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  • Thousands Join Conversation About a New National Park and Recreation Area

    Northern Maine, Photo by Ramona du Houx

    By Ramona du Houx

    More than 5,000 callers joined a telephone town hall tonight to discuss the details of a new proposal for a national park and national recreation area in the Katahdin region.

    Moderated by Gail Fanjoy, the president of the Katahdin Region Chamber of Commerce, and hosted by Lucas St. Clair, the president of Elliotsville Plantation Inc., the hour-long call gave an overview of the national park and recreation area proposal and answered questions from participants.

    “I’ve been talking to people all around Maine for three years about the park. Their ideas have helped to create the proposal we’ve been talking about today. It’s encouraging that so many people had an interest in the park that they were willing to spend part of their evening with us,” St. Clair said. “Support continues to grow as more people learn about the tremendous benefit a national park and national recreation area would bring.”

    The proposal for a national park and national recreation area has developed after listening to the concerns and questions of people living in the region.

    The park would be about 75,000 acres, with an adjacent 75,000-acre recreation area. The recreation area would permanently protect important snowmobile and hunting access. In addition, there would be no changes in clean air standards that could impact manufacturing in the region, including Millinocket and East Millinocket.

    The most common question about the park was the potential impact it could have on the economy of the state and the region.

    “The national park and recreation area would create between 450 and 1,000 jobs, while helping to diversify northern Maine’s economy,” St. Clair said. “Research confirmed by leading economists in Maine shows that a national park and recreation would have a positive impact without harming other parts of the economy, including the forest products industry or manufacturing. The data is clear that a national park can create jobs without harming other sectors of the economy.”

    Ben Alexander, the associate director of Headwaters Economics, also joined the call to answer questions about economic research his firm conducted that demonstrates the value of a national park and national recreation area and their positive economic impacts in other parts of the country. The research can be found at:http://headwaterseconomics.org/land/reports/katahdin.

    For more information about the proposal to create a new national park and national recreation area in Maine, visit: www.Katahdinwoods.org.