Sketchy Economic Development 

As mentioned earlier, the town is severely restricted in size, and there is no available land that is not owned by the paper company - a company which, having changed hands several times since its Great Northern days, is reluctant to sell land to anyone likely to employ people at a decent wage, and they seldom sell land at all.

Throughout most of the history of Millinocket, a child could graduate from Stearns High School one day and report for work in the mill the next, where he could be assured of lucrative employment for the all of his working life, but he couldn’t buy an acre of land within driving distance of his hometown.

If he were intelligent, hardworking, and thrifty, he might be able save enough money to start his own business, but couldn’t find land in Millinocket on which to locate his business.

The town is now suffering from its lack of diversity in employment opportunities. 

When the mills closed in 2002, and remained closed for more than a year, its workforce was forced to seek employment elsewhere, in a state that has itself suffered great economic devastation from too many years of mismanagement.

The mills in Millinocket and East Millinocket have since reopened under new ownership, closed, reopened, and closed again. They have promised to employ several hundred hundred people, many of whom do not feel confident in the future.

And there is nothing else. Large amounts of money, appropriated from local, state, federal, and private funding sources, intended for economic development, have instead been used up on eco-tourism schemes that have served to benefit only a few, and mostly those who were closely associated with the agencies set up to administrate these funds, who are themselves working in concert with outside environmental interests.

© Michelle Anderson 2005-2014