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Trump administration officials are in North Korea, attempting to hash out details for the on-again, off-again summit. Also on the Memorial Day rundown: Veterans urge Congress to protect the “lands of the free;” and a new report deems cell towers and power lines threats to wildlife.

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Mainers Join Advocates in DC to Urge Protection of North Woods

Some Mainers are in Washington, D.C., today to urge designation of a North Woods National Monument. (P. Corrigan, Jr).
Some Mainers are in Washington, D.C., today to urge designation of a North Woods National Monument. (P. Corrigan, Jr).
June 15, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine - Mainers will join wilderness-protection advocates from across the nation in Washington, D.C., today to urge designation of new national monuments -- including the North Woods in Maine.

Paul Corrigan, a writer, teacher and outdoorsman who grew up in the Katahdin region and will be in the nation's capital today, said this effort is particularly timely, since June is National Great Outdoors Month.

"I've cross-country skied there, I have mountain-biked there, I work in a wilderness therapy program," he said. "Those are all reasons that I really feel that the land is a very profound, soul-resting place -- and is very, very worthy of preservation as a national monument."

As part of the wilderness-therapy program, Corrigan leads a group of at-risk girls on backpacking trips in the area where the national monument is proposed.

Supporters hope President Obama will issue an executive order to create the monument before he leaves office.

Gov. Paul LePage has led the opposition, warning of potential impact to the state's timber industry. Corrigan, who worked at the local paper mill as a youth, said the area's job base already is shifting away from timber, and his town's population has shrunk to half its size. He said he sees tourism as a promising alternative.

"Economically, I really feel that this is really -- right now, it's really -- the only thing on the table as far as something that could very well contribute to our region's economics," he said.

The action in Washington is being organized by conservation groups including the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society and Pew Charitable Trusts.

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Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME