In his Aug. 8 Maine Compass (“Quimby’s ‘big idea’ still a bad idea; she gets no national park as legacy”), Jim Robbins stretches the bounds of credibility when he suggests a limited-access state park is somehow comparable to a new national park and national recreation area in the Katahdin region.

National parks are known around the world. They are marketed and advertised; they are iconic. And in every case where one exists, the neighboring communities see benefits.

Robbins scoffs at Baxter State Park providing “only” 87 full-time jobs and suggests that the number of jobs created by a new national park would be insignificant. We need every single one of those jobs, and every job created matters to those of us living here.

Kids are leaving because they can’t find work. Our schools are struggling to keep from closing. We can’t afford to keep the sewer working. And people are abandoning their homes. Who is Robbins to say we have to accept this dismal status quo and say no to “only” 87,500 acres and a $40 million endowment?

A national park and national recreation area won’t solve all these problems. But they would be the building blocks for a better future, and certainly part of the solution.

The forest products industry and national parks are successful neighbors around the country. It’s a false choice to say we must choose one or the other. I want both.

Jessica Masse


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