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October 23, 2018

Work continues on management plan for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

Courtesy / Jeff Pidot, Natural Resources Council of Maine
Courtesy / Jeff Pidot, Natural Resources Council of Maine
A view of the east branch of the Penobscot River from within a section of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument during the fall.

The National Park Service continues to seek public comments about the long-term management plan for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument that's under development.

According to a National Park Service news release, the fall 2016 listening sessions, held in Stacyville, Medway, Millinocket and Bangor, drew 550 attendees and numerous written comments by e-mail, mail and in person. The management plan that's in development will build on the ideas raised during those sessions.

"Management plans establish the overarching vision for the public lands and guide the direction for future work and activities," the release said. "The plan will also be available for public comment prior to its finalization."

A report and compilation of responses from the listening sessions and write-in comments may be downloaded on the National Park Service website.

The park service hosted a public meeting Oct. 17 on the management planning process at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

Thecounty.com reported that most of the 20 attendees were volunteers or visitors of the monument or recreational enthusiasts. The discussion included comments on expanding outreach to potential user groups, the use of electric bikes, and a suggestion to create displays in the monument area to tell the story of the land's historical and cultural significance.

Monument officials said a draft of the "foundation document" identifying resources available, the monument's cultural and historic value and special mandates concerning use of the land is expected by be completed by early 2019. A draft of the "management framework," which will identify potential opportunities and conflicts regarding management of the monument lands, is expected to be completed no later than September 2019.

Final versions of both documents are expected to be presented to the public by the end of 2019, Thecounty.com reported.

"What we would like to see is people getting a variety of uses out of the land while also maintaining the monument's natural resources," said Katahdin Woods and Waters Superintendent Tim Hudson.

The monument was created in August 2016, when President Barack Obama designated more than 87,500 acres of land along the East Branch of the Penobscot River in Maine as the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

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