And then there were 413… Welcome Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

Park Chaser’s list of National Park Service units just got a little longer. With a new designation on August 24th 2016, there are now officially 413 units in the NPS.  Using the authority given in the 1906 Antiquities Act, President Obama authorized the creation of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in northern Maine. The announcement came just a day before the 100th anniversary of the National Park System.

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was created from 87,500 acres of land gifted to the federal government from the foundation Elliotsville Plantation, Inc.  The foundation was started by Roxanne Quimby, the co-founder of the natural personal care products company, Burt’s Bees. Not only did the foundation gift the land, the organization is also committing a $20 million endowment for park operational needs and infrastructure.  The agreement also included a pledge to raise $20 million more for the monument.

Two days later, President Obama announced the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea National Monument in Hawaii.  Obama and his administration have now protected over 548 million acres of land and water during his presidency–the most of any president in history.

5 Things You Need To Know About Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

  1. Located in north central Maine, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is roughly 165 miles north of the state capitol of Augusta.  Its closest neighbor is Baxter State Park (also created by 28 land donations from a former governor). Baxter State Park is famous among hikers as the terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
  2. This is the 6th NPS unit in Maine.  The state has 3 National Parks and sees more than 2.8 million visitors annually to its NPS units.
  3. The national monument is very remote and undeveloped. Today there is only access to the unit via dirt roads. Vehicles are recommended to have high clearance.
  4. The nearest airports to the monument are in Bangor, ME about 80 miles south or Portland, ME 220 miles to the southwest.
  5. If you plan to visit all of Maine’s National Park Service units during your visit to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, you’ll definitely need a sturdy car and several days of travel time. Katahdin Woods is a 2.5-hour drive from Acadia National Park, a 3.5-hour drive from Roosevelt Campbell International Park, and a 2.75-hour drive from Saint Croix Island International Historic Site.
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument – image provided by

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