Thursday, August 25, 2016

To mark Park Service centennial, Obama creates national monument in Maine over opposition

In celebration of the centennial of the National Park Service, President Obama on Wednesday designated 87,654 acres of forestland in Maine's North Woods as a new national monument, Kevin Miller reports for the Portland Press Herald. "Supporters hope the monument designation—on lands bordering Baxter State Park that were donated by Roxanne Quimby (co-founder of Burt's Bees)—will lure additional jobs and economic development while highlighting the region’s natural beauty and history."

While opponents acknowledge the designation could draw tourists, distrust of the federal government, fueled by the closure of paper mills, leading to lost jobs and mass migration, has many uneasy, Miller writes. Critics "fear the designation will scare away potential industrial-based opportunities, leaving only seasonal tourism jobs." (Press Herald graphic: Land designated for new national monument)
Some local residents believe commercial logging, not tourism, is the best way to revive the region's struggling economy, Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis report for The Washington Post. Republican Gov. Paul LePage has been a vocal critic of the decision, the state legislature has opposed it, "and Maine’s congressional delegation refused to introduce the measure necessary to create a national park, which requires an act of Congress. That left only the prospect of the president using his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to declare the land a national monument—something he has done nearly two dozen times while in office."

In an attempt to appease critics "it will be the only National Park Service national monument that allows hunting," excluding bears, Eilperin and Dennis write. "It will also allow snowmobiling on all its existing trails, which means more than half the site will be open to the winter sport. However no logging, except for tree removal the Park Service conducts for conservation or safety purposes, will be permitted."

Theresa Pierno, president and chief executive of the National Parks Conservation Association, told the Post, “It may be one of the last, large national parks that we see in our lifetime. sWe’ll look back and say, ‘We can’t ever imagine why this was a controversy.’”

No comments: