Dear Sen. Hamper, Rep. Rotundo, and members of Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee:
Thank you for the opportunity to submit written testimony in support of LD 924, An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Enhance State Parks.
Maine’s State Parks play an important role not only in preserving our state’s historic sites and most spectacular natural features, but also by making those places accessible to residents and visitors alike. LD 924 provides funding that is essential to ensuring that everyone can safely access and enjoy our State Parks. Our Parks help foster nature appreciation, promote outdoor recreation, and are vital to Maine’s economy. The outdoor recreation economy in Maine is estimated at $7.4 billion and supports approximately 94,000 jobs. The bond promises a high rate of return.
We offer one amendment: Remove funding for “water containment structures, including dams and locks” in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. At this time, there are no known details regarding potential reconstruction of the three existing dams on the waterway. Furthermore, no one has done a hydrological or biological study of the impact of the dams, on fish passage, the aquatic ecosystem, or recreational uses. We believe that there needs to be further study on potential impacts prior to any changes to the dam and lock system on the waterway, in order to preserve the waterway’s natural beauty and undeveloped character.
We urge you to vote Ought to Pass As Amended, with our suggested amendment, on L.D. 924.