President Barack Obama has named a new national monument in the northeastern state of Maine. Businesswoman Roxanne Quimby gave the 35,000 hectares of land to the government. The gift honored the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate” the anniversary. He called the land in Maine’s North Woods “extraordinary.”
The Katahdin Woods and Waters monument includes the East Branch of the Penobscot River. From the land, Maine’s tallest mountain -- Katahdin -- can be seen. Many animals live on the land, including moose, black bears, coyotes, deer and bald eagles.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the gift would permit the area to “remain accessible to current and future generations of Americans, ensuring the rich history of Maine’s hunting, fishing and recreation heritage will forever be preserved.”
Supporters of the monument say it will create hundreds of jobs in an area affected by the closing of paper factories. But opponents fear it will hurt efforts to rebuild a forest-based economy in the area.
Earlier this year, the Maine state legislature said it opposed federal ownership of the land. Governor Paul LePage also opposed the creation of the monument.
Lucas St. Clair is Roxanne Quimby’s son. He has led the efforts in recent years to create the monument.
“Many parks over the history of the park system have been criticized upon creation,” he said. “But when we look to the future, we see huge amounts of success.”'
Quimby began buying the land in the 1990s. She wanted it to be named a national park. But only Congress can create new parks. The president has the power to create national monuments without the approval of Congress. Many national parks -- including the Grand Canyon National Park -- were monuments before becoming parks.
The land has a value of $60 million. Quimby gave 20 million to help care for it. She plans to help raise another 20 million for the effort within three years.
I’m Caty Weaver.
Words in This Story
accessible - adj. able to be reached or approached
heritage - n. the traditions, achievements, beliefs, etc., that are part of the history of a group or nation
preserve - v. to keep (something) in its original state or in good condition