Obama, Burt’s Bees Cofounder Make Woods in Maine a National Monument
By executive order from the White House, a huge, dreamy chunk of the Maine wilderness will now be preserved forever for your kayaking and bird-spotting pleasure. Nearly 90,000 green and rugged acres formerly used by logging and paper companies are now officially designated the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
The move comes after Roxanne Quimby, of Burt’s Bees fame, gifted the land to the government after a long and controversial quest to launch a new national park. It also comes on the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
It’s a win for environmentalists and people who love to wake up surrounded by vistas of undisturbed natural glory, but it’s not sitting so well with those in the state who are skeptical about it, and who don’t appreciate the Obama Administration deciding what Maine can and can’t do with its vast wooded areas, reports the Portland Press Herald.
Among those leading that charge is Maine Governor Paul LePage, who railed against “rich, out-of-state liberals” in a statement to the press.
“The Legislature passed a resolution opposing a National Monument in the North Woods, members of Maine’s congressional delegation opposed it and local citizens voted against it repeatedly,” LePage said. “Despite this lack of support, the Quimby family used high-paid lobbyists in Washington, D.C., to go around the people of Maine and have President Obama use his authority to designate this area a National Monument. This once again demonstrates that rich, out-of-state liberals can force their unpopular agenda on the Maine people against their will.”
In a poll on the website for the Bangor Daily News that asked whether readers supported Quimby giving up the land to the government, 57.35 percent said “no.”
Not to be confused with a similarly named complex of luxury apartments in Lexington, the Katahdin Woods area is lush mountainous landscape right in the middle of North Maine Woods. It’s “currently accessible via several dirt, woods roads out of the Millinocket and Patten areas,” according to a handy FAQ about it on the Press Herald website.
It is not a national park, which requires approval from Congress. A national park and a national monument are more or less the same thing, though there are some key differences.