PATTEN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The National Park service has slowly gained more approval in the Kathadin region—specifically in the town of Patten.
This after their established presence at a local museum caused controversy in the town especially with prominent museum donors, many of whom are companies in the forest products industry
The board of the Patten Lumbermen’s Museum voted to keep the National Park Service information center and staff in the museum through the end of their season before pursuing any long-term cooperative agreement.
“Where the museum would come in is if it brings extra people to the region we would just like to get a few of those people that are coming to the region that wouldn't normally to come here,” Board President Frank Rogers said.
The board—made up of many with great ties to the region and forest products industry—took over an hour to deliberate.
There was a lot of heated discussion with board members and community members who still feel deep-rooted disdain towards land donor Roxanne Quimby.
Opponents say she took land out from under hardworking people who subsequently lost their jobs.
There were concerns the Park Service’s presence at the museum would be an endorsement of the monument and offend the very people and history it honors.
One board member even compared the ordeal to the devil knocking at the door and letting him in.
“The word would be ‘bitter’. No question about it, but I think in the long run it's got to go forward simple as that,” Rogers said.
They will look to a potential long-term agreement with the Park Service come April, where there is talk about a collaborative program to tell the story of the monument land through history of the museum.
The museum says if they went through with such an agreement they could stand to lose thousands from donors they depend on.
“I feel like I've been on a roller coaster there are a lot of people that are positive and there are people that are negative. I think the negative people feel it as a threat to the area. They’re distrustful of the federal government. They're not sure what to expect. You need to just step back sometimes and see how it's going to play out,” Rhonda Brophy Curator at the Lumbermen's Museum said.
Brophy says they have already seen a significant influx of people just in the last few days.
The town manager of Patten, Raymond Foss, told NEWS CENTER that it may be time for the town to embrace the potential business it could bring.
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