PORTLAND — Environment Maine this afternoon applauded the President for recognizing the value of and need to protect Acadia National Park and other prized places in his America’s Great Outdoors report released Wednesday.
The report highlights findings from the administration’s listening sessions in Bangor this summer and across the country, where the public was asked for suggestions on how to protect the places they value most.
“With more than 100,000 people from around the country weighing in, and thousands of people attending listening sessions supporting America’s Great Outdoors, it’s clear that people love places like Acadia National Park,” said Nathaniel Meyer, field associate with Environment Maine. “We are thrilled to see the administration taking interest in protecting the places Americans care about most. After all, one of the most prominent is here in Maine.”
Since last April, there more than 50 listening sessions around the country, including one in Bangor last September. Environment Maine took the opportunity to highlight the need for additional federal funding to protect Acadia National Park. Over the course of the summer, Environment Maine’s staff talked to more than one in 10Mainers about the threat at Acadia, collected more than 1,600 public comments, and mobilized Mainers to attend the listening session in Bangor to urge Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and President Obama to make protecting Acadia a top priority.
“It was a wonderful experience to be able to raise my voice in support of a place that is clearly loved deeply by Mainers,” said Elana Kintzer-Shorey, an activist with Environment Maine. “I moved to Maine permanently a few years ago, and last summer heard tons of stories from people who grew up camping in Acadia, or got married there, or spent their honeymoon hiking there. I’m going to be in Maine for a long time, and I can’t imagine living here without being able to continue having those experiences.”
Although Acadia represents some of the best of Maine, as Obama experienced on his vacation there last fall, the future of Acadia is at risk, since the park does not have the resources to permanently protect the 1,000 acres of privately held land within Acadia’s boundary, as the land comes up for sale.
The President’s report highlighted the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the source of funding for land acquisition at Acadia. Despite the critical need for these funds to protect Acadia and other cherished places in Maine and across the country, year after year Congress diverts hundreds of millions of dollars from the LWCF to other budgetary purposes. In the America’s Great Outdoors report, the President recommends fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The full report and additional information is available at www.americasgreatoutdoors.gov.
Environment Maine is a state-based, citizen funded, nonprofit environmental organization working to protect clean air and water, preserve Maine’s natural heritage, and move the state toward a clean energy economy.