We need a local approach to protecting the Maine woods, not a national park
To the Editor;
Here we go again! A recent column by Lee Ann Szelog about creating a Maine Woods National Park is like beating a dead horse. This idea was discussed years ago and never gained major support. Remember the Restore Boston bumper stickers?
The woods are protected more today than they were back then. The area can be protected without a national park and one simple way to do this is through conservation easements. A large area of the proposed national park is already protected using conservation easements to prevent development. Katahdin Forest, West Branch project and Pingree, just to name a few. The Appalachian Mountain Club, The Nature Conservancy, state of Maine and even the federal government own other large tracts.
Szelog uses the Central Maine Power corridor as one of the reasons to create a park, but from looking at the map of the proposed park, the CMP corridor is outside of the boundary!
Instead of letting the federal government take control of 3.2 million acres of the Maine woods, let us take a more local approach and protect land using conservation easements. Areas of particular natural value can be purchased outright by the state of Maine to protect.
As for public access, that can also be protected through conservation easements. Also, a large portion of the proposed park is managed by North Maine Woods, Inc. for recreational use, while still supporting the logging industry.
I agree the Maine woods need to be protected, but let us find a more local approach.