U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland will visit Maine on Friday to talk with state and tribal leaders about the Biden administration’s support for public lands.

Haaland will join Gov. Janet Mills and all four members of Maine’s Congressional delegation at Schoodic Point, a smaller and lesser-known part of Acadia National Park located on a peninsula in eastern Hancock County.

The visit kicks off with a special sunrise musical performance by renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and several Wabanaki musicians at 4:05 a.m. That event is by invitation only.

Deb Haaland

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland speaks during a news briefing at the White House in April. Associated Press/Evan Vucci

Haaland, herself a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, will then lead a “talking circle” with Wabanaki cultural leaders and other invited guests at the Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor, according to an advisory.

The secretary will hold media availability at 11:30 a.m. to discuss the economic importance of Acadia National Park to the state of Maine and significant investments in public lands and national parks by the Biden administration. The Great American Outdoors Act that passed last year includes funding infrastructure improvements at national parks and monuments, including $27 million for a new maintenance building at Acadia National Park.

Many national parks, Acadia included, have been forced to defer maintenance for years. As recently as 2019, Acadia has put off an estimated $65 million worth of projects to improve the popular tourist destination, which has seen a major increase in visitors in recent years.


Mills, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden will participate in the media availability as well.

Haaland, a former congresswoman from New Mexico, is the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary. She was confirmed by the Senate in March on a 51-40 vote despite Republican opposition. Collins was one of four Republicans to support Haaland’s nomination.

Haaland is the first Biden administration Cabinet member to visit Maine.

Haaland’s approach is likely to be radically different from that of Ryan Zinke or David Bernhardt, her predecessors under former President Donald Trump. The Washington Post reported this week that Haaland has recommended restoring protections to three national monuments that had been rolled back by Trump. They are Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments in Utah, as well as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the coast of Massachusetts.

There had been some concern in 2017 that Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument also might be targeted for a reduction in size, but that never happened.

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