A day before the centennial of the National Park Service, President Obama officially created the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine. Comprising some 87,500 acres of land in Maine’s North Woods, it came about in big part to a donation of land and tens of millions of dollars from Burt’s Bees cofounder Roxanne Quimby.
According to NPR, the land has played a crucial role in the area’s timber economy and the state’s paper mills. There were heated debates over the National Park Service operating these lands that also offer recreation in the form of hunting, fishing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking and more.
Having bought out her cofounder Burt Shavitz years ago and eventually selling Burt’s Bees to the Clorox Company, Quimby has been using her fortune for preservation. When Quimby began buying up land from the downsizing paper companies, there was serious kickback amongst residents and businesses.
Which is why Obama’s designation for the Katahdin Woods and Waters is only a National Monument — Maine’s congressional delegation refused to back a national park designation for the area. So Obama, who has conserved more land and water than any other U.S. president, used his executive authority to designate it a national monument.
It’s another reminder to get out there on Friday to support and celebrate 100 years of the National Park Service.
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