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December 12, 2016
Politics & Co.

National Park Service publishes stakeholders' views on national monument

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To download the 135-page report go to bit.ly/2h25zvS

To download an appendix of written comments go to bit.ly/2gNaWkP

The National Park Service has just released its report based on four community "listening sessions" about the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument that were held in Stacyville, East Millinocket/Medway, Millinocket and Bangor/Orono this fall. The report is seen as the first step of a three-year process of drafting a management plan for the 87,500 acres of land east of Baxter State Park donated by philanthropist Roxanne Quimby for the national monument.

Compiled by facilitator Leigh Tillman, the 135-page document and an accompanying 67-page appendix of written comments received by the park service this fall offer an early vision of the region's ideas and hopes for capitalizing on that designation.

Here's a sampling:

Ashley Lodato, former resident of Greenville and frequent visitor to the area: "Situate the visitor centers in the Millinocket/Medway area and the Patten/Sherman area, not within the monument itself. Rely on local communities surrounding the monument to provide visitor services such as food, lodging and equipment rental, rather than establishing such facilities within the monument itself."

Aaron Megquier, executive director, Friends of Baxter State Park: "Consider a shuttle-bus system, similar to the one used successfully in Acadia National Park, to provide visitor transportation on the monument. Keep the overall road density on the monument to a minimum … We encourage the national monument to avoid constructing buildings, roads, parking areas and other infrastructure that would adversely impact views from Baxter State Park, especially from Katahdin and other mountain summits. We also encourage the national monument to avoid night lighting that would diminish the exceptional dark skies in the region."

James C. Tassť, assistant director, Bicycle Coalition of Maine: "We assume that the monument will include backcountry hiking trails, but we want to encourage the inclusion of backcountry biking trails in the plans for the land. Off-road trail riding opportunities are a proven economic driver. Vermont's Northeast Kingdom Trails are the best New England example of how a great trail system can stimulate millions of dollars in economic activity, but Maine's Carrabassett Region is an in-state example of how 'if you build trails, they will come.'"

Barry Burgason, certified wildlife biologist, Huber Resources Corp.: "The Grand Lake Road is a public road but it is important to us since virtually every truck load of logs we harvest travels over this road. … I strongly suggest that the National Park Service and Maine Department of Transportation look at the entire length of the Grand Lake Road and specifically at these two bridges: Shin Pond Bridge and Seboeis River Bridge. You would be well advised to consult with some of the truckers who regularly drive this route."

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