When I think about congressional champions for the environment and fighting climate change, Sen. Angus King often comes to mind. So it is surprising and disappointing that he’s not showing the leadership demanded by the vast majority of his constituents to help create a national park or monument in Maine’s Katahdin region.

I spent the last week researching the history of national parks for work, and it is the words of Teddy Roosevelt that have stayed with me: “The time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.”

It is time again to consider what is lost when we fail to protect these last corners of wilderness.

As citizens, we own a piece of the over 84 million acres managed by the National Park Service. These are places where we are invited to put away our electronics and open our eyes and ears to a piece of the world that looks much like it did many thousands of years ago. We are invited to revitalize our spirits and to see a starry sky untouched by light pollution.

For Roosevelt, the time he spent in Maine’s North Woods is what first inspired his conservation ethic.

These are invaluable moments that future generations here in Maine and beyond deserve to experience.

It’s a promise we must make.

I strongly urge Sen. King to rethink his position and join Rep. Chellie Pingree in providing leadership to quickly and thoughtfully advance the designation of a national park or monument.

Jesse Nankin


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