Landscape-Scale Conservation and Recreation in Maine's North Woods
In August 2016 President Obama designated the new 87,500-acre Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in the Maine Woods on lands east of Baxter State Park. This historic action coincided with the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The lands for the National Monument were donated to the National Park Service by Elliotsville Plantation, Inc. (EPI), a Maine family foundation founded by Roxanne Quimby. This area between Baxter State Park and the East Branch of the Penobscot River has long been recognized for its ecological, recreational, and cultural importance to Maine and beyond. In April 2016 after input from Maine Chapter members and AMC’s board of directors, we expressed our support to the Obama Administration and the Maine congressional delegation for a national monument on these lands as a step toward a National Park and Recreation Area.
In the short time since its designation, the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument has already brought new visitors and economic opportunities to the region. AMC has continued to tout these benefits and advocate on behalf of the monument. In April 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13792, which directed the Secretary of the Interior to review certain National Monuments designated or expanded under the Antiquities Act, including Katahdin Woods and Waters. As part of the monument review, the Department of Interior launched a public comment process. More than 500 AMC members submitted comments in support of the monument. In May, 2017 we again expressed our support for the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in response to a hearing hosted by the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Natural Resources, Federal Lands Subcommittee. And, in June 2017, AMC submitted its official comments to the Federal docket in support of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. In August, Interior Secretary Zinke transmitted a report on the monument review process to President Trump. In September, a draft of the report was leaked to the press; the report includes the recommendation to allow “active timber management” in Katahdin Woods and Waters.
Moving forward, AMC will continue to monitor developments and watch closely for an official decision from the Trump Administration or action from Congress. AMC firmly believes that an administrative decision to alter the designation, allowed uses, or provisions associated with the Monument is inconsistent with the public process we have already participated in and the ongoing public management planning process. While it remains unclear what “active timber management” would mean for Katahdin Woods and Waters, we believe it is through the management planning process and subsequent Congressional action, that such decisions should be made.
AMC members have been recreating on these lands for more than a century and have long been involved in trails and mapping of Katahdin and surrounding lands. This new national monument creates the opportunity for more Americans to enjoy and understand the iconic Maine Woods, and to appreciate the region’s Penobscot Indian and logging heritage.
The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument joins a diverse matrix of public and privately conserved lands in the Maine Woods, including AMC’s 74,000 acres of conservation and recreation lands that provide the focus for the organization’s Maine Woods Initiative, an innovative approach to conservation that combines land conservation, outdoor recreation, resource protection, sustainable forestry, and community partnerships. AMC’s land totals more than 100 square miles, all of which is open to the public for recreation.
Check out the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument page for information on how to plan a visit.
View a map of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and surrounding areas in Maine's North Woods.
AMC members have been recreating on these lands for more than a century and have long been involved in trails and mapping of Katahdin and surrounding lands. Pictured below are a few photographs of AMC trips to the region courtesy of AMC Library and Archives. In order (1) an AMC trip to Katahdin in 1910 at the Staceyville train station, (2) An 1886 photograph from a logging road on the north bank of the Wassataquoik Stream, and (3) an AMC trip along the East Branch, shown at Lunkasoo Ferry in 1923.