Maine’s Senators Introduce Bill to Improve Access at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

August 10, 2022 (Falmouth, ME) – Maine Audubon is pleased to learn of the introduction of Senate Bill 4784, The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Access Act, by Senator Angus King and co-sponsored by Senator Susan Collins.

“Improving access to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument from the communities of Millinocket and East Millinocket will give visitors more convenient access into the Monument. We’re grateful that Senator Collins and Senator King have introduced this bill to improve the visitation experience at this gem of Maine’s North Woods.” – Eliza Donoghue, Advocacy Director, Maine Audubon.

This bipartisan legislation would:

  1. Allow the National Park Service to acquire land from willing sellers to improve access to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, with a focus on the southern communities of Millinocket and East Millinocket.
  2. Grant the National Park Service authority to purchase or lease facilities for park headquarters, staff offices, and visitor services outside the boundary of the Monument.

“Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is an integral part of Maine’s North Woods, and the area provides some of the best remaining wildlife habitat east of the Rockies for iconic wildlife including Moose, Canada Lynx, Black Bear, and more than one hundred species of migratory birds. This legislation will allow more people to access and appreciate this area of national ecological significance.” – Nick Lund, Advocacy and Outreach Manager, Maine Audubon.

Access from the south has been a goal of the Monument since its creation, as it puts visitors within easy reach of amenities in Millinocket and East Millinocket, helping those communities see more of the direct, positive economic impact of the Monument. In 2021, the National Park Service estimated that the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument brought $3.3 million and 41,000 visitors into the region.

Maine Audubon recognizes the Monument and the surrounding Katahdin region as an outdoor recreation mecca and an important birding hot spot. Maine Audubon partnered with Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters this summer to produce ‘Great Birding Spots in the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (PDF),’ a map that highlights eight distinct areas birders should visit in the Monument in their search for colorful breeding warblers and sought-after boreal species.

We thank Senator Collins and Senator King for their efforts to support Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. This legislation will help ensure that the Monument will reach its fullest potential to welcome visitors, protect important natural resources, and continue to contribute to the economy.