Letter: Public agrees with Beem on park

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Kudos to Edgar Allen Beem for his endorsement of a Maine Woods National Park. The only arguable inaccuracy was the statement that a new national park is unpopular among Mainers.

Last November Portland-based Critical Insights, an independent public opinion firm, conducted a statewide survey of voters. It revealed that 78 percent of them support the creation of additional public lands in the North Woods. Previous polling has also indicated majority support, specifically, for the creation of a new national park.

Each week brings more publicity about the proposed national park. One only has to Google “Maine Woods National Park” to find a flurry of recent activity that points to growing support among Mainers and people “from away” for a new “national something” in our North Woods. A Facebook petition that calls for a feasibility study of a new national park is gathering thousands of signatures – half of which are from Mainers. And a newly posted “Maine Woods National Park” video is on YouTube.

Maine’s politicians continue to evade increasing public calls for meaningful large-scale conservation of the North Woods but a broad-based citizens’ movement is afoot. While the State, logging industry, and some quasi-conservation organizations tout their “collaborative and innovative” approach to saving the North Woods (i.e., the “Great Maine Forest Initiative” and “Keeping Maine’s Forests”), the public has keenly observed that a key constituent has not been invited to the bargaining table: the public itself. Sooner than later the voice of national park supporters will become too loud to ignore.

Lou Demers