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August 25, 2016

Obama Declares Donated Maine Woodlands a National Monument

President Obama on Wednesday designated as a national monument more than 87,000 acres of pristine territory in Maine’s North Woods formally donated to the federal government this month by Burt’s Bees co-founder Roxanne Quimby, reports The Washington Post. The land, valued at about $60 million, is part of a gift effectively worth about $100 million from Ms. Quimby’s foundation, including a $20 million endowment for operations and maintenance and a pledge to raise another $20 million.

The White House announcement of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was timed to coincide with Thursday’s observation of the centennial of the National Park Service. Because it is not a national park, the designation does not require Congressional approval, but it could be a first step toward park status for the land, according to the Post.

Ms. Quimby, who plowed much of her natural-products fortune into conservation efforts, long sought to establish a national park in the North Woods but encountered opposition from area residents and Maine political leaders who viewed the plan as a federal intrusion on local prerogatives for using the land. A campaign by her son, Lucas St. Clair, shored up support for the monument proposal, in part through concessions such as allowing hunting and snowmobiling within the protected area.