President Obama today declared the creation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument to protect nearly 90,000 acres of wilderness from development in Maine.
An executive order by President Obama will create the new National Monument and permanently protect a wilderness of mountains, forests, and waters near Maine’s terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
The Monument abuts Baxter State Park and is a popular destination for hiking, canoeing, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
Katahdin Woods & Waters: A Tremendous Gift
The formal designation was made possible by philanthropist Roxanne Quimby, who gave the 87,563-acre plot to the federal government as a thank-you gesture.
Quimby began buying the land in 2001. She said the gift, made through a transfer of deeds on Tuesday, was meant to thank the nation that helped make her a millionaire. Quimby is the co-founder of Burt’s Bees.
Quimby’s philanthropic foundation, Elliotsville Plantation, Inc., also donated $20 million to supplement federal funds for infrastructure and operations. The foundation is committed to donating another $20 million in future support.
First Step To National Park
Beyond a benefit of a protected wild space to be enjoyed by all, the designation may boost the economy of the region, which lost roughly 430 manufacturing jobs since the recent recession.
The new monument is nearly twice the size of Acadia National Park. The declaration paves the way for future National Park status.
While only Congress can designate National Parks, the President has the power to create National Monuments.
Of the nation’s 58 National Parks, 36 began with Monument status. Katahdin is the 151st National Monument since 1906.