Roxanne Quimby’s foundation donated more than 87,500 acres in the Katahdin region to the federal government Tuesday in a critical step toward creation of a national monument in Maine’s North Woods. The transfers became public just two days before the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary on August 25th, 2016 – an occasion that Obama is expected to use to create new national monuments across the country. With a unilateral stroke of his pen, 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. Within hours, the National Park Service was in the process of opening offices in the Katahdin region while inviting visitors to discover the monument’s “rivers, streams, woods, flora, fauna, geology, and the night skies that have attracted humans for millennia.”
Now the difficult task begins of attempting to bridge those philosophical gaps and implementing a ground plan for a property twice the size of Acadia National Park that has plenty of mountains, rivers and moose, but few roads and almost no infrastructure.
Located just east of Baxter State Park, the new monument contains miles of frontage along the East Branch of the Penobscot River and Wassataquoik Stream as well as numerous peaks with views of Mount Katahdin. Visitors to the monument, which is already open to the public, can hike, fish, camp, observe wildlife and canoe/kayak. Snowmobiling and hunting will be allowed in specified areas.