After belatedly watching the video “Monumental,” about Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, I was reminded of the joys of our newest piece of public land. Having been to Katahdin Woods and Waters several times, I’ve been lucky to experience the beauty at the heart of the monument.

The video does well to highlight the importance of outdoor recreation to Maine’s identity and economy. It was sponsored by Old Town Canoe, Hyperlite Mountain Gear and Good To-Go – an old mainstay of canoes and kayaks, and two new powerhouses in the outdoor industry. These brands are widely known and loved, and I’m always proud when I see them all over the world, just as I’m proud to see visitors from out of state admiring our great outdoors.

Not mentioned in the video is our governor’s continuing obstruction of progress in the Katahdin region. Not only did he lobby to have the monument’s status rescinded (which seems to have backfired, when the secretary of the interior decided the monument is more than worthy of its status), but he still refuses to allow road signs directing visitors from Interstate 95 to the monument.

His reasoning – that he will allow them once the monument’s future is certain – is misleading; the primary threat to its existence is his own meddling. The real reason, plain and simple, has always been Paul LePage’s hatred of public lands and conservation.

I’d like to think he’ll stop pretending that our lands are useless for anything but timber, but more likely we’ll have to wait for his replacement next year. Hopefully that person will remember that Maine’s forests, lakes, rivers and mountains are as much a part of our heritage as anything else, and that person will be proud of that heritage.

Ryan Linn