Monday 9/5/16 We picked up some literature the other day about a new section of land in this area that was just (13 days ago) designated as a National Monument. When I hear National Monument I think of seeing one small location with some type of marker explaining why it’s there. But this was not the case. This National Monument is actually 87,563 acres of mountains and wilderness. When we drove to the campgrounds the first day we noticed signs around town saying “NO to National Park” and “Yes to National Park” but didn’t know what was going on.
Roxanne Quimby, the founder of Burt’s Bees, began purchasing land near Baxter State Park in 2001 before formally announcing her plans in 2011 that the land would one day become part of a national park. However, following opposition by state and federal politicians to the creation of a national park, Quimby changed her focus to a national monument, which could be created with an executive order by the president under the Antiquities Act. On August 23, 2016, The Quimby Family Foundation donated the land (valued at $60 million) and $20 million to fund initial operations and a commitment of $20 million in future support to the United States federal government. On August 24, 2016, the eve of the National Park Service centennial, President Barack Obama proclaimed 87,563 acres of land and designated it as the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
The land is very underdeveloped but it didn’t have the rules and regulations that Baxter State Park has. Meaning I can drive the truck into this section. We decided to drive into the National Monument and see if we could find some trails to hike. Looking at a map there was a road into the area about 15 miles away from the campground. When we got to that road it was an old dirt and gravel logging road. On the map, we found that there was a place to get information on that road. This road was a single lane dirt road surrounded by trees. Something you would take a Jeep on. Our truck is made to haul a trailer, not go off-road. We drove 6 miles back into the Maine wilderness and finally found the place we were looking for. It wasn’t much. A couple of cabins in the woods and nobody around. No information, no trails, no people, nothing. We decided at that point that this place was just too wild for us. We didn’t want to drive these roads looking for trails that weren’t even marked. The area is so big we would probably get lost and nobody is around to find us. We turned around and headed back.
We went back to Millinocket and walked a short bike/hike trail they had in town. Then took the truck to a self-service car wash to wash off the dirt and dust from the last couple of days. Filled up with fuel and headed back to the trailer for the rest of the day.