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Angus King Named Chair Of National Parks Subcommittee

J. Scott Applewhite
Associated Press
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, arrives as the defense presents arguments in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, in Washington, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King has been named chair of the subcommittee on National Parks, which also oversees national monuments like the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in northern Maine.

King says Katahdin Woods and Waters is only a few years old and is just starting to develop resources for visitors to the area, but he says re-designating the monument as a national park is something that will likely be considered in the future.

“What I am hearing from people in the region is that is already having a positive economic impact. So that is certainly something that we look at down the road,” he says.

King says a major focus for the committee is the backlog of needed repairs and upgrades at existing national parks, including Acadia.

“In many places congestion and traffic are a real problem, so I’m going to bring together some big thinkers and people experienced in national parks and outdoors to try and talk about what we want parks to look like in 20 or 30 years,” he says.

King plans to hold hearings over the next couple of years on the future of the national parks and monuments, which are drawing huge numbers of visitors — some 325 million last year.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.