Last summer, my friend Steve and I bike-toured on the land proposed to be Maine’s next national park. We loaded up cross bikes (imagine a sturdy road bike, with durable tires) and traversed the land from south to north, following old logging roads through this magnificent piece of Maine’s north woods.

I’m writing to advocate for the designation of this land as a national park and national recreation area, in the hope that this land can be conserved for future generations and used to help stimulate the economy of the Katahdin region.

I ride dirt road events of this type throughout New England. In fact, I’m a bit obsessed with this type of riding, and I am not alone. I believe that a national park designation for this area would highlight this tremendous network of trails and would attract riders like myself from near and far.

During our trip last summer, we met a cyclist from Texas who was enjoying riding the same old roads. A national park designation would highlight this area for others interested in backwoods bicycle touring.

In many ways, this trip was a transformative experience for me. The wildlife, the historic roads and trails, the difficulty of the journey; all have provided an experience that has stayed with me.

I’m planning a presentation of my trip in conjunction with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and my local New England Mountain Bike Association chapter. There is interest in southern Maine, New Hampshire and Boston in exploring the north woods of Maine by bike.

We are launching http://grvl.net/ this spring to support the community for this type of riding in New England and beyond. I want to inspire others to plan their trip – they will enjoy the land as much as I did.

Dan Blickensderfer

South Berwick