STACYVILLE – Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in the Katahdin region Wednesday, received a guided tour of Maine’s National Monument and listening to what residents think of the new allocation
It’s no question that the Katahdin Woods are beautiful. The question at hand is whether or not it should be a national monument.
“We’re going to look at it. If this is an indicator – I’d be pretty happy,” said Zinke, “I won’t make any decision until we go through it. I talked to the family and all parties.”
He has been tasked with deciding whether the monument and others around the nation were created properly and whether the land should instead be turned over to the state. He was able to meet hikers, bird watchers and those in the logging industries to hear why their stance on the monument, all of them were for it.
“Well it’s a whole new view. We’re not used to this,” said Marsha Donahue, an artist, “We love it – it already has a place here. What he will see, people are being listened to – maybe listening to somebody doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with them.”
“I am thinking good positive thoughts because in reality, the option is slim for this region, economically,” said Anita Mueller, a supporter of the monument.
“Who cannot say that this is a beautiful site,” said Zinke.
But beauty isn’t the only factor of it staying a national monument, there are guidelines he’s looking for such as public access, healthy forest, recreation and traditional uses.
“I just expect, if it says Department of Interior on it, the experience to be 5-Star,” he said.
While he’s not making a decision right now, he’s looking at all sides.
“I’m an optimist – from what I hear, I think all sides love the land, everyone appreciate public access,” said Zinke.