Growing up, I didn’t know much about Maine, but I could see dark green lines around Acadia National Park and the Allagash National Wilderness Waterway and knew that those were places I wanted to visit. The “national” status literally put them on the map.

As a former chaplain and hotel employee in the national parks, I have seen their spiritual and economic value. National parks are places of beauty, refreshment and renewal not just for ourselves but for future generations to come.

On top of this, a national park in the Maine North Woods will use bring much-needed economic growth and business to Maine.

If you don’t believe me, ask the people of Mount Desert Island how things change when Acadia is closed for a few days.

While a new national park would bring jobs to Mainers, national parks aren’t just about those who live nearby. National parks are for all Americans, even those who never get to visit them or who spend a lifetime dreaming about doing so.

For many, Acadia is on the same bucket list as Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon. The Maine North Woods could be as well.

I urge our leaders to give a gift to the nation and to Mainers that will preserve the magnificence of our state forever.

A new national park and national recreation area is good for Maine and Mainers. On this year of the Park Service’s 100th birthday, it would put Maine on the map!

Benjamin Shambaugh

Portland