GREENVILLE, Maine—The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) today applauded President Obama’s designation of a new 87,500-acre national monument on lands east of Baxter State Park in the Maine Woods. The new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was designated on lands donated to the National Park Service by Elliotsville Plantation, Inc. (EPI), a Maine family foundation.
The lands between Baxter State Park and the East Branch of the Penobscot River have long been recognized for their ecological, recreational, and cultural importance to Maine and beyond. Earlier this year AMC expressed its support to the Obama Administration and the Maine Congressional delegation for designation of a national monument on these lands as a step toward a national park and recreation area.
“This is an historic day for Maine. The expertise of the National Park Service in building trails and other recreational infrastructure, and helping people learn about spectacular outdoor places, creates an incredible opportunity for conservation, recreation, and new nature-based tourism jobs in the region,” said AMC Senior Vice President Walter Graff. “We applaud President Obama for making this designation and the generosity of the Quimby-St. Clair family for donating this land and an endowment to ensure the land’s integrity is maintained for the benefit of future generations.”
“This new national monument creates the opportunity for more Americans to experience, enjoy, and understand the iconic Maine Woods, and to appreciate the region’s Penobscot Indian and logging heritage,” Graff said. “While this is an historic event for Maine, there is still much work to be done around management planning and public input to ensure that these lands provide opportunities for people to experience the Maine Woods, provide protection for important ecological values, and tell the story of the region’s people. AMC is ready to assist and engage in that work.”
Throughout its history, AMC has been a strong advocate for national parks and a partner in the management of recreation on National Park Service lands. AMC advocated for some of America’s earliest national parks, including Mount Rainier and Acadia national parks.
The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument joins a diverse matrix of public and privately conserved lands in the Maine Woods, including AMC’s 70,000 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.
AMC notes that conserved lands combined with investment in recreational and visitor infrastructure can bring long-term economic benefits to local communities. The new national monument in the Katahdin region is one of the best opportunities in recent years to address the economic challenges of the region. This generous gift of land and endowment by EPI is a first step toward realizing the potential ecological, economic, and community benefits of these lands. To achieve those benefits, it must be followed by ample opportunity for public input, especially from local stakeholders, and sound planning, investment, and management, the group said.
More information on AMC’s approach to large land proposals in the Maine Woods region can be found online at https://www.outdoors.org/pdf/upload/AMC-Public-Statement-on-Proposed-Monument_4-27-16.pdf.
With a growing roster of more than 5,000 members in Maine, the Appalachian Mountain Club offers educational programs for children, adults, and families; operates its Maine Wilderness Lodges for the public in the 100-Mile Wilderness region; operates Knubble Bay Camp and Beal Island Campground in Georgetown and Echo Lake Camp in Acadia National Park; publishes the popular AMC Maine Mountain Guide and Discover Acadia National Park; and maintains offices in Portland and Greenville.
More information on AMC’s Maine Woods Initiative is available at outdoors.org/mwi.
Founded in 1876, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of America’s Northeast. AMC helps people of all ages and abilities to explore and develop a deep appreciation of the natural world. With chapters from Maine to Washington, D.C., guidebooks and maps, and unique lodges and huts, AMC helps people get outdoors on their own, with family and friends, and through activities close to home and beyond. AMC invites the public to support its conservation advocacy and research, youth programming, and care of 1,800 miles of trails. More information is available at www.outdoors.org.