View from Maine's Baxter State Park.
Mention Roxanne Quimby, co-founder of Burt's Bees, among Maine conservationists, sportsmen, and outdoor enthusiasts and you're likely to hear some rather strong opinions.
She's a preservationist "from away" who wants to ban humans from the outdoors, some say. She's a visionary, like Governor Percival Baxter who bought and donated "forever wild" Baxter State Park to the people of Maine, say others. A 2008 Yankee magazine profile called her "the most controversial woman in Maine."
Quimby who sold her shares of Burt's Bees to an investors group and then Clorox for roughly $350 million total, has been buying acres of North Woods land in Maine for years with the intent of forever preserving it. In some cases she's removed or changed access rights for hunters and motorized vehicles. In recent years though, she's won over some of her most vocal critics (though not all) by reaching out with compromises.
Quimby ultimately wants to give 70,000 of her acres east of Baxter State Park to the federal government to create a Maine Woods National Park. Another 30,000 acres could become a state park, allowing hunting and snowmobiles.
Property rights, access, outdoor recreation, land preservation versus conservation, natural resources, and politics make for a complicated mix. Not only is Quimby a lightning rod, but so is the North Woods National Park concept.
According to an Associated Press article by David Sharp, Quimby would like to time her donation for the National Park Service's 100th anniversary in five years.
Read the AP article on Quimby's plans for the land.