KATAHDIN WOODS, Maine - President Obama has designated a large portion of land in North-Central Maine the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. The Administration says that this is part of their commitment to protecting our land, water and wildlife for future generations. According to the Administration, the designation will permanently protect significant natural, scientific, historic and cultural resources.
The new national monument - which will be managed by the National Park Service - covers approximately 87,500 acres. The land has been donated to the Federal Government by philanthropist Roxanne Quimby's foundation. It is facilitated by the National Park Foundation as part of its Centennial Campaign for America's National Parks. In addition to the donation of the land, the approximately $100 million gift includes $20 million to supplement federal funds for initial park operational needs and infrastructure development at the new monument, and a pledge of another $20 million in future philanthropic support.
In March, Maine's House voted 77-71 on a symbolic bill saying the legislature doesn't consent to the federal government acquiring land for a monument. Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine wrote to President Barack Obama to encourage him to create a national monument in late May. Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin, whose district includes the property, was opposed to the monument designation. Gov. Paul Lepage spoke against the proposed monument at a hearing in East Millinocket in June.
The Federal Government says that every dollar invested in national parks generates $10 for the national economy, most of which stays in the local communities. Our national parks, forests and other public lands attract visitors from all over the world, fueling local economies and supporting an estimated $646 billion economy.