Headwaters Economics was tapped to put some data behind the potential economic impact of a national park or recreation area, or both, said Lucas St. Clair, president of the Elliotsville Plantation board and Quimby's son.
One study focused on a proposal of a 75,000-acre national park east of Baxter State Park and a similar-sized recreation area where hunting, snowmobiling and timber harvesting would be allowed.
The study found that opening all 100,000 acres to timbering would create about 50 jobs, compared to 455 to 1,055 jobs that could be created through a combined national park and national recreation area, Alexander said.
Another study compared 16 similar communities in the U.S. adjacent to a national park, a recreation area, or a combined national park and recreation area. The study found that communities near national parks have a more diversified economy with high-paying service jobs, Alexander said.
St. Clair said he's listening to people's concerns and is willing to make adjustments. The idea of setting aside part of the land for "traditional uses" of recreation and lumber operations came through listening to critics of the original proposal, he said.
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