Move comes in advance of 100th anniversary of National Park Service
Background: Today, President Barack Obama designated the country’s 413th national park site: Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Elliotsville Plantation Inc. (EPI), a private Maine-based foundation, donated more than 87,500 acres of land along the East Branch of the Penobscot River in Maine to the federal government to create the new park.
This monument, to be managed by the National Park Service, is expected to create hundreds of jobs in the Katahdin region, giving an economic boost to the entire state while permanently protecting a landscape that inspired American conservationists from poet Henry David Thoreau to President Theodore Roosevelt.
The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is home to wildlife such as lynx, bears, brook trout and moose and one of the only places in the East where you can find rare, sought-after bird species like gray jays, boreal chickadees and the American three-toed woodpecker.
The west side of the park includes overlooks, a scenic loop road and will allow for traditional park uses like skiing, horseback riding, hiking, biking and fishing, while the east side of the park will allow for Katahdin-region activities like snowmobiling and hunting.
For more than four years, NPCA worked with EPI and many partners to preserve this nationally significant land. Supporters of the new national park include U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce, the Katahdin Rotary Club, the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce, the Bangor City Council and the Maine Innkeepers Association. More than 200 Maine businesses in the Katahdin, Houlton, Presque Isle, Bangor and Acadia regions have signed a letter to Maine’s congressional delegation stating their support for the park.
Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association
“One hundred years ago, President Woodrow Wilson designated Sieur de Monts National Monument, now known as Acadia National Park. It was protected for its rich history, scientific interest and landscape beauty. The same can be said about Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
“This land is truly deserving of national park status and protection. It has vast boreal forests, abundant wildlife and flowing rivers that are all idyllic and so uniquely Maine. Now families across the country and around the world will be able to go hiking, horseback riding, skiing and fishing in this incredible area for generations to come.
“So many people in Maine and across the country worked tirelessly to make this national park site a reality. Elliotsville Plantation Inc. generously donated the land and an endowment, which is the first gift of its size in the history of our national parks. Roxanne Quimby, her family and her foundation had the foresight to protect this land and the selflessness to donate it for all to enjoy. And we commend President Obama for acting to create the national park site, making Maine the bookends to the last 100 years of our world-renowned National Park System.
“We as a nation will continue to be grateful for their efforts for generations to come.”
Learn more at www.npca.org/mainewoods and join the conversation online with #MonumentForME.
Click here to read the White House’s fact sheet on the monument.
About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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