3 Days Remain for Public Comment Period in KWW Monument Review

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - It's been three weeks since US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke wrapped up his visit to the Katahdin Region.

He reviewed Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument after an executive order from President Trump.

With three days of the public comment period remaining, supporters of KWW gathered in Bangor to discuss the feedback.

As of July 4th, more than 192,000 public comments have been submitted to the US Department of Interior regarding the pending status of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine says the findings show nearly unanimous endorsement.

"Out of this total, 191,976 comments, or 99.96%, support the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Only 67 comments total out of more than 192,000 voiced opposition to the monument."

Many folks who once opposed the designation have since become strong supporters, including Dan Corcoran of North Woods Real Estate and Terry Hill of Shin Pond Village.

Corcoran says following the designation, his office has had to add new brokers to meet the demand.

"And that can point directly to the National Monument. It's bringing people here and they're falling in love with the area and it's having a significant impact on the local economy."

"And we're getting calls daily about the monument. People who plan to come to Acadia going to come up and see what we have to offer. It's exciting."

During Secretary Ryan Zinke's visit in June, he told the press he's optimistic moving forward.

And after speaking with folks on both sides of the issue, he believes everyone loves the land.

"If this is an indicator, I'd be pretty happy. But will look at it. I'm not going to make a decision until we go through it. But I've talked to the family and I've talked to all parties. But I'm comfortable and certainly in public hands."

"At one point during the meeting, participants, who were so inclined, were asked to stand up in a show of support for the monument. Every person stood."

Gail Fanjoy, former president of the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce, says the stability of the Katahdin Region depends on this monument, especially for surrounding communities like Millinocket.

"I was told there were five births last year. Five. The monument has brought businesses and communities together with a sense of hope and optimism."

There are people in the Katahdin Region who oppose the land being controlled by the federal government.

Governor LePage is also opposed. He lobbied to have President Trump add it to the list of monuments being examined.

Secretary Zinke is set to make a decision on KWW in the coming weeks.

There is still time to comment, visit the link below.