Apparently the folks around Millinocket are afraid of a national park's being created in that area.
I'm not sure why. Perhaps they're not familiar with Acadia National Park. That park definitely helps the economy, I don't know how many jobs are created by local folk because the park makes that possible.
I understand that about three million people visit the park each year. Those three million also spend a good bit of money in the area. Many of the owners of the affected businesses spend summers near Acadia and winters in Florida. Wonder why? That's where all the visitors are, Acadia in summer and Florida in winter.
I drove a bus for about 15 years in and near the park. I never heard any locals complain that the park didn't encourage jobs. Now it's true that not all those jobs paid a lot. But a lower-wage job is a lot better than no job.
From time to time, tourists asked me what else there was in Maine to see. Interestingly, tourists visit mostly two spots in Maine, L.L. Bean in Freeport and Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island. I recall once drawing a map of Maine on a sheet of paper and giving it to a couple interested in seeing what else there was in Maine.
That map showed Baxter State Park, then took them west to Greenville, then on west, ending at the New Hampshire border.
"Plan for several days for this trip," I suggested.
They left, headed first no doubt for Baxter State Park. I'll bet they spent some money in the towns around Baxter. Then, I'll bet they spent some money in Greenville and in other places in the Pine Tree State.
My guess, knowing what I do about Acadia National Park and the towns surrounding it, is that a national park in northern Maine would bring visitors and their money.
Now you folks in Millinocket and that area feel bad that the mills have closed. But those mills are not coming back. If all those folk in Europe had decided that America would not provide anything good for them, I'll bet they would have stayed in Europe. I suspect not many of their descendants wish they were living in Europe.
The way to the future is by taking advantage of opportunities.
I am convinced, having worked in and around Acadia National Park for years, that a national park will help you folk in that area.
I'm sure the park will not grab adjoining or nearby land. I'm sure the park will not try to interfere with your lives and your making a living. I'm sure the park will bring visitors and money to your area. I'm guessing some of you will even enjoy a national park in your area.
From my experience and a good job since 1999, I'd suggest you try the park.
Doing nothing will bring you nothing. A national park will likely bring you good things.
Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Milton M. Gross Copyright 2014