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Monument Marketing Toolkit to be Unpacked

Jeff Pidot/Natural Resources Council of Maine
The East Branch of the Penobscot River

EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine - The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is one of the nation's newest recreational areas; it's really just getting started. Three years ago the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico was in a similar spot. Now, a chamber representative from New Mexico is coming to Maine to share what their community has learned during the process. 
"We've seen a 102 percent increase in visitorship to the monument since it was designated," says Carrie Hamblen, President and CEO of the Los Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce in New Mexico. "We as a community feel that we need to try and capitalize that." 

As with Maine's monument, the OMDP Monument saw its share of controversy, with local ranchers afraid they'd lose grazing privileges, something Hamblen says has not happened. In Maine, monument opponents expressed similar fears that they might lose access to grounds they'd used for decades. 

Rather, Hamblen says new opportunities are likely to open up. However, the task of developing a new regional economy is not a small one. One piece of the puzzle that's perhaps been missing from other designations, says Hamblen, is a plan to guide local businesses to help them get the most out of the new monument. 

The Los Cruces chamber has created a toolkit that can be adapted to help any area struggling to find a way forward. "What the toolkit does is it provides guidance for businesses on how to create a branding or marketing campaign around our protected public lands." says Hamblen. "Really a starting point for a conversation that I'm incredibly excited to have."

Hamblen will share the toolkit and discuss ideas that have emerged from her region- from branded coffee blends and newly minted cocktails, to special scout patches- at two events this week. The first will be held at the Lumberman's Museum in Patten on Tuesday, April 4, at  5:00 PM. The second is scheduled at the Katahdin Region Higher Education Center in East Millinocket, on Wednesday April 5, at 5:30 PM. 
The events are free and open to all.