Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 24 : Spring 2015 - Page 52

As I traveled around the state and talked to people, one thing became clear. Earlier notions of a 3.2-million acre national park weren’t feasible. It was outsized for the region and impractical. The national park and national recreation area configuration has the potential to create between 400 and 1,000 jobs, breathing new life into a region that has suffered greatly as the northern Maine economy has shifted away from manufacturing. But the proposal also recognizes the importance of the forest products industry and is built to both honor the heritage of the working woods and to exist in harmony with it going forward. Right now, Elliotsville Plantation Inc., a private operating foundation, owns more than 100,000 acres that would be used to create the national park and recreation area. In addition, the foundation has guaranteed that in addition to giving the land for the park and recreation area to create the park, it would also establish a $40 million endowment to support the ong