The designation is a major victory for Quimby and her son, Lucas St. Clair, who a year ago shifted the family's focus toward protecting the land as a monument instead of a congressionally created national park. National Park Service staff will hold a series of public listening sessions throughout the Katahdin region starting the week of September 12.
The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument encompasses "awe-inspiring mountains, forests, and waters of north-central ME", the White House said in a press release. In addition to the new park land, the gift includes an endowment of $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.
However, Quimby's personality and relentless push for a national park divided this battered corner of New England, where shuttered paper mills have led to crippling unemployment and a shrinking population, and where distrust of the federal government runs deep.
Rep. Chellie Pingree praised the announcement Wednesday.
"President Obama instead used his executive authority to create the monument", Scott says.
Not all of the details on the new North Woods national monument were available Wednesday morning.
National monuments are, in many respects, almost identical to the better-known national parks, although they often do not have the same cache among tourists as parks. More Designated national monuments to reflect the diverse stories of Americans including the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument, the Pullman National Monument, the Honouliuli National Monument and most recently, the Stonewall National Monument, the nation's first National Monument honoring LGBT rights. Hunting and snowmobiling - two so-called "traditional uses" that are important to the year-round local economy - will apparently be allowed on some but not all of the 87,654 acres.
As part of his effort to "reset" the conversation with residents, Maine's congressional delegation and the White House, St. Clair also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a public relations agency and a Washington lobbying firm.
Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King, Republican U.S. Sen. But critics fear that property maintained by the National Park Service would hinder efforts to rebuild a forest-based economy. And some people simply don't think the federal government is competent. "This designation is a fitting tribute to the 'Centennial of America's Greatest Idea, '" said the Board of Directors for Elliotsville Plantation, Inc. Local officials have said the plan wouldn't produce the promised jobs and that regulations aimed at protecting park vistas would limit industries in surrounding towns. Since 1916, it has preserved land for the benefit of the public-us!
"That's one way to get out of paying taxes to the state of ME", he said.
"The heart of the North Woods, about 3.5 million acres, remains the largest undeveloped territory east of the Rockies".