The late lamented primary elections featured 11 candidates for governor of Maine singing pretty much in unison. They promised to keep the economy and jobs, jobs, jobs front and center if elected.
They managed to do this without once mentioning the state’s top job engine, the $10 billion- to $13 billion-a-year tourism industry that accounts for 140,000 jobs.
Much less did any of them come up with a constructive idea for protecting or conserving the landscape which lures all those out-of-state folks to Maine during every season of the year. For example, there is an idea out there to study the feasibility of creating a national park to protect the Moosehead Lake wilderness and the headwaters of all five of the state’s major rivers. The park would provide economic diversity and jobs in an area that is sore need of both.
Good idea, that one. Is there a national park anywhere that is not benefiting the economy of its region? Acadia National Park is a convenient example. A Michigan State University study four years ago found the park generating $13.5 million annually in economic activity, accounting for 3,400 jobs in direct and indirect employment. As the state’s top tourist destination, Acadia welcomes 2 million visitors a year.
Your Edgar Allen Beem has endorsed the park idea. I hope he’ll return to the topic during the current election campaign. Maybe he can shame the candidates into arguing about something less nutty than whether creationism should be taught in our schools.
Gordon A. Glover