By Kayla Binette, WCSH6 Staff
WCSH6 news story
BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — More than 200 businesses in the state are now in strong support of the proposed national park and national recreation area in the Katahdin region.
“I’m for this national park, primarily because there is going to be an economic benefit to the area, which is much needed,” said Joe Pratt, the owner of Sherman Wood Works.
The businesses in favor of the national park are mostly from the greater Katahdin and Bangor area, and they sent a letter to Maine’s congressional delegation Thursday morning, urging them to support the project. Part of the letter reads: “We believe a new national park and national recreation area near Katahdin could be an exciting destination that introduces visitors to Maine’s inland forests, rivers, wildlife and mountains, and the communities and businesses nearby.”
The land is currently owned by Roxanne Quimby, who has been trying to bring another national park to the state for about a decade. The plan includes 75-thousand acres for the national park, and another 75-thousand acres would be set aside for traditional uses, like hunting and snowmobiling.
This announcement comes after the Bangor City Council voted in favor of the concept earlier this week. Supporters said this proposed national park and recreation area would create up to one thousand jobs, which would strengthen the local economy.
“For me, it’s more about bringing Maine to the rest of the nation. Bringing our brand, what we have, that no one else has. Sharing it with the rest of the country, letting them have a piece of what we all love,” said Pratt.
“I think it’s a great benefit tourism wise. I can understand the peoples dismay about the park because the mills gone and the economy is changing, but as the song says, changes aren’t permanent but change is,” said Mike Turcotte, a supporter.
Those against the plan are concerned that the park isn’t the answer to the economic drop left behind by the closure of the mill and that the jobs created will only be seasonal.