While the future of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National monument was being discussed in Washington — community members in the Katahdin region were participating virtually and having a conversation of their own.
by Samantha York
WLBZ-2 TV news story
MILLINOCKET, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — While the future of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National monument was being discussed in Washington—community members in the Katahdin region were participating virtually and having a conversation of their own.
“I honestly thought that he would have more to say that would be compelling” Anita Mueller said. Mueller is a local business owner. She was joined by others who were anxious to hear what Governor LePage would say at the hearing — but they felt that they were left with more questions than answers
“Makes you wonder who he’s talking to or who he’s directing his comments to” Mueller said.
They had a particular problem with the Governor’s comments about tourism based jobs, which is what the national monument would bring. He claimed they were entry level jobs not career jobs.
“Not a job? This is so demeaning to people who make a living that way” Marsha Donahue said. “Tourism is four seasons so what is wrong with tourism”. Donahue is a business owner in the Katahdin area.
Viewers also called him out multiple times for claiming the private land was used for the forest industry when only a small portion of it was. They were also surprised that the Governor hadn’t met Lucas St. Clair — the son of Roxanne Quimby — until the hearing.
“To be the governor of a state and not have those facts, I don’t understand that honestly,” Donahue said.
“You have someone whose made a hundred million dollar investment in the Katahdin Region and you’ve never met the person? I am just stunned by that,” Mueller said.
And while they are trying to remain optimistic about the future of the region and the monument — they feel anything is possible.
“I dont know whether to be worried or not and I hate to second guess, I hope that its going to stay — why strip that hope from people it doesn’t make sense,” Donahue said.
NEWS CENTER did stories in the Katahdin Region before the designation and those in opposition weren’t hard to find — but recently we have not been able to get one person against it to come forward and go on camera. Some business owners did tell NEWS CENTER off camera that they feel the monument is bad for business and they worry they are going to get wiped off the map. They said it has a lot to do with feeling as if the federal government is stomping on their rights.