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 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. While there has been plenty of noise generated by these debates in recent months, 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. 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.