International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Dr. John Baker

Second Reader


Third Reader



The Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, located in northern Maine just outside the town of Millinocket and created by President Obama in August 2016, has elicited vocal support and opposition. It has been heralded on one hand as a massive victory for conservation in Maine, and on the other hand, as an overreach by the federal government. This controversy was so widespread that it resulted in the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument being included in a Department of the Interior review of twenty-seven National Monuments during the summer of 2017, which was conducted by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, a Trump administration appointee. Secretary Zinke’s review suggested that the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument should remain intact, with potential changes to allowable land uses. Many people in the communities surrounding the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument felt hopeful about this decision, as their communities have been experiencing an economic decline in recent decades due to the collapse of the pulp and paper industry in the region. The development of a tourism-based economy surrounding the National Monument has been looked to as a potential economic savior for the area. With the National Monument here to stay, is there evidence to back up the hope that this National Monument will economically revive the region with a new tourism industry? This paper examines three National Monuments established in the 1990’s to examine the level to which those communities have experienced growth since National Monument establishment. These three National Monuments are the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah, Newberry National Monument in Nebraska, and Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Oregon. Landsat remote sensing imagery from three time periods (time of establishment, middle point, and 2017) is classified in this analysis to determine if developed areas (i.e. new buildings, increases in paved roads) increased through time. Due to census data availability, one of these National Monuments (Newberry) is examined using U.S. Census Data to see how the socio-economic characteristics of the human population have changed in the first ten years following National Monument establishment. Data analysis


(census and remote sensing) was conducted for the Maine study area to provide a baseline for the Maine study area at the time of National Monument establishment. This work also included an interview with Lucas St. Clair, who was involved in the establishment of Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument in Maine. The findings of this study were that there was no appreciable or statistically significant physical or economic growth in the communities near the selected National Monuments between their establishment (in the late 1980’s or early/mid 1990’s) and 2017.



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