Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The Associated Press
AUGUSTA – Maine state officials say they are perplexed that the federal government has refused to let the state reopen a state-managed and state-funded park during peak foliage season because of the government shutdown.
Gov. Paul LePage said a U.S. Fish and Wildlife official told the state Friday that it could not reopen Cobscook Bay State Park in the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Edmunds even though he said the park is run and staffed by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Bureau of Parks and Lands.
The Obama administration has offered to let states foot the bill to reopen national parks.
The state says Cobscook Bay is operated through an agreement between the state and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The park closed on Oct. 1 and is the only Maine state park affected by the shutdown.
The Republican LePage called the decision to keep the park closed punitive and arbitrary.
“Here we have an opportunity to reopen a state park that never should have been closed in the first place. It is run, staffed and managed by the State of Maine with the tax dollars of Maine citizens,” he said in a statement on Friday.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could not be reached because of the shutdown.