Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Letter to the editor
The letter ( "Does North Woods meet criteria for national park?," Sept. 28) asking whether the national park proposed by Roxanne Quimby has "natural characteristics" that qualify it for National Park System designation, raises fair questions.
In 1937, a reconnaissance team sent by the National Park Service director did an intensive survey of the region around Katahdin. The team recommended the designation of a 327,978-acre national park that included not only Katahdin, but also the lands proposed by Roxanne Quimby for national park designation.
In its report, the team wrote that it "unanimously agrees" that the proposed national park "is of national geologic and biologic importance and that it possesses outstanding supplemental scenic and historic values, all of which taken collectively, qualify the area for national park and monument system purposes."
The area proposed by Roxanne Quimby as a new national park qualified three-quarters of a century ago, and it still meets the criteria today.
Of course, the significance of the proposed national park land is enhanced by being adjacent to Baxter State Park and Katahdin. Indeed, the protection of this area would benefit Baxter Park by buffering it from development and including areas that were not originally included in Baxter State Park.
As for the question whether a new national park would attract more visitors to the region, several studies project a significant increase in visitation, because a national park would greatly raise the public profile of the area and offer high-quality education and recreation programs. The national park brand is so well regarded that it serves as a visitor magnet.
A new national park in the Katahdin region would be an environmental, economic and recreational boon to the area and to all of Maine.