On August 25, the US National Park Service turned a century old.
To celebrate, President Barack Obama designated 87,500 acres of land in Maine as protected territory, creating the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument along the east branch of the Penobscot River.
The area comes as a gift from the family foundation of Roxanne Quimby, a philanthropist and the co-founder of Burt’s Bees. Combining the value of the land ($60 million), an operations and maintenance endowment ($20 million), and a pledge to raise another $20 million, Quimby is effectively donating $100 million to the government.
The area features spots for fishing, camping, and trails for hiking, and now that the land is a national monument, the National Parks Service will manage and protect the wildlife and fauna that live there.Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument might end up being the last national park site created on the East Coast, since it’s one of the last sprawling wild areas in the eastern US
The designation “will reinforce the need to continue protecting our great outdoors as we enter the second century of the National Park Service,” the White House said in a statement.
It will be the only national monument that allows hunting, though not of bears, which was a provision in the foundation’s deed to the government. More than half of the trails will allow snow-mobiling during the winter.
The monument will likely boost Maine’s local economy in the area, and contribute to the national revenue earned through park tourism — which already totals about $646 billion. Over 3 million people per year currently visit the site, but its new recognition will likely bolster that number even more.
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