Thursday, June 20, 2013
By Jonathan Riskind firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington Bureau Chief
(Continued from page 1)
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar peek into an aquarium containing trout and salmon during a visit Thursday to the L.L. Bean retail store in Freeport.
Robert F. Bukaty/The Associated Press
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar visited Maine to hear views on a proposal for a new national park and to highlight the economic benefits of outdoor recreation.
The Associated Press
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, also opposes the Maine national park proposal, although she said it should be up to the local community to decide what is best for the area.
Snowe said in an interview Wednesday that she is concerned about "subtracting land from multiple uses."
Rep. Mike Michaud, who lives in East Millinocket, near Baxter State Park, appears to be dubious about the proposal. He said in a prepared statement Thursday that "Maine has a proud tradition of supporting our outdoor heritage, and I've long been supportive of conservation efforts that maintain access for traditional uses. But right now, there are a number of questions about this proposal that still need to be answered."
Michaud could not attend the event in Millinocket because of a scheduling conflict, but said he wants "to hear more from the communities impacted by it. I'd also want to know specifically how it would impact local economies and effectively balance conservation with recreational access, local land management, and the needs of our local businesses and industries."
The Maine Legislature has passed a resolution opposing the proposal.
Park proponents say the Katahdin region suffers from a high unemployment rate and a foundering paper mill and forest products industry, and that a national park -- which Quimby has said she would endow with $20 million and then raise an equal amount -- would bring droves of visitors to the area.
Jarvis of the National Park Service noted in an interview that while there may be differing opinions about the park proposal, some controversy is often part of the initial discussion over a new national park. Even the creation of the Grand Canyon's national park was controversial, he said.
Jarvis said there is no similar East Coast forestland on the park service's roster, so he sees "a value in that type of place being protected," whether by the park service or other methods.
Salazar's visit to Maine is part of a five-day tour of New England. It also is part of an Obama administration rural-economy initiative during the August congressional recess, highlighted by the president's three-day swing through the Midwest.
Salazar said in Freeport that L.L. Bean is evidence of just how much impact outdoor recreation can have, citing the company's $1.4 billion in revenue and 5,000 employees, a number that company officials said rises to about 10,000 when part-time workers are added during the holiday season.
Collins said tourism generates one out of every five sales dollars in Maine, and that one in every six jobs in Maine is related to tourism.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
MaineToday Media Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Riskind can be contacted at 791-6280 or at: