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Bill granting Indigenous people free state park access gets unanimous committee approval

Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park in Freeport, Maine.
Peter Miller
via flickr
Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park in Freeport, Maine.

A bill that would give Indigenous people free access to state parks has passed a key Maine legislative committee.

The bill, introduced by Democratic state Sen. Craig Hickman, would simply allow members of federally-recognized tribes to visit and camp at Maine state parks for free.

The bill unanimously passed the legislature's Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation Committee. No one testified against it an earlier public hearing.

The Wabanaki Alliance, the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and others all said that the measure represents a small step by state government in recognizing unceded Wabanaki territory.

The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, which also supports the bill, estimated that it would have a minimal impact on revenue that the parks collect through day passes and campground fees.

The measure now faces additional votes in the House and Senate.