Commentary

National Monument Supporters Willfully Ignore Facts

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Supporters of a North Woods national monument – such as David Farmer – must really hate facts. Perhaps that’s why they routinely avoid them when making their case as to why the federal government should take over 87,500 acres of land in the Katahdin region.

One prime example of their willingness to ignore facts involves a logistical question of how visitors would actually get to a national monument. Many opponents of the national monument point out that existing roads are inadequate, and there are no solid details about the creation of any new roads.

However, David Farmer, the spokesman for leading monument proponent Lucas St. Clair, asserts that he “believes that we have legal access to accommodate the creation of a national monument.”

Well, I believed in the tooth fairy until I was five, but alas I was mistaken. Unfortunately, there aren’t many facts that explain David Farmer’s “belief” there would be “legal access” to the potential monument. Farmer has failed to provide a straightforward answer or a concrete plan of how the supposed hundreds of thousands of visitors would travel deep into the Maine woods.

We know that the national monument could not rely on existing roads and infrastructure. These roads are primarily used for logging, and ill-equipped for the the increase in traffic. They are narrow and unpaved, and could not be used by both tourists and large logging trucks. But who will pay for a new road to be constructed?

David Farmer asserts that the National Park Service would pick up the tab, and that the construction of a new road would likely be part of the management plan. However, Farmer is failing to recognize the fact that the National Park Service is $11.9 billion behind in its maintenance of other land and roads. It doesn’t have the resources to take on the management of another park – let alone construct new infrastructure and roads.

You can bet that the federal government would do anything to avoid performing any maintenance or construction on this national monument, and then it would be the Maine taxpayers who are left footing the bill for a new road.

Sadly, these are only a few instances of David Farmer and the rest of the North Woods national monument supporters avoiding the facts. They’ve also failed to highlight several important details such as:

  • Voters in the surrounding towns of Millinocket, East Millinocket and Medway have all rejected this plan.
  • The Maine legislature has voted against the creation of a national monument.
  • The Governor is opposed to a national monument.
  • Only one member of Maine’s Congressional Delegation publicly supports the creation of a national monument.
  • There is no solid or concrete plan for developing the monument, creating jobs or providing any positive benefits.
  • Creating 400-1,200 jobs from an 87,500 acre monument is simply a pipedream. Baxter State Park, which is 200,000 acres, employs just 21 full time and 40 season workers.
  • There is a real danger of this monument expanding in the future, taking over more of Maine’s valuable land, and further decreasing our economic activity.

So perhaps David Farmer, and the rest of the monument supporters should stop insulting the people of Maine, and start talking about the facts.

Then again, if they did that, they probably wouldn’t have any positive things to say about the potential national monument.

About Plead the Fifth

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