President Obama designated 87,500 of central Maine forest the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Wednesday, one day after the land was officially donated to the federal government by a co-founder of Burt's Bees.
The White House announced the monument one day before the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service, the government agency that will manage the land. Roxanne Quimby, one of the co-founders of the popular lip balm company, donated the land to the government.
"The new national monument ... protects approximately 87,500 acres, including the stunning East Branch of the Penobscot River and a portion of the Maine woods that is rich in biodiversity and known for its outstanding opportunities to hike, canoe, hunt, fish, snowmobile, snowshoe and cross-country ski," the White House said.
The designation is the culmination of about 15 years of work by Quimby, who started buying up land east of Baxter State Park in 2001. Baxter State Park is famous for being the home of Mt. Katahdin, the end point of the 2,800-mile long Appalachian Trial.
Quimby's land purchases have been controversial in Maine. While she allowed hikers and other passive recreation use on her land, she banned hunting and fishing, to the chagrin of locals.
Reports from local media indicated Quimby always wanted to donate the land to the government. The gift is a significant donation, according to a White House fact sheet.
"In addition to the donation of the land, the approximately $100 million gift includes $20 million to supplement federal funds for initial park operational needs and infrastructure development at the new monument, and a pledge of another $20 million in future philanthropic support," the White House said.