A Forest Chorus – May eNewsletter

Road improvements, youth building community, member meet-ups, summer camping reservations open, and more…

A black-capped chickadee perched on a spring tree branch.
Hear me chirp! Photo credit: Ross Knowlton

Cue the sounds of spring in the monument: the passionate chirps and trills of the chickadees, raucous choir of spring peepers, deep thrums of the grouse, and many more. Surrounded by the excitement of amphibian and avian courtship sounds, we humans find spring to be a time of inspiration and energy as well. What are the sounds and activities that you look forward to each May?

While we hope you have plans to visit the monument soon, don’t forget that Friends is on the road for our Membership May events – happening at our favorite brewpubs around the state.

We are humbled by the amazing community of people who partner with us and impact our work. We have exciting news to share from NPS, and this month’s Ripple Effect is chock full of inspirational articles, profiles, and events that you won’t want to miss.

Priority Park Progress

A small SUV drives on a dirt road.
Take time to enjoy the ride (your car will thank you). Photo credit: Taylor Walker

Last year, you heard from Friends about the “A Monumental Welcome” campaign. The campaign is funding a variety of efforts to improve and enhance the visitor experience in the monument, and we’re excited to begin sharing campaign success stories with you as we enter 2024 and these projects get underway.


Roads are always a hot topic in the monument. We at Friends are proud to share that we’ve granted $205,000 to NPS for road work in FY24 and FY25. This funding will be utilized to grade, brush, and ditch visitor use roads, particularly in the South. NPS will be renting a grader, as well as purchasing materials and hiring staff to re-deck bridges, repair culverts, fill potholes, and address storm damage. As we talk about roads, as a reminder, please always be on the lookout for logging trucks and practice safe driving in the monument. We hope you enjoy smooth sailing driving in 2024!

Friends News

A group of children walk along a wooded path in spring.
Elise leads campers on a walk in the woods. Photo credit: She of the Flowers

Katahdin Learning Project – Friends education staff are still beaming after a wonderful week of bringing nature and community together for our third annual (still free!) April Vacation Camp in Millinocket. During the week, Vacation Campers learned…

  • The importance of clean water to people and wildlife
  • How to be safe near and on the water
  • About the past and present of the Wabanaki Nations
  • What resources they have in their community
  • How pollinators help the ecosystem
  • To Leave No Trace while playing outside
  • What trees fill our forests



Children are jumping across a vernal pool in the woods.
“You got this!” Photo credit: She of the Flowers

Education Coordinator Elise emphasizes that camp teaches lessons beyond the programmed instruction. Children realized that they had a voice in environmental action. Others felt like they belonged to a community that accepts and will listen to them with empathy. Several kids simply discovered that the outdoors is a wonderful place to be. The middle and high school volunteers found out what it means to be a good role model and the satisfaction of helping others. For a few local students this was their third consecutive year of Vacation Camp! We’re grateful to be a positive part of these kids’ lives. Thank you to KAWW Ranger Crystal Lewis who taught a wildlife lesson about salmon and helped campers become Junior Rangers. This program happens in collaboration with Outdoor Sport Institute, Katahdin Gear Library, and Millinocket Memorial Library. We had additional support from Our Katahdin, Katahdin Collaborative, and Northern Penobscot Activities Council, and of course, YOU, our members!

Monument Access Bill Introduced – Last week, Senator Angus S. King, Jr. introduced a new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Access Act to help more people access the Monument via a southern route from Millinocket on portions of the Stacyville, Huber, and Roberts roads. This legislation is markedly different from the Access Act introduced last Congress, incorporating important local feedback. We are pleased to see extensive support from the Millinocket business community and the Penobscot Nation. Friends of KWW executive director Brian Hinrichs says, “Access through Millinocket will bring economic benefits to local businesses and convenience to visitors looking to explore more of the Katahdin region. We’re excited to see progress on this critical legislation and look forward to supporting its passage.” The official press release includes more detail, including links to a map and the full legislation.

Behind the Signs

News from the National Park Service and Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument

  • While not required for summer camping at KAWW, campsite reservations are free with a small online or phone processing fee. Browse and book at recreation.gov to ensure you get your favorite spot!
  • The Loop Road and north gates are scheduled to swing open on May 24th. Friends will post on social when it happens!
  • Seasonal NPS staff in maintenance, interpretation/education, and cultural resources will start between early May and mid-June. Eight of the 17 employees hired so far are from local communities!
  • Although most seasonal positions have been filled, check here for new opportunities: nps.gov/kaww/getinvolved/workwithus

NPS Trivia – Q: What is a “unigrid?” A: The NPS-standard fold-out brochure that you’ll find at kiosks and visitor contact stations at many National Parks, Monuments, and Historic Sites–and now, Katahdin Woods and Waters! (Psst, Friends will have KAWW Unigrids available at our member meet-ups.)

Ripple Effect

News and notes from the Katahdin region, the Friends community, and beyond

Sponsor Spotlight

Thank you to our Lookout level sponsor Down East Magazine! Delivering the best of Maine, including the Katahdin region, year-round. Check out the Great Maine Scavenger Hunt, in the June issue on newsstands now!

Sponsors provide crucial funding that supports Friends mission and work. To learn more about becoming sponsor in 2024, visit friendsofkww.org/sponsorship or contact sarah@friendsofkww.org.

—This blog post was adapted from an email sent on May 10, 2024. Sign up for our email list at friendsofkww.org/signup