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Mainers Give Feedback on Proposed North Woods National Monument

Mainers gave feedback in Millinocket and at the University of Maine in Orono on Monday about the proposed North Woods National Monument (Mark Picard)
Mainers gave feedback in Millinocket and at the University of Maine in Orono on Monday about the proposed North Woods National Monument (Mark Picard)
May 17, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine - The director of the National Park Service was in Maine on Monday to gather public input on the proposed North Woods National Monument.

One of those advocating for the National Monument designation is Matt Polstein, who owns the New England Outdoor Center.

He says earlier proposals would have taken too much land from timber production, but current plans for the monument are the right size for the state.

"Those same incredible natural resources that helped grow trees for paper and other products are available to us to market to people who are interested in solitude and scenic beauty," says Polstein. "And would really help and brand this area in a way that would draw visitors to Northern Maine."

The Maine Forest Projects Council is on record opposing the designation, because they say they want to see all options left open for the area.

Polstein says it is not just tourists, because the Monument and a possible future national park could also promote amenity migration; people who would move to Maine because of this natural resource.

Anita Mueller owns Moose Prints Gallery and says this proposal offers rare advantages, because the monument would be created from 87,500 acres of land donated by the Burt's Bees nonprofit foundation called Elliotsville Plantation.

"The land itself constitutes about a $100 million investment to be set aside for conservation," says Mueller. "That in itself makes the project fairly unique, in these times where National Park budgets have been slashed and have never kept up with the value that they offer our economy as a whole."

Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis participated in two forums on Monday that were hosted by Senator Angus King.
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Support for this reporting comes from Pew Charitable Trusts.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME