AUGUSTA (AP) – Gov. John Baldacci has signed into law a bill that establishes a Pine Tree Recreation Zone in a region north and east of the Androscoggin River.

The new law is aimed at attracting, developing and retaining natural resource-based industries and tourism in that region of Maine.

In its original form, the legislation proposed tax incentives for new hotel, resort or sporting camps in that block of the state.

As enacted, the new law directs the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development to hold meetings with representatives of nature- and farming-based businesses to develop a plan for attracting and keeping that segment of business. Incentives would include state grants and loans.

State Rep. Stan Moody said the most important element of the bill to him was establishing the zone itself.

“It sets it apart as a second Maine,”‘ said Moody, D-Manchester. “It made a definitive statement about attracting natural resource-based small businesses.”

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