Streamlining a bureaucracy is always desirable. Destroying it is not. Unfortunately, our current governor appears to be slowly but increasingly working to dismantle our wondrous state park system.
The state parks are what lured us to Maine for retirement 20 years ago, and they have remained an important force in our lives. Magnificently diverse and amazingly affordable, they offer beauty, comfort, tranquility and places where young families and retirees can escape their daily stress.
And what has Gov. LePage done? First he weakened the stand-alone Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and dumped it into the Department of Agriculture, where this busy department has been forced to allow it to languish.
Now, he is trying to eliminate important positions and at the same time go to some contract services. As recent Press Herald coverage indicates, seasonal workers do more than mow the lawn. They help locate a lost child, guide an ambulance, answer visitor questions and so much more.
Park attendance throughout the state is way up year after year. For so many Mainers, our parks are our escape valve from our pressured lives and help restore us. (And, by the way, raising the season fee from $70 to $105 in one year makes it unaffordable to too many Maine families!)
We ask our legislators to please look at these issues, decline contract services, fill vacant positions and preserve our parks.
Sandra and Ole Jaeger