In May I attended a public listening session hosted by Sen. Angus King concerning the proposed national monument in Maine’s North Woods. National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis was impressive. He was astute, a good listener and enthusiastically responded to attendees’ comments and concerns.

Jarvis told the crowd emphatically that the lands straddling the East Branch of the Penobscot River are “absolutely” worthy of inclusion in the National Park system. He allayed fears about eminent domain, ensured the audience that snowmobiling and hunting would be protected in perpetuity, and relayed his personal experience working cooperatively with adjacent forest land owners at other national park units. Jarvis acknowledged the area’s unique landscapes and its role in shaping Henry David Thoreau and President Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation ethic.

By measure of applause and standing ovations, the nearly packed house at the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono was dominated by those who share Jarvis’s passion for historical and ecological preservation and his hope for a strengthened economy in the Katahdin region. Yet we’re all still waiting for King to endorse this outstanding opportunity for the people of Maine.

King has his own opportunity to make the Maine Woods National Monument part of his legacy and to work with President Barack Obama to make this monument happen. What better gift to give Maine this year, the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service?

Ron Joseph


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