May 23 2017

Katahdin Woods

This should be a feel good story, but…

The family that makes Burt’s Bees Lip Balm (they may make other things, that’s what I know them for), the St Clairs, took some of their money and started buying up land that had been logged over to the point that the Lumber Companies didn’t want it any more.

Eventually they ended up with 87,563 acres which they donated to the National Park Service as a National Monument (there are excellent views of Mount Katahdin). Now this gift was explicitly conditional on the land being used as a recreational forest area, in short- a Park.

Well The Donald and his Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke have pretty much never met an animal they didn’t want to kill or a tree they didn’t want to send to the wood chipper and as part of their plan to pave over everything Big Oil doesn’t want so it can be used for parking lots for Hotel/Casino complexes and Money Laundries, they’ve been re-evaluating our National Monuments (among other things).

Maine, where Katahdin is, has an insane and spiteful Governor named Paul LePage who also happens to be a YUUGE Trump supporter. He personally lobbied to add Katahdin Woods to the list (it’s actually too small to be of much interest).

And because he is insane and spiteful, even though Katahdin Wood is fully open and operational, LePage refuses to put up directional signs on State Roads and Highways arguing it’s a waste of money since it’s just going to get paved over anyway.

Nice guy ehh?

I would imagine, though I don’t know for a fact, that there were some restrictions written into the contract that transfered the land so this will likely end up in court if the Department of the Interior removes recognition.

Your tax dollars at work!

‘Spiteful and petty’: Maine governor bans signs to Obama-designated monument
by Edward Helmore, The Guardian
Sunday 21 May 2017

A decision by the Republican governor of Maine, Paul LePage, to ban signs to Katahdin Woods and Waters, a national monument designated by Barack Obama, has been described as “sophomoric and petty” by a member of the family that donated the 87,563-acre tract to the nation.

LePage made the controversial move, which was announced on Friday, pending the outcome of a federal review of 27 national monuments ordered by Donald Trump in April and being carried out by the US interior secretary, Ryan Zinke.

In February, LePage asked Trump to reverse Katahdin’s designation, arguing that Obama had violated the federal Antiquities Act. “I think it was a horrible, horrible decision and it should be reversed if it can,” he said in remarks reported by the Portland Press Herald.

A state transportation spokesman, Ted Talbot, said in remarks reported by the Bangor Daily News that the refusal to allow official signs for Katahdin to be placed along main roads, including interstate 95 and routes 11, 157 and 159, was a cost-saving measure.

“What we don’t want to do is commit taxpayers’ money to signage or any type of project without knowing that it [the monument] is in place and that everyone is on board with it,” he said.

Lucas St Clair, whose family acquired the land using the Burt’s Bees fortune, told the Guardian that the governor’s refusal to erect signs was “spiteful and destructive”.

“It’s one of the most irresponsible things he could do for the region,” St Clair added. “To place signs to show the way to the national monument is a simple thing. It could even be [done with] private money. But he has refused to allow that to happen. It’s a sophomoric and petty way to behave.”

“This is very different to the Organ Mountains in New Mexico or the monuments in Utah,” he said. “This was private land that my family owned and wanted to donate to create a national park, and really it’s just one outspoken person – the governor – who wants it to be rescinded.”

Environmentalists claim the Katahdin land will create its own commercial purpose as a relatively pristine destination for outdoor recreation. Others claim the land, which lies in the shadow of Mount Katahdin, Maine’s highest peak, would be better returned to timber production.

“They fail to realize the land was sold to us by people from the forest products industry because it was no longer valuable to them as a landscape to log and cut trees,” St Clair said. “That argument that this is taking this land out of potential fiber production is absurd.”

LePage’s decision to block signage is entirely self-serving, St Clair maintained, “because the only reason it is under review is because he asked for it to be under review. LePage is trying to undermine the benefit of a national monument from a tourism perspective. Then he will point to that and say, ‘See! It wasn’t worthy of being a monument.’

“The best thing the public can do is comment on the department of the interior’s website and demonstrate their appreciation for the landscape by going and enjoying it.”

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