Katahdin National Monument

It spans more than 87 thousand acres and it’s been the topic of discussion for people in Maine.

“The monument is spread out over a number of small towns, there really have to be a coordinated effort to make this a success.”

Carrie Hamblen is the CEO of Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce in New Mexico. This week she has been speaking with people in the Katahdin region about their monument designation.

“In Las Cruces New Mexico we have the Organ Mountains dessert peaks national monument and the activities and events and programs that have been implemented because of that monument are now serving as examples for other communities”

In August of 2016, former President Obama announced Katahdin woods & waters would become a national monument. Since then there has been some push back from the community.

“I definitely think there’s some people on the fence and I think there’s some people that are certainly still opposed but I think that a great deal of these folks have taken a step back and they realize that it’s here now and I think ultimately what’s important to them is that the community where they work, live and play is able to sustain itself.”

Governor Paul LePage has asked President Donald Trump to remove the designation. In a letter to the President earlier this year he referred to the Monument as a grave injustice to the people of Maine and wants it removed.

“There’s no precedent for another president to undo a monument and the support that this has both regionally and statewide really leads me to believe that it would never happen.”

Lucas StClair is president of Elliotsville Plantation. He says the focus needs to now be placed on moving forward and how this designation can have a positive impact on the area.

“Basically it’s trying to think about the national monument, it’s benefits are and how to really capitalize on it as a asset in this region.”

“This community is just ripe for just really implementing some of the ideas, but also creating new ideas around their public spaces that are protected now because of a national monument designation and that includes the economic opportunities for helping small business’,
creating events, creating new business’ that are possible because of a monument designation.”

The Lumberman’s Museum in Patten is one of the business who has seen the benefits of the national monument. Many people stop by the museum to get information on the site, and then decide to pay admission to see the museum.

“The people that are coming to see the monument, to learn about it are so excited about it, I think it’s going to take a little bit longer for the towns people to embrace it I don’t think the towns people know what to embrace at this point.”

Hamblen suggested business’ cross brand with those in tourism promoting the monument. She always explained ways to use social media to attract people to the area.

“One of the challenges for not only Patten, but a lot of the communities throughout the Katahdin region is thinking of ourselves as a destination and absolutely recognizing what we have to offer and why people will come here and obviously a national monument will help with that.”

Tourism officials say now they need to begin putting together promotional material, so they can begin growing awareness on the monument.