Interior Secretary Wants 'Active Timber Management' in National Monument

MILLINOCKET, Maine (WABI) "There's still a lot of questions I think that it brings to the forefront."

That's the reaction from many folks in the Katahdin Region after a leaked memo brought to light some of the changes Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will recommend for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

Lucas St. Clair, whose family donated the more than 87,000 acres for the monument, says the recommendations did not come as a surprise.

"When I did have conversations with the Secretary, it was three weeks ago and it was about essentially this, but he didn't outline specifically how the wording of the recommendation is. The White House has to decide how it's going to respond and then the Park Service has to decide how to implement. You know there's a long way to go."

Zinke says the executive order creating Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument "should ne amended, through the use of appropriate authority, including lawful exercise of the President's promote a healthy forest through active timber management."

"Active timber management" typically refers to the cutting of trees for commercial use. Something that many loggers in the area are hopeful for.

"If we have a small family based logging operation that employs seven individuals, those seven individuals support seven families and the economic impact of that logging company and those seven families is about a million dollars to the local economy every single year," says Dana Doran, Executive Director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine.

Lisa Pohlmann, Executive Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said in a press release that "without more details, we cannot yet judge whether these recommendations are acceptable or consistent with the overwhelming view of the Maine people."

For those in the Katahdin region, many feel this leak leaves more questions than answers, but they're focused on bringing folks to the area.

"I think the most important thing is to move forward with the economic development and try to get the signage up so visitors feel welcome to the area," says Anita Mueller of Moose Prints Gallery in Millinocket.

As of now there is no time table as to when President Trump will make a decision on the recommendations.