If I were a high-paid consultant to Maine politicians, I would urge all hands to support a proposal out there for a Maine Woods National Park.

Elliotsville Plantation is ready to donate 150,000 acres of its land for a national park in a pristine wilderness due east of Baxter State Park. It’s a hugely generous offering that has not caused the furious opposition of earlier park proposals. Evidence of public and political support in the eyes of the National Park Service are needed to make it happen.

Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’ s First District is in support, and Sen. Angus King has it under consideration. I sense, rightly or wrongly, that Sen. Susan Collins is not as flat-out opposed to the idea as she has been to earlier national park initiatives. (King was opposed, too, when he was governor.) Gov. Paul LePage is in total opposition, though. The governor believes forest land is valuable only when it is logged, not when it is preserved as public parkland.

He ought to rethink that one. Maine’s natural attractions explain why tourism was a $5.2 billion industry in 2013, accounting for 88,500 jobs. Acadia National Park counted 2.5 million visitors who spent $192 million locally.

Nothing is for certain in politics, but I bet Maine office seekers who make the Elliotsville park proposal a centerpiece of their campaigns will find it a winner. Even Gov. LePage might see its endorsement as a way to improve his image. We won’t count on it, though.

Gordon A. Glover

South Freeport


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