by A.J. Higgins
Maine Public news story
Conservationists and members of the Millinocket-area business community say public responses to a recent federal review have been overwhelmingly supportive of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
During a Bangor press conference Friday, Natural Resources Council of Maine Executive Director Lisa Pohlmann said the responses to the U.S. Department of Interior’s survey indicate that the region is a desirable tourism destination.
“We counted a total of 192,052 comments that specifically mention Kathadin Woods and Waters National Monument as of midnight on July 4th,” she said. “Out of this total, 191,976 comments or 99.96 percent support the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.”
The NRCM analysis indicated only 67 respondents opposed the monument.
Former Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce President Gail Fanjoy said the monument’s tourism potential provides new hope for a community such as Millinocket, which is desperately trying to revitalize itself after years of massive declines in the paper-making industry.
“I was told there were five births last year — five,” said Fanjoy. “And if you lived in my town, you would know how unique a baby sighting is. So make no mistake about it. We are in a struggle for our very survival.”
Responses to the survey will be received online through July 10 at www.regulations.gov.