Congratulations are in order for your admirable efforts in conserving land and forging a path for the creation of a new and massive national park in the state of Maine. In terms of vistas and outdoors recreational opportunities, we have a lot to offer Mainers and our friends "from away." I am confident that preserving land for public use will be a boon to Maine's economy. Capitalizing on our natural resources must be one of many strategies we employ to further progress our state.
However, political dialog has spiraled towards conversations about the very efficacy of government as a major actor in our world. Whether we agree with the message or not, that's the environment we live in. Consistently, government programs are at risk of being chopped. The National Park Service is not immune. We already face challenges from both our Senators, the Governor and the Maine State Legislature - a daunting political opposition. I have serious doubts about the sustainability of a new public park. Even if you are successful in passing ownership of your land over to the public - why run the risk of the park being closed and sold based on the whims of our finicky electorate?
I'd like to offer an alternative strategy in reaching you're ultimate goals of conservation, stewardship and invigorating our economy.
Despite the instability in Augusta and Washington D.C., we can be confident about the retention of our property rights for decades - if not centuries - to come. Open a private park. It's your land to do with what you want. Exercise your rights as an American. Fence it off, restrict motorized access, build a fancy information center, pic-nic areas, trails and just ignore those who disapprove. You have the money or could get the investors, as the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce supports you. Build your park, the way you envision it as a successful entrepreneur and environmentalist. Let's be honest - the park would probably be better off with you at the helm than if it was run by the Feds who face a huge debt crisis, possible shutdowns, etc. Giving your park to the government would be like giving more landline operations to Fairpoint Communications - it's not the right time.
I agree that turning your 70,000 acres into a public national park is a laudable goal. But consider the act - defying your opponents and creating a park on your own - a protest in the spirit of the famous anarchist and environmentalist Henry David Thoreau. Facing a resistant government and as a citizen with the means - just take it into your own hands and do it. Open the park privately first to demonstrate to the public, on your own terms, how successful it will be as an example of fine stewardship and a catalyst for further economic development in the area.
of Auburn, Maine