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Page 46 3 MISSION To provide the visiting public with high quality traditional outdoor recreational experiences that are compatible with providing renewable forest resources which sustain approximately 20 of Maines economy. Forest recreation when managed properly is compatible with harvesting forest products. In the early 1970s user fees were initiated to help landowners recover part of the management costs related to accommodating public visitors to their lands. Before the North Maine Woods NMW organization was created separate landowners had their own regulations and fee schedules for use of their lands. Travelers might have passed through two or three gates or checkpoints to get to their destinations and paid separate fees on each stop. In 1971 with the agreement between landowners to form NMW a day use sea- son registration for Maine residents was set at 2. Landowners also imposed a self assessment to fund the start up of the North Maine Woods program. The self assessment share was based on the owners percentage of acres within the designated North Maine Woods area. During the period between 1971 and 1986 these assessments amounted to nearly three quarters of a million dollars. Since then increased usage prudent management and modest fee increases have allowed the program to become self sufficient. Although annual assessments have ceased landowners still absorb many costs. They provide staff time on the various operating committees donate profes- sional services of draftsmen soil evaluators and others donate use of construc- tion equipment and maintain thousands of miles of roads which receive wear and tear from public travel. History of North Maine Woods For more than 45 years steps have been made to increase visitor comfort and satisfaction with the facilities. Improvements made in the campsite program include better maintenance of campsites along with the creation of new ones. Public communication is ad- dressed with NMWs own publications as well as articles in other publications to enable our visitors to better understand our goals and objectives. Visitor use has always occurred without any advertising by NMW and this is thought to be due in part to the favorable experiences of our recreational users spreading the word after returning home from their visits. Additional use is not promoted because the area is not like a park commercial campground or other area designated specifically for recreational use. This benefits users by keeping the NMW from get- ting overcrowded. All visitors help defray operating costs. Even the landowners and their staff members pay the regular user fees when visiting the area for recreation. NMW staff also pay their own camping fees. Fees for each activity pay for the management of that activity. In general all day use fee collections offset costs for operating the checkpoint facilities. Recep- tionists are available at convenient times for visitors to enter the area. Guid- ance brochures and information are provided. Trash bags are provided to help prevent litter in the area. Receptionists also assist parties with emergencies and provide information to game wardens looking for sportsmen to relay emergency messages from home. Camping fees collected are dedicated to maintaining and developing facilities used by campers. Our travel costs are similar to those of visitors. If all 350 campsites were located on 20 acres as with most campgrounds NMW camping fees would be lower. Staff frequently travel 30 to 40 miles between campsites. Fees from the bear bait site management program are dedicated in part to managing this program. NMW staff works with wildlife biologists game wardens landowner foresters guides and hunters to manage the locations of bait sites to minimize conflicts in our working forest. Management contracts established over the years with the Allagash Wilderness Waterway the Bureau of Parks and Lands and members of the KI Jo-Mary Multiple Use Forest provide just enough income to offset costs for managment. Under Maine law NMW is established as a non-profit corporation. There are no stockholders no profit sharing and no dividends. None of the fees collected at checkpoints are distributed to the landowners in this program. Income is budgeted to meet expenses and fees reflect this arrangement. photocourtesyPaulNadeauLogging Purpose of User Fees