Steve Wight’s guest column (July 10) completely ignores the negative impact the proposed North Woods National Monument would have on Maine’s Baxter State Park.

He refers to the attractions of the national parks and national forests he has seen. I, too, have visited many national parks, all of which offered something very spectacular, unique or rare, such as Acadia, Yosemite, the Grand Tetons and Olympic National Parks.

The proposed national monument has nothing spectacular, rare or unusual to offer the public.

If the proposed donation were located in Washington or Aroostook counties, for example, there would be little or no interest by the public. What the donor is offering is Maine’s Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin as the focal point to attract visitors. How many tourists are going to spend time in the woods or on a river when they can see Mount Katahdin just a few miles away?

Baxter State Park was donated to the state of Maine as a forever-wild park. From what I have heard from recent hikers, many of the trails are already overused and need to be relocated. The parking areas and camp sites are at capacity, so any huge increase in uses would destroy the park as it is known. The fragile mountain cannot withstand a huge influx of tourists and remain a wilderness.

I noticed that news articles about the proposed national monument always show more views of Mount Katahdin than of the proposed donation.

A national monument or park adjacent to Baxter State Park could easily destroy a priceless gem owned by the people of Maine. If the proposed donors are serious about preserving and protecting their land, they could donate it to the state as a state forest, where hunting, fishing and timber harvesting would be allowed.

Fred Huntress Jr., Poland Spring


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