In September of 2017, a team of four Maine-born photographers and filmmakers set off into Katahdin Woods & Waters to document the land in hopes of encouraging more public use. Their film, Monumental, documents a five day, 64-mile-long human-powered circumnavigation of the park by canoe, bike, and foot.
In August of 2016, President Obama proclaimed 87,563 acres of historic land to establish Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument in Northern Maine. The land, which sits adjacent to Baxter State Park, was generously donated to the government by the Quimby Family Foundation, along with $20 million in initial funding to support its establishment. Its designation grants the use of federal funds and resources to maintain the new monument for public recreation, along with protection and conservation.
The area was first inhabited more than 11,000 years ago, when Native peoples established themselves along the East Branch of the Penobscot River. More recently, the region was home to part of Maine’s thriving logging industry from the early 18th century to the late 19th century. Now, the monument offers spectacular views of Mount Katahdin, protects ecological features and historic cultural resources, and hosts a variety of outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, camping, fishing, and hunting.
Local and national controversy has surrounded Maine’s recently established Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument in recent months. While there has been plenty of noise generated by these debates, none of it has touched on the reason the monument was created in the first place: to protect and encourage public access to Maine’s natural beauty and outdoor adventures. World-class camping, canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, hunting, fishing, wildlife, and sightseeing are all at every visitor’s fingertips.