A Republican representative’s proposal to divide Maine into two states--a southern state that would retain the current name and a northern state that would be known as Northern Massachusetts--has been rejected by a bipartisan group of 10 of the state's legislative leaders.
The idea was the brainchild of Rep. Henry Joy, who hails from the northern Maine town of Crystal. Joy claims the proposal was generated in response to the possibility that millions of acres of Maine’s North Woods may soon be protected from further development, which Joy says will force a “massive relocation of population out of the region.”
“The environmentalists have been working towards this for years,” said Joy in a March 9 press release announcing his proposal. “They plan to take 10 million acres in northern Maine and turn it over to the federal government…. They don’t want anybody up there,” he claims.
The North Woods preserve aside, Joy has proposed this idea before--several times, in fact. According to the new book “Lost States: True Stories Of Texlahoma, Transylvania, And Other States That Never Made It,” Joy first floated the idea in 1998, then again in 2005. According to author Michael J. Trinklein, the split was endorsed by north Mainers, who want to “shoot more fauna and chop more flora,” but rejected by southerners, who “would prefer that everyone enjoy more civilized activities, such as growing organic blueberries or hosting Shakespeare festivals.”
Back then some argued that the new (upper) state should be named Acadia, a much more sensible suggestion than North Massachusetts, as the hardscrabble folks in northern Maine don’t want to be associated with the uber-liberal state of Massachusetts in any way, shape or form. Never mind that “Maine used to be just a part of Massachusetts until 1820, when it was split off to form a new state,” notes Trinklein.