Uniform TitleThe machine in the forest: a political ecology of snowmobiling and conflict in Maine's north woods
NameAndrews, Marguerite (author), Hughes, David (chair), Schroeder, Richard (co-chair), St. Martin, Kevin (internal member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
DescriptionIn Maine's north woods, a vast expanse of more than 60,000 square kilometers of mostly private, second-growth forestland, sweeping changes in land ownership and consequent large-scale conservation efforts have provoked a layered debate. Many residents of the woods have reacted vociferously against preservationist policies that aim to restrict practices such as hunting, motorized recreation, and timber harvesting on lands where they have lived, worked, and played for generations. The clashes in the forest are multifaceted, involving control over access and appropriate uses, disparate aesthetics and ideologies, and divergent constructions of both the landscape and rural livelihoods. In an effort to tease out and better understand these broader aspects of conflict, I explore the history and culture of snowmobiling, both generally and within Maine. Snowmobiling is one of several practices that north woods communities are identifying as traditional and attempting to preserve in the face of intensifying natural resource protection efforts and ensuing restrictions. I argue that opponents' framing of snowmobiling simply as a threat to forest ecologies can mask underlying ideological, aesthetic, and socio-cultural objections which also work to shape beliefs and policy regarding the place for humans and their various activities in natural areas. Dominant environmental discourses and expectations of human relations with nature are characterized by dualistic ways of thinking that situate nature/culture, rural/urban, and tradition/technology in separate realms. Thus I aim to establish linkages among these discrete categories and reveal how dichotomous frameworks effectively privilege certain practices and people, while silencing or dismissing local social, economic, and environmental relations and histories. However, this project of deconstruction and redefinition is not just my own. My research demonstrates that local residents of Maine's woods are not merely struggling for the retention of access points; more profoundly, they are advancing alternate discourses of nature, rurality, and tradition in a fight to defend and protect their livelihood(s) and culture(s).
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 105-115).
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.