, The Nature Conservancy science division developed a database that collected information on specific tracts of real estate, biodiversity inventories, areas in need of protection, biological legal monitoring, and critically threatened species.
This databank operates as a network of information that can be accessed by governments, natural resource agencies, corporations, researchers, academics and others from all over the world. TNC is now able to spread, worldwide, their gross misrepresentations of the truth of city people in order to continue to diminish the rights of private landowners and resource workers.

Since their first success in Virginia, TNC has always worked quietly behind the scenes, while politicians and land-use bureaus, both federal and state, become their front men. In every community targeted for land acquisition or economic destruction, a TNC operative moves in. They are well-educated and charming, and their job is to seek out the weaknesses that they can exploit. They become close to the people in the community, join their clubs, and volunteer in social programs -- all the while making their plans to betray the people’s trust. When the land is acquired through sale, coercion, or condemnation, they leave. Behind them, they leave economic ruin, desolation, and human despair.

The Nature Conservancy and other “Wildlands Project” activists are using the United Nations and other socialist leaning nations to manipulate the entire human population that will be forced to evacuate their homes and live in small, confined colonies while animals run free.

As they have done since their inception, “saved” areas are taken over by wealthy elites who will enjoy the freedom of big game hunting, fishing expeditions, ecotourism, and private real estate including farms, all at the right price of course, for those who can afford it. Their atheist/socialist belief is that nature can be protected if the “common” people can’t afford any of it.

There is a definite comparison between TNC’s actions involving the Virginia Barrier Islands and what has been developing within the Katahdin Region and beyond. Fore more than a decade, they have worked hard to bring down natural resource economies from Alaska to the lower 48 states. Now it’s Maine’s turn.

As in the other places TNC has “saved,” they are working with politicians, corporations, state and federal land-use agencies, and other environmental groups, while their front organizations as well as their well-educated, charming operatives have been given their orders. Their target is, as it has always been, the resource economy and the citizens of this region.

The Nature Conservancy is very good at what it does. Mr.. McNeil, a member of TNC’s Board of Trustees, and other board members of MAGIC have been meeting secretly with TNC and the Wilderness Society, even as they claim that MAGIC is there for the region’s “growth and development.”

Most area people now realize that the board of this so-called development organization has provided very little of either growth or economic development since the mills went down.
Could it be that this is a TNC front group that has been set up to stop economic growth in the region? The Pine Tree Development Zone designation and the grant monies do not seem to be used for the benefit of local people. Where has the money gone? Why is the area regressing, despite the self-congratulatory “success” stories in the newspapers?

On another front, why is it that Matthew Polstein has been accorded the privilege of purchasing his lease, plus an adjoining parcel of land, while the rest of the camp owners of Millinocket Lake, and the rest of the Pemadumcook chain of lakes has been refused the same privilege?

I am sure that area people have plenty of questions of their own that need to be answered. The place where they need to be asked -- and asked often -- is at Council meetings.
If the citizens of the area do not become proactive in planning the area’s future, we could well experience the “fix” that destroyed Virginia’s coastal communities, as well as many more communities in other rural areas of the country.

As in every community that TNC takes over, the community is destroyed, and the wealthy elites move in. An elderly person who has lived in the community for more than 90 years said recently, “Piece by piece, they are taking away everything that we had.”

Despite the denials by MAGIC’s members of the truth of this statement, most people do know what is being done to them.

Editor’s Note: MAGIC is a nongovernmental organization engaged in implementing United Nations Agenda 21 (Sustainable Development) in the Millinocket area. Matt Polstein is its cofounder.

Marion Campbell lives with her husband in Millinocket. Both serve on the Board of Directors of the Maine Leaseholders Association.

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