Zogby poll finds Maine voters support partnerships for preserving areas for parks and timber land
Bangor, Maine – As the Administration wraps up the America’s Great Outdoors public listening sessions throughout the country, the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), today released a new poll that reveals strong support by Maine voters for protecting an additional large tract of land within Maine’s North Woods.
“From the Allagash River to Mount Katahdin, the North Woods are a unique and irreplaceable treasure of national significance that Maine’s voters overwhelmingly think should be protected for future generations,” said Alexander Brash, NPCA Northeast senior regional director.
According to the new poll conducted by Zogby International, nearly 90 percent of Maine voters support a collaborative public private partnership to preserve an area within Maine’s North Woods as a mix of protected and working lands. The Zogby poll, which surveyed Maine voters, found that:
•78 percent would prefer that the Maine Woods be kept as a mixture of timber land and parks;
•75 percent of the voters support setting aside 10–20 percent of the Maine Woods for a public park; and
•77 percent support the creation of a new type of national park that is created in partnership with the state of Maine.
Maine Woods is home to hundreds of miles of beautiful rivers, lakes, and wetlands, and is one of the nation’s premier reservoirs of biological diversity, providing habitat for a variety of iconic wildlife. The roughly 10 million acres of trees are the largest remaining undeveloped forest east of the Rocky Mountains.
“NPCA strongly believes that Maine’s North Woods are nationally significant and deserve national support,” said Alexander Brash, NPCA Northeast senior regional director. “Over the last 20 years, a number of new park management models have emerged, with some parks jointly managed as state and national parks and others as national recreation and national heritage areas. Such parks are now managed by those who use them and those who live near them.”
NPCA and Maine voters agree that Maine’s North Woods are large enough to include both a major sustainable timber industry as well as a larger park unit that would broaden and strengthen the region’s local economies and provide great recreational opportunities, connecting America’s families to the great outdoors, and attracting additional tourism to northern Maine.
In addition to the poll findings, a recent study commissioned by NPCA found that every federal dollar invested in national parks generates at least four dollars of economic value to the public. National parks support $13.3 billion of local private-sector economic activity and 267,000 private-sector jobs. Another study has shown that residents in rural counties that have national parks support population, job, and income growth rates at least twice as fast as the national average.
“Maine’s North Woods should serve the state and nation as a large living landscape complete with a robust and sustainable timber economy, an expanded infrastructure for tourism, and complemented by a major park component. Together, these elements will maintain a historic way of life, will attract tourists and boost the local economy,” said Brash.
A collaboration of landowners, timber interests, conservation groups and public agencies should begin a conversation about protecting the Maine Woods that includes a sustainable timber industry, the protection of natural resources, preservation of wildlife habit, abundant recreational opportunities, and a strong economic boost to local communities.
NPCA urges stakeholders to listen to the public and re-evaluate the importance of creating and protecting areas to be included within the Maine Woods’ boundaries for our children and grandchildren to enjoy. The Zogby poll proves residents of Maine share this vision and strongly believe that we must act now to protect the Maine Woods before areas are divided and this national treasure is lost forever.
¹The Economic Impact of the Proposed Maine Woods National Park & Preserve. 2001. Prepared by Thomas Michael Power, PhD. Published by Restore: The North Woods. Hallowell, ME
About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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