MILLINOCKET, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The one year anniversary of the Katahdin Woods and Waters national monument designation is upon us, yet the fate of it is still up in the air.
Interior Secretary Zinke got a tour of the monument back in June -- he has until August 24th to submit his final recommendation. He was very positive during his time in the monument, even suggesting it become a national park.There is a lot a stake with this decision, many businesses have invested time and money to gear up for the tourism spike that was expected. However, those in the area say they are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.
"Would it be unfortunate and would we be a little angry that it happened yes," Anita Mueller said. "But we won't be surprised if they try to rescind it." Mueller is a local business owner, she has seen an influx of customers since the designation. However, because the monument's status is up in the air, it has been hard for her to make big plans for the future. "You think twice because of the uncertainty." Mueller said.
She's not the only one who has concerns. Steve Golieb and Ashley Wells recently opened a wine bar and used book store down the road called 'Turn the Page'. They saw an opportunity to bring a new experience to Millinocket and grabbed it -- the pair transformed the previous restaurant into a space to lounge and sip.
"I think it could potentially hurt turn the page because we do rely on tourists and hikers coming through." Wells said.
"We are pretty confident in what we bring to the area regardless of the monument," Golieb said. "But of course there's definitely an added benefit of the monument being here."
While the countdown gets closer to the end -- those in the area will continue to hold onto hope. "We are just waiting and will react appropriately based on the decision." Mueller said.