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Opportunity Knocks with New Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument


Thursday, August 25, 2016   

AUGUSTA, Maine – President Barack Obama on Wednesdasy designated a new national monument for Maine.

Its goal is to preserve the landscape and honor the history and culture of Maine's North Woods.

Gail Fanjoy, president of the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce, says the Obama administration has done its part and now it is up to locals to seize the opportunity and get the word out that Maine is home to the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

"We are not expecting a national monument to be a silver bullet for our economy, but we certainly look forward to enjoying the economic benefits that similar monuments have brought communities across our nation," Fanjoy states.

The designation permanently protects more than 87,000 acres of land donated to the National Park Service earlier this week by the Elliotsville Plantation.

The local timber industry opposed the monument over concerns it would limit industrial jobs.

But Fanjoy says the timber industry still has plenty of opportunities on the land surrounding this and many other national monuments.

Lisa Pohlmann, executive director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, says the monument is well named, as three rivers run through it that will provide lots of options for recreation activities.

"So, there's plenty of canoeing opportunities, camping,” she points out. “There's been cross country skiing, and on the east side of the east branch there will be hunting, and the international snowmobile trail that cuts through that land will now be protected forever."

Fanjoy says the new national monument will also answer a big question asked by many visitors to Acadia National Park.

"A lot of people arrive at that park on the coast of Maine and one of the first questions they ask is, 'Where are the moose?'” she tells. “And there are no moose in Acadia National Park. You're going to have to come to the North Maine Woods to see them. "

The decision comes as the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis both applauded the designation.

Support for this reporting comes from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

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