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'Spiteful and Destructive': Maine Gov. Bans Road Signs to Obama-Designated Monument

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Katahdin Woods and Waters. National Parks Conservation Association.

Looks like you'll have to trust your map if you want to find the newly designated Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine.

Gov. Paul LePage has refused to put up any official signs along the four main roads to the 87,500-acre preserve, which is on the list of 27 national monuments under Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke's review.


President Barack Obama established Katahdin under the Antiquities Act last summer on forestland donated by Burt's Bees founder and philanthropist Roxanne Quimby.

Gov. LePage, who believes the designation went against the state's wishes and undermines the timber industry, successfully lobbied the Trump administration to review whether Obama's order was valid.

Now, until the federal review is complete, there will not be any signs along Interstate 95 and Routes 11, 157 and 159 that lead to Katahdin, state officials said Friday.

"What we don't want to do is commit taxpayers' money to signage ... without knowing that it [the monument] is in place and that everyone is on board with it," Maine Department of Transportation spokesman Ted Talbot told the Bangor Daily News.

But Lucas St. Clair, Quimby's son and president of Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters, told the Guardian that Katahdin is only under review because the governor requested it.

He called LePage's refusal to display signs "spiteful and destructive," and pointed out that the governor is also refusing to put up signs paid for with private funds.

"It's one of the most irresponsible things he could do for the region," continued St. Clair, adding that the actions are "petty" and "sophomoric."

Other supporters of the national monument say that the designation has brought many benefits to nearby towns.

"To my knowledge, Governor LePage has never even set foot in Patten and yet he insults our region by calling it a 'mosquito area,'" Jon Ellis, a local business owner, said. "The monument has brought new energy to our towns and helped unify the region."

Similarly, Terry Hill, owner of Shin Pond Village in Mt. Chase, said, "I am very disappointed that the governor would try to undo this new economic engine in our community without having even visited."

While visitors will still be able to find the monument, say with Google Maps, Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce president Gail Fanjoy pointed out "the fact that our governor is blocking signage is telling people that the region is not open for business."

"He should be doing the opposite of what he is doing," Fanjoy said.

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