Katahdin revitalization as economic engine

Economic revitalization could follow monument addition.

MEDWAY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Controversy continues over the Katahdin Woods and Waters national monument in Maine. Several people are concerned about its possible negative impact on the region, but some recreational business owners think the new monument could turn out to be an economic engine for them.

“I fell in love with a canoe…got one… now I've sold 600 of them,” said Barry Davis, one of the few people who can say he truly loves his job.

As the owner of a four season's sports shop in Medway, Davis said his business has become an integral part of his community.

But now the Katahdin National Monument is starting to shake things up.

“We've already seen a change,” he said.

But change for the better…

“A little more traffic and traffic is money… we're seeing people that we don't normally see,” he said.

Not everyone is happy with what they're seeing.

Some say the increase in traffic could make it difficult for loggers to travel--and in turn-- hurt local businesses.

But Davis believes change is a good thing.

“Overall, it's going to be good for the community. Because it's here! Negativity is bad and you got to go with what's there,” said Davis.

After 19 years, he says 2016 is turning out to be the best year yet for his business.

“I've been working too many hours and have been too busy…” he said.

Too busy… to attend a series of meetings geared toward getting recreational business owners excited about what's to come-

“This isn't the end all, do all… but it's a step in the right direction. I think the whole area, if they admit it… is starting to see an increase,” said David.

And not just for business owners he said…

“The biggest advantage probably will be for the communities as far as home values and home sales which have been slow…now you can buy a home for practically nothing.”

And if the economy is booming, Davis says he hopes it'll keep future generations from leaving the area.

“That's the best thing, to be able to have the young people stay here,” said Davis.

Copyright 2016 WLBZ


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