Katahdin Lake bill advances

0

AUGUSTA (AP) – A bill authorizing a land deal that would add more than 6,000 acres to northern Maine’s Baxter State Park was endorsed Wednesday by the House, setting the stage for a final round of legislative votes.

The measure to add acreage in the so-called Katahdin Lake area won initial approval by a lopsided 115-29 House vote Tuesday. On Wednesday, representatives added an amendment to ensure that wildlife habitat in state lands being sold as part of the transaction be replaced in the newly acquired park land.

The bill also includes language to settle a dispute over how the land can be used by allowing hunting and snowmobiling in one section, and barring those types of activities in the other.

The Katahdin Lake area is directly east of Baxter State Park. Gov. John Baldacci has called the Katahdin Lake land purchase Maine’s most significant conservation project in a century.

The $14 million deal involves no public money. Legislative action is needed because it involves the transfer of state-managed public lots to the company that now owns the Katahdin Lake area.

The House on Wednesday rejected an amendment that would have set an Aug. 1 deadline to collect the private money needed for the transaction.

In other action of interest in northern Maine, the House gave initial approval to a bill that seeks to limit access points to the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.

Advertisement
SHARE