Maine Just Got An Awesome National Monument – And It’s Breathtaking
In August, Maine received its newest National Monument – Katahdin Woods and Waters. While its creation was (and still is) controversial among some, we felt it was important to highlight this region and the park for all that it provides in the way of beautiful nature and access to Maine recreation activities. Even better? It’s completely free to visit!
Katahdin Woods and Waters is the second national monument to be created in Maine.
The first was the monument that came just before the creation of Acadia National Park. It is located east of Baxter State Park, about 200 miles north of Portland.
The Monument is made up of over 87,500 acres of forestland, which makes Acadia’s 48,900 acres feel small!
The land on which the monument sits was donated by a nonprofit foundation that was founded by Roxanne Quimby, the co-founder of the Burt’s Bees.
The foundation has also committed to funding the maintenance expenses. While only Congress can create national parks, presidents have the ability to create monuments by writing an order. This ability was granted more than 100 years ago through the American Antiquities Act of 1906.
Katahdin Woods and Water is managed by the National Park Service and exists to preserve the East Branch of the Penobscot River, as well as a hearty portion of the Maine Woods.
Upon announcing the new park, the White House provide the following statement:
"In addition to protecting spectacular geology, significant biodiversity, and recreational opportunities, the new monument will help support climate resiliency in the region. The protected area—together with the neighboring Baxter State Park to the west—will ensure that this large landscape remains intact, bolstering the forest’s resilience against the impacts of climate change."
While we don’t want to ignore that some of the worry among local residents has been that the area will no be off-limits to those who rely on it for work and fun, we’d do want to focus on the positives. Among them are the many things that you can do in the park!
Such as, hiking!
If you love hiking in Maine, you’ll love the several trails accessible via trail-heads on the Loop Road and Messer Pond Road. These are both long and short and cater to people of all ability levels.
Katahdin Woods and Waters has designated "recreation" areas throughout. Here, hunting is permitted as long as you have a Maine state license. These areas can be found east of the East Branch of the Penobscot. Click here for more information and a map.
You can find a link to the map
Along with camping!
Campsites and lean-tos are open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis. The monument also includes the Haskell Hut, which (along with lean-tos) can be used for free. Note that there will be more discussion about expanding the campsites and cabins in the future.
And mountain biking!
If you like to explore Maine’s outdoors via bike, you’re in luck! Mountain biking is allowed on gravel roads and trails
And, of course, sledding. THIS kind of sledding!
While routes that run north to south to the east of the East Branch of the Penobscot continue to be examined and explored, there are other routes available. When you arrive, ask what’s open!
If you’ve got a Maine state fishing license, feel free to fish! The East Branch of the Penobscot and the tributaries nearby are said to be excellent spots for dropping a line.
For more information on how to visit the newest National Monument in Maine, click
. Or, give them a call at 207-370-5813.
If Katahdin Woods and Water inspires you to explore more of Maine’s land,
check out these 12 Maine’s State Parks instead!
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