Adapted from Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary'' column in GoLocal24.com
Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a very Tea Partyish politician, has asked President Trump to reverse President Obama’s designation of 87,500 acres given by businesswoman Roxanne Quimby to the National Park Service as the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Presidents have long had considerable power to protect such federally owned scenic and otherwise important areas by designating them as National Monuments.
Mr. LePage, an entertainingly grumpy Republican elected twice by a minority of voters because of Maine’s hoary tradition of having strong third-party candidates, wants the acreage to be returned to private ownership and opened for big recreational developments, resort hotels, snowmobilers and so on.
It would be nice if Mr, LePage, et al., would focus on economic development on, say, the vast expanses of vacant parking lots around empty big box stores.
That could despoil a gorgeous area just to the east of Baxter State Park, where rises spectacular Mt. Katahdin, the highest mountain in the Pine Tree State at 5,267 feet. (I have climbed it and walked along the Knife Edge at the top. Bring your anti-vertigo pills if you try it!)
Let us hope that President Trump respects Ms. Quimby’s intentions and the precedent that presidents have the authority to set aside such land.