KATAHDIN REGION – While the governor was in Washington we spoke with people involved with the park and those who live and work right next door. In part 2 of his special report David Guildford has more about what’s next for the region.
The national monument has been Maine’s reality since August, and while a majority of residents didn’t want the government in their back yard, people in the neighboring towns have been trying to show off the area’s beauty before it ever got national attention.
Realtor Jay Peavey stated, “They feel like what they’ve been shouting about for so many years is finally coming true now. It’s worth it to be there. They want you to see what they have.”
Realtors like Peavey have seen a spike in real estate purchases since the monument was announced.
The monument brings visitors and a chance to grow as a community. But people there don’t want to see the area change too much.
Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce Director Wende Sairio said, “It’s just phenomenal, and the way people have come and used it and seen it before, and I would hate to see that go. And we need to work with everybody to keep our dark skies, to keep our unique sense of this region where we came from.”
Sairio’s also concerned with maintaining the logging history of the area, and as of now there is no logging allowed in the monument.
But there’s a lot people can do, including hunting on 40% of the land, enjoying three major rivers, and snowmobiling the ITS system.
Katahdin Woods and Waters Superintendent Tim Hudson said, “This year we had about 10,000 -15,000 snowmobilers come through. Three clubs groomed the trails through the monument.”
So even though there are some restrictions, now that the monument is here, people want to use it to their advantage.
Hudson continued, “The attitude has been heavily, whether you were for it or against it, or didn’t know in between, 95-98% of the people think it’s here, let’s make it work. Something to help the region can only be good.”
And so far it’s attracted people looking to settle down in the middle of Maine’s natural beauty.
“They want that slower, calmer, cleaner life,” Added Peavey.