Bangor — The Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) today released a new report featuring business and civic leaders from the Katahdin region describing how Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is providing positive benefits to their communities. The report was issued to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the National Monument, which was established on August 24, 2016.
The report, Katahdin Woods & Waters – Our Monument, Our Community, Voices from the Region, includes statements from individuals who own businesses in Millinocket, East Millinocket, Medway, Patten, and Mt. Chase. Many of those featured grew up in the Katahdin region, in families that extend back multiple generations. Some of the individuals explain that they initially opposed land conservation projects in the area, but now are strong supporters of the National Monument. Among the benefits they describe in the report:
- More visitors to the area, including many from out-of-state who have come to the area for the first time specifically to visit the Monument. Barry Davis, President of Two Rivers Canoe & Tackle, located in Medway, says, “2016 was our best year since 2009.” Terry Hill, Co-Owner of Shin Pond Village, in Mt. Chase, says, “We’ve seen lots of license plates from Missouri, Idaho, different states that we wouldn’t normally see. And we’re getting calls daily about the Monument.”
- More investment and business, in restaurants, lodging, and shops. Jon Ellis, co-owner of Ellis Family Market in Patten and East Millinocket, explains that stores in the area are expanding, and “this hasn’t happened in ages. And it’s happening because there’s increased foot traffic and more people coming to the area. People are asking me about the Monument all the time.”
- More real-estate sales to visitors who come to the area because they have heard about the National Monument, fall in love with it, and decide to purchase property. Dan Corcoran explains that his Millinocket-based real estate business has doubled its staff in the past year.
- More employment in stores like Richardson’s Hardware in Patten, as owner Nate Richardson explains, “We are expanding to include kayaks, paddle boards, tents, camping and RV supplies, and other outdoor sporting equipment. We have hired two additional employees and hope to go further as the demand increases.”
- More hope for a region that has experienced significant hardship in the wake of mill closings in Millinocket and East Millinocket. Gail Fanjoy of the Katahdin Region Chamber of Commerce says, “The National Monument has brought hope to our region at a time when it is desperately needed.”
Pete Didisheim, NRCM Advocacy Director, says, “As we mark the one-year anniversary of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, we should listen to these voices from the Katahdin region. They tell us that the Monument is off to a great start. It is contributing to the local economy, attracting new people to the region, and providing hope for a better future.”