Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Credit: DOI
NewsAuthor: Steven Shaw
United States Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wrapped up his tour of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument with a canoe ride.
Zinke indicated he is comfortable with the monument remaining in the “public's hands” while praising the forested scenery as “beautiful.”
When asked if the boundaries of the monument may be shrunk, as he recommended for the controversial Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, Zinke said Katahdin Woods and Waters is smaller than Bears Ears so that does not make sense.
Maine's GOP Governor Paul LePage has been a loud critic of the 87,500-acre monument, even testifying in front of Congress against it in May.
Zinke, who met with LePage Tuesday night said he is "rightly concerned about jobs."
Roxanne Quimby, the co-founder of Burt's Bees, donated the monument land, which was valued at $60 million, in addition to another $20 million for initial operating costs. The monument is located next to Baxter State Park, which includes Mount Katahdin, the Maine’s highest peak and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
President Donald Trump ordered the review of more than two dozen national monuments, including the one in Maine.
Zinke said his goal while visiting the monuments under review in Maine is to ensure local communities had a "proper voice." This comes despite polling showing the vast majority of Utah residents favor keeping Bears Ears National Monument at its current size rather than scaling it back.