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On September 13, 2016, the Crystal Serenity, a cruise ship with over one thousand passengers, arrived in Bar Harbor, Maine. The 790-foot ship would not be an unusual sight in Downeast Maine this time of year but for the fact that it had just completed an historic voyage through the Arctic Ocean’s Northwest Passage. As the largest commercial cruise ship to navigate the once frozen passage, the Crystal Serenity offers a glimpse into the changes in the Arctic region and the impact that those changes are already having on the State of Maine. Several weeks after the Crystal Serenity’s arrival, I had the opportunity to speak at the Maine Arctic Forum in Portland to celebrate the city’s role in hosting the annual meeting of the Arctic Council. By bringing together representatives of the Arctic nations to forge new international agreements on governance in the region, the Council represents the type of collaborative, inclusive work needed to adjust to a rapidly changing Arctic. The fact that Maine was chosen to host this meeting proves that our state is already taking a leadership role as we work to meet the unique challenges and seize the new opportunities that a changing Arctic presents.

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