If I were to have my choice of all those jobs Gov. Paul LePage intends to “create” for Maine, I would sign up as his image maker. I’d do it not just for the formidable challenge, but because I know how I’d do it.
I would urge the governor to join Roxanne Quimby in advocating the establishment of a national park in Maine’s storied North Woods. Quimby is ready to donate 70,000 acres of the wilderness she owns to the federal government for that purpose.
Such a park, especially if it included Moosehead Lake, would be a gem, an absolute jewel in America’s national park system. More than that, it would provide economic diversity and jobs in a region that sorely needs both.
The governor does not believe in protected wilderness. Wilderness is valuable, he contends, only when it is logged or developed and is open to hunters and trappers and snowmobilers. Someone should point out that Acadia National Park, one of the smallest parks in the system, lures 2.5 million visitors a year, accounting for 3,500 jobs and $136 million in economic activity in the Bar Harbor area. Indeed, there is not a national park anywhere that is not similarly benefiting its region.
With Roxanne showing the way (she’s doing the hard part), the governor could launch a major economic initiative that would indeed create sustainable jobs. Here’s his chance to be remembered for something besides all the nasty things he has done and said.
Gordon A. Glover