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PNS Daily Newscast - Monday, July 24th, 2017 


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Defenders in DC – "Don’t Downsize" Our National Monuments

John Hafford of Millinocket is a member of a delegation calling on members of Congress to support national monuments, including the Katahdin Woods and Waters Monument in Maine. (J. Hafford)
John Hafford of Millinocket is a member of a delegation calling on members of Congress to support national monuments, including the Katahdin Woods and Waters Monument in Maine. (J. Hafford)
June 8, 2017

WASHINGTON – Supporters of national monuments are in Washington Thursday to try to fend off efforts by the Trump administration to downsize what defenders call national treasures.

Among those in the nation's capital is Mainer John Hafford, co-owner of Designlab and a monument supporter.

He says he wants to protect the newly designated Katahdin Woods and Waters Monument.

Hafford maintains the best way to do that is to simply point out all of the benefits it brings both to lovers of the outdoors and to the local economy.

"Anyone who has visited the Northeast Woods understands how spectacular it is, and this is just one tiny piece of that,” he states. “And regionally, it's really important because it's helping to diversify an economy that's really struggling."

President Donald Trump issued an executive order in April to review many of the monuments, and favors the "smallest area compatible with the proper management."

Hafford is part of a delegation that is meeting with lawmakers urging them to support the designation of national monuments.

A study by Headwaters Economics found that communities surrounding 17 national monuments in western states all experienced economic expansion following the creation of those monuments.

Hafford says it's too soon to have hard data on the Maine monument, but from his office in Millinocket, he can see first hand how the monument is drawing visitors.

"With the designation of the monument, we instantly saw traffic increase in the town,” he states. “That may not sound like a real big deal if the traffic doubles, but if you're a small business trying to make it work, it's a big deal – and it's just the beginning. I mean, this is without even having signage for the monument."

The public has until July 10 to comment on Katahdin Woods and Waters and the other monuments under review.

Thursday marks the anniversary of the Antiquities Act, which was signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. It gave presidents the authority to create national monuments and federal lands.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.


Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME