The 200 business owners agreed to support the proposed North Woods national park and recreation area if the federal legislation contains these conditions, which leading park proponent Lucas St. Clair has promised to support.

The conditions include:

—The project would be 150,000 acres, with a $40 million endowment to help pay for operations and maintenance;

—Include a National Park that would provide recreation opportunities such as hiking, camping, horseback riding, fishing and cross-country skiing;

—Include a national recreation area that would permanently protect access for hunting and snowmobiling, in addition to the activities allowed in the national park;

—Include snowmobile trails in the national recreation area, including a permanent north-south route and an east-west route, generally along existing ITS 85, ITS 83 and the existing Club Trail 114;

—Ensure that business and forest products industry activities in the region would be exempt from any new or additional Clean Air Act requirements;

—Ensure that the National Park Service would have no authority over timber harvesting outside the boundary of the national park and national recreation area, and would be prohibited from asserting a “buffer” of any kind;

—Ensure that any management plan honor and educate the public about the rich cultural logging heritage of the North Maine Woods;

—Require local timber be used for infrastructure, to the extent possible;

—Require the National Park Service to give preference to Maine-based companies for concession, outfitter and guide contracts and permits; and

—Ensure that Maine residents will have input on the project’s management plan through an ongoing advisory committee.

SOURCE: Lucas St. Clair