The man who spearheaded efforts that culminated with President Barack Obama on Wednesday designating more than 87,000 acres of North Woods land as a national monument is scheduled to speak next month at Unity College.

Lucas St. Clair, who has been the public face of the recent effort behind the monument designation, is set to deliver the talk at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 16 at the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts, according to a college news release.

The event is part of the annual Maine Woods Forever roundtable at Unity College and is free and open to the public.

Unity College students and faculty “are in the perfect position to help evaluate the economic, environmental, and social impact of a major initiative like the North Woods monument,” college President Melik Peter Khoury said in the release.

Obama created the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in an area that was once the heart of Maine’s logging and papermaking industry but now faces an uncertain economic future. The monument designation is on land bordering Baxter State Park that was donated by Roxanne Quimby, St. Clair’s mother and the cofounder of Burt’s Bees.

The designation has sparked passionate responses from both supporters and critics. Supporters say the monument will attract more visitors and badly needed jobs to the region while protecting the forestland, but critics are concerned about the loss of access to land for hunting, snowmobiling and all-terrain vehicle riding, as well as potential ramifications for the region’s forest products industry.


At his Unity College talk, St. Clair is expected to talk about “the intense effort and the way forward” now that the land has been designated a monument.

“It’s a project my mom started almost two decades ago, so it’s amazing that here we are,” St. Clair said in an interview with the Portland Press Herald. “So it feels great. We have been working on this for a long time.”

Khoury said he looks forward to talking with St. Clair “about the educational opportunities that could accompany formation of the national monument.”

“This is truly a significant development for anyone who loves Maine, appreciates our natural resources and understands their importance to Maine’s economic and social health,” he said.

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