Press Release May 5, 2017

National Park Sites Added to the Chopping Block with Interior Department Announcement

The Department of Interior released a list of twenty-seven national monuments designated under the Antiquities Act of 1906 that are now subject to public review, including Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Interior Department’s announcement opens the door to review of any national monuments designated since 1996.

Background: Today, the Department of Interior released a list of twenty-seven national monuments designated under the Antiquities Act of 1906 that are now subject to public review. Interior Department’s action was in response to the President’s Executive Order, issued on April 26, ordering the agency to review national monuments designated by the Antiquities Act, to recommend potential changes.

Included in the list of national monuments is the national park site Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. While specific monuments were singled out, Interior Department’s press release included language that opens the door to review of any national monuments designated since 1996.

Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association

“National Parks Conservation Association continues to be alarmed by the Administration’s consideration of reducing or removing protections for our cherished public lands and waters. Last week’s Executive Order, combined with today’s announcement of an unprecedented public comment period to review 27 national monuments, including national park sites, is deeply concerning.

“Since the Executive Order was issued, NPCA supporters from across the country have spoken up in defense of our national monuments, urging Interior Secretary Zinke to protect the places that our communities hold so dear. From sacred tribal lands to clear-running rivers, towering mountain ranges and places that tell our country’s shared history, our national monuments preserve some of our country’s greatest natural and cultural resources, which belong to all of us.

“One of our newest national park sites, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine, is singled out in the Interior Department’s announcement, for review of whether adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders was conducted prior to its designation. Interior Secretary Zinke will soon realize that public input around Katahdin could not be more robust. Over a more than four year public engagement period, the opportunity to protect the lands as a national park site gained support from more than 200 Maine businesses and organizations including the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce, the Katahdin Rotary Club, the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce, the Bangor City Council and the Maine Innkeepers Association. Nearly 1,400 Maine residents joined a public meeting in Orono, Maine, most of whom supported national park designation for the lands.

“Since President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law, nearly every President, regardless of political party affiliation, has designated national monuments, including the Grand Canyon, Statue of Liberty and Katahdin Woods and Waters. These lands and waters belong to all of us, and we will continue to stand up and defend them and the protections they deserve.”

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Click here for a testimony by Lucas St. Clair, President, Elliotsville Plantation Inc., who presented in defense of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument to the House Natural Resources Federal Lands Subcommittee

About National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.2 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.