AUGUSTA (AP) – Governor John Baldacci is letting a bill dealing with the management of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway become law without his signature.

Management of the Allagash region has been a long-standing source of antagonism between conservationists and people who live in area, and Baldacci did not want to appear as if he was taking sides by signing the bill.

However, the governor announced formation of a task force to recommend new ways to manage the northern Maine waterway, which he describes as a precious resource.

Maine’s Conservation Department now manages the waterway, and the governor hopes the task force will consider a plan to have it managed by a new oversight panel.

The bill Baldacci allowed to become law without his signature sets up a commission to make recommendations on the design of a bridge to replace the existing Henderson Brook Bridge across the Allagash.

It also eliminates crossing rights at the sites of two former bridges along the waterway.

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