This week I signed LD 2015, what has come to be known as “the Katahdin Lake bill”. This legislation clears the way for the completion of Governor Percival P. Baxter’s dream of including Katahdin Lake in Baxter State Park.
|Governor John Baldacci (front) Buzz Caverly, Rep. Joanne Twomey (D) Biddeford|
We started this journey nearly 3 years ago, at Daicey Pond in Baxter State Park. I was asked why Maine had never acquired Katahdin Lake, shown on a 1921 map as part of the original park plan. We then began this project, negotiating first with the owners, Irving Woodlands, and then with the Gardner family of Lincoln, who bought the parcel in late 2003.
Our goal was simply to bring this lake, described by Baxter as “among Maine’s most beautiful, which abounds with trout”, into the park, and to complete Baxter’s vision. We wanted to preserve this small gem – only 6015 acres – for all Mainers and visitors to Baxter State Park to enjoy forever. The passage of this legislation, after marathon sessions in committee and by an overwhelming majority in both the House and Senate, brings us closer to that goal.
Maine is a very special place. Certainly to those of us who live here, but also to the millions that visit us – or wish they could live here. Our outstanding natural resources provide world-class outdoor recreation, and the raw material for our world-class forest products industry. Katahdin Lake is among the most special places in Maine. The view of the lake from the Knife Edge Trail has inspired countless hikers. The view of Katahdin from across the lake has inspired dozens of landscape artists. Soon, the view from Katahdin Lake will inspire thousands more.
There is still work to be done. More than $11 million must be raised – all from private donations – before Katahdin Lake becomes part of Baxter State Park. Using private funds was Governor Baxter’s method of acquiring the lands that make up the Park, and it will be our method. Through our efforts, Maine people will add another jewel to Baxter’s brilliant necklace – to be Maine’s for all time.