Media Archive

Commissioners oppose moving Katahdin Trail

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 165, No. 12, March 19, 2003

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

DOVER-FOXCROFT The Piscataquis County Commissioners took a clear stance Tuesday against a proposal before the state legislature to reroute the Katahdin Trail.

This is ill-conceived, I think," said Chairman Eben DeWitt.

DeWitt presented a letter for the commissioners to sign, urging legislators to withdraw the bill, L.D. 538, "due to the negative economic impact it would have on Piscataquis County."

Presently, the Katahdin Trail begins in Newport, at the junction with Interstate 95, and winds through the Penquis Region Dexter, Dover-Foxcroft, Milo and Brownville ending at Baxter State Park.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Stephen Stanley (D-Millinocket) and co-sponsored by Rep. Guy Duprey (D-Medway) asks the legislature to relocate the trail, bypassing Piscataquis County altogether, starting at the junction of Interstate 95 and Medway, over to Millinocket and up to Baxter State Park.

"The Piscataquis County Commissioners are totally opposed to the bill L.D. 538 which, if enacted, would reroute the Katahdin Trail away from Piscataquis County," the letter dated March 18 reads.

The letter further implores the sponsors to withdraw it from further consideration immediately. The bill is now in the forestry and conservation committee, awaiting public hearing.

DeWitt said that currently the Katahdin Trail attracts some tourist traffic to the region, which is extremely valuable to the communities and local businesses, struggling in the current economy. Last week, local officials in Dexter, Milo and Brownville voiced similar concerns about the bill.

"We need to keep an eye out for any public hearings," he said, adding that if sponsors do not withdraw the bill, the commissioners should attend and voice strong opposition.

The letter was accepted as written by a unanimous vote of the commissioners. It will be forwarded from the county commissioner's office to the county's legislative delegation, as well as the sponsors of the bill.

Sen. Paul Davis (R-Sangerville) last week said he is opposed to the bill. "I'm arguing against it," he said. "I don't think [Piscataquis County towns receive] a tremendous economic benefit from the tourist traffic, but there's some benefit, and ... we need everything we can get."

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.