Paul LePage

A monumental task: Getting Mainers to support a new park

Among the empty storefronts on once-bustling Penobscot Avenue, longtime resident Jean McLean stood in her art gallery, the sole employee left at a business that once had three.

"Right now, it's pretty dead," McLean said, looking at the sunlit mountains of northern Maine. "All the young people left to find work."

This rural region is long on natural beauty and short on jobs after the back-to-back closings of paper mills that decimated the economy, sending young people fleeing, creating sky-high unemployment and shrinking property values.

Yet many residents have opposed a significant proposal aimed at helping: the new Katahdin Woods and Waters...