Note: The following comments were submitted to the Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency in response to the Environmental Impact Statement the agency is currently compiling.
Thank you for providing the opportunity to comment on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process regarding the proposed additional location for the Continental United States Interceptor Site (CIS) at The Center for Security Forces Detachment Kittery Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape Facility (SERE East), Redington Township, Maine.
The Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust was formed in June 2002 as an independent land trust for the purpose of acquiring and protecting the land surrounding the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in Maine for public benefit. The A.T. lands in the High Peaks Region of Maine represent some of the most diverse natural communities in the state and provide an important recreation resource. Maine A.T. Land Trust owns the land just east of the Appalachian Trail corridor on Saddleback Mountain and has interests in other properties in the High Peaks region. We are concerned that the locating of the CIS at the SERE East facility will adversely impact not only the Appalachian Trail itself (the corridor of which is surrounded by the facility for over two miles) but the surrounding natural landscapes and intact forest blocks which are integral to the region.
In our role of carrying out our mission to protect the land surrounding the Appalachian Trail, the siting of the CIS in such close proximity to the A.T. must be examined closely. At a minimum, approximately 350 acres in seven non-contiguous blocks would be converted from mature spruce/fir and mixed hardwood forest to CIS facilities. The facilities would have to be brightly lit around the clock and would be entirely powered by generators. Approximately 1200 to 1500 individuals would be operating the CIS. All of this activity would be occurring approximately one half mile from the most famous walking path in the world, in the midst of one of the longest stretches of the Appalachian Trail without a public road crossing (twenty miles).
The region in which the SERE East facility lies depends on outdoors tourism, and the Appalachian Trail is a considerable draw. But other aspects of outdoor recreation would also be effected by the CIS. Naturalists are concerned with the impact on wildlife habitat – those in the A.T. area are likely to have a significantly lower chance of seeing threatened or elusive species like the Bicknell’s Thrush or the Canadian Lynx. They will be concerned with water quality and the increased potential for industrial accidents. The SERE East facility also contains Redington Pond which is the source of Orbeton Stream – headwaters of an Atlantic Salmon which has just recently been successfully reintroduced.
The Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust is concerned that the choice of The Center for Security Forces Detachment Kittery Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape Facility (SERE East), Redington Township, Maine, as a site for the CIS would jeopardize the Appalachian Trail experience and environment. We request that you examine closely these and other impacts on the trail and the natural setting through which it passes in this region.