Support New National Park and Recreation Area

Acclaimed painter Frederic Church's rendition of Mount Katahdin in northern Maine.

Target: Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell

Goal: Establish a new national park on 150,000 acres east of Baxter State Park in northern Maine.

Elliotsville Plantation Inc. wants to donate up to 150,000 acres for a new national park on the east side of Baxter State Park in northern Maine. The idea has to be approved by local residents and finally, by the U.S. Congress.

The north woods of Maine have lost the paper mills that supported them for so long and the people who live there need jobs. Two public opinion surveys about a proposed new national park and recreation area in northern Maine show two to one support for the proposal. Even better, when it’s described in more detail, support rises to three to one as undecided voters jump in.

The idea is a scaled back version of an earlier and much larger proposal that frightened residents. The new version is now provoking interest and support from those who were once opponents. The Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce, where the park would be located, confirms what they characterize as a “sea change in the level of support” as people come to understand what it could mean for them. The Katahdin region is in desperate need of economic help and this projected park would create much needed jobs.

A national park can draw a lot of visitors who eat, sleep and enjoy recreation. Right now, Baxter State Park only receives about 63,000 visitors a year, but Maine’s Acadia National Park draws two million and supports over 3,400 jobs. Designation of a new national park in northern Maine could create 500 to 1,000 new jobs, and those are big numbers in Maine’s north woods.

The recession never ended in northern Maine and unemployment runs as high as 15 to 20 percent. In addition to donating the land, Elliotsville Plantation would also secure an endowment worth $40 million for operations and maintenance costs. That revenue would mean a great deal. A new park would help preserve the magnificent ecology of the region and create jobs for struggling residents. Sign our petition to demand that congress support this action.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Jewell,

Northern Maine has lost the mills that once supported its struggling population and unemployment runs 15 to 20 percent in the state. For these people, the Great Recession never ended. Elliotsville Plantation in northern Maine wants to donate up to 150,000 acres for a national park and secure an endowment of $40 million for operating and maintenance costs. That revenue would mean a great deal to this region while a new park would help protect its spectacular environment while creating new jobs.

Earlier attempts at creating a national park in northern Maine were not well received, but those proposals were far larger and the size frightened residents who thought it meant an end to the lifestyle they want. This new proposal, however, is much smaller and is being greeted with strong support. When it’s explained in some depth to residents, the response is three to one in favor. The Interior Department should get behind this visionary proposal that could accomplish so much in an area that is routinely ignored.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Painting Credit: Frederic Edwin Church

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