Photo by: Steve Horne

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

To The Editor;

The front page of the April 27, 2004 Bangor Daily News headlined the wants of North Maine Woods National Park proponents for a feasibility study. The premise seems to be that the economy of Northern Maine needs to be "saved" by the creation of either a federal park, forest, or preserve.

This faulty logic presumes we want to be "saved" in this manner at all. I doubt if the owners and the workers of the wood products manufacturing companies in Piscataquis and surrounding counties wish to make such a selection any more than does a man sentenced to death wishes to choose the type of rope for his noose.

A far more productive process would be to follow up on the work of the Margaret Chase Smith Center, the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council, the Businesses for the Northern Forest, and the Governor's own Maine Woods Legacy Initiative to identify strategies which will improve and then sustain the economy of the Maine Woods region. These and other groups are actively developing and implementing strategies to diversify and to strengthen our economy.

Such strategies would include encouraging investment in the forest products economy; commercialization of new technology; adding value to existing manufacturing processes; and enriching and diversifying the recreational activities of visitors to the region. A data-based research project building on these efforts would help our region to grow stronger and more vibrant. All of this can and should be done without federal dollars and without contemplation of federal ownership. Let's put the best interests of the people of the Maine Woods region first for a change.

Respectfully,
John Simko
Town Manager, Greenville