Friends in Bloom – May eNewsletter

Greetings from the executive director, a monumental campaign, gates open, and more…

My name is Brian Hinrichs and I’m writing to you as the new executive director for Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters. I want to start by thanking the incredible staff and board of Friends for the warm welcome over the last few weeks, and express my sincere excitement for what’s to come–including meeting many of you! Now in my third week, it is clear I have joined the organization at a time of significant growth and opportunity, as our big announcement earlier this week makes clear (read more below!). With gates opening, trees budding, and Friends planning their spring and summer adventures, there is much to look forward to.

See you on the trails,
Brian Hinrichs, Executive Director

A white male stands in front of a podium and presentation screen.
FKWW board member and campaign co-chair Lucas St. Clair. Photo credit: Northern Oak Media

Capital Campaign Announcement – Friends, together with Elliotsville Foundation, Inc., the NPS, and a Wabanaki Advisory Board, gathered in Bangor with lead donors, partners, and members on Tuesday. In case you haven’t seen the news, we announced the launch of A Monumental Welcome, a $35 million fundraising campaign for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. The campaign has three goals: providing funding for a contact station, priority park projects, and Wabanaki-directed projects. Read the official press release here on our blog. We invite you to be a part of giving every visitor A Monumental Welcome; to learn more, please contact Development Director Meghan Cooper at

A wooden building with large windows, clad in cedar shingles, stands on a wooded hillside.
A photorealistic rendering of Tekαkαpimək Contact Station in construction at Katahdin Woods & Waters. Image courtesy of Saunders Architecture (rendering by MIR)

Visiting in Spring – 

Spring at Katahdin Woods and Waters is a special time. Black flies have arrived along with the trillium, trout lilies, and fiddleheads. All are reasons to celebrate the resilience of the Maine woods! Did you know: black flies require clean, moving water to breed? The East Branch watershed provides ample and ideal habitat for the larvae, which are important food for fish, turtles, and tadpoles. When the flies mature, our native birds and bats depend on them as a food source.

Fortunately, on the water is one of the best places humans can find some reprieve from the maddening swarms. In spring, the rivers run high and swift, providing excitement perfect for experienced paddlers at the northern end of the river. Kevin Slater of Mahoosuc Guide Services has been running the East Branch since 1973, and cautions that only experienced paddlers comfortable with rapids and carries should attempt the stretch from Matagamon to Bowlin–or employ the services of a guide. Friends’ Projects Director Sam recommends the trip from Lunksoos up to the Seboeis River confluence and back anytime from now through foliage season for an accessible day trip with no rapids! For more inspiration, contact for suggestions and a digital “in-progress” version of our Three Rivers Paddling Guide.

A close-up image of a yellow wildflower.
Trout lilies are one of the first bursts of color in the spring. Their trout patterned leaves reminds us that shortly after they bloom, fishing season begins. Photo credit: Elise Goplerud, FKWW

Learning and Growing – Friends’ Katahdin Learning Project is abuzz this season, providing empowering, place-based experiences in the national monument and our communities.

  • Friends’ place-based education team and the Millinocket Memorial Library did it again! During their April school break, thirteen local kids spent four full days steeped in community engagement and service learning with KLP staff and community volunteers. Campers visited the Boreal Theater, planted spring flowers, and cleaned up a local trail on Earth Day. The Friends mission states a commitment to the communities of the Katahdin Region, and we believe that authentic community engagement is key to building a strong sense of place. We are proud to share that our intern for the week, Rayne, is a local high school student who is now inspired to pursue a career in outdoor recreation in the Katahdin region.
  • We are celebrating Education Director Kala’s successful grant proposal to the Maine Department of Education. Funds awarded this summer for increased staffing and capacity will significantly bolster and expand KLP programming. We are honored to join a distinguished group of non-profit organizations around the state to provide free and fun programming that encourages 6-12th graders to consider career pathways in Maine’s North Woods. Thank you to Syntiro for your partnership on the grant submission and programs this summer. As a result of this grant, we are able to hire a high school student as a summer place-based educator to assist on KLP programs as well as help them build their career in the outdoor industry.
  • Education staff are stoked to join regional partners comprising the Katahdin Region Outdoor Collaboration to provide accessible youth adventures this summer! These six programs will provide students in grades 7-10 free or affordable opportunities to gain outdoor skills in hiking, backpacking, paddling, and more–in a supportive and welcoming space for all.

Friends’ annual Teacher Camp will be held this year on June 20th at the Stewart Learning Center in Lincoln. This year’s camp will offer educators a deep dive on integrating Wabanaki studies into school curricula, the purpose and history behind LD 291, and participation in a Wabanaki REACH training session to deepen their understanding of Wabanaki history and present issues. Teacher Camp is open to all Maine public school educators. Registration is required and scholarships are available.

Three adults stand next to a NPS welcome sign and an open gate on a gravel road.
NPS road crew members Emily, Bennet, and Steve open the gate to the Loop Road! Photo credit: FKWW

Park News

  • All gates to Katahdin Woods & Waters, including the Loop Road, will be open May 26th, in time for Memorial Day weekend. Many of the roads suffered winter damage, and the NPS maintenance crew is working hard to correct those issues. Driving slowly and mindfully will ensure your safety and increase your chance of spotting wildlife.
  • There are several year-round, seasonal, and intern positions with NPS open right now. Follow your passion and apply today! Learn more at
  • Download the NPS App to access an interactive map with hiking trails and portage routes, updated park alerts and information, and tips for places to see and things to do at Katahdin Woods and Waters and 400 other national park units.

Ripple Effect

  • You love trails, so get ready for your month…June is Love Maine Trails Month, hosted by the Maine Trails Coalition. Learn about volunteer opportunities and why trails matter. (Spoiler: outdoor recreation contributes $2.9B to Maine’s economy annually!)

    Sponsor Spotlight

    This month we thank our Katahdin level sponsor, Richardson’s Hardware. A longtime and generous Friend, Richardson’s is not only the place for hammers and potting soil, but bug nets and kayaks, too.

    Sponsors provide crucial funding that supports our mission and work. To learn more about the benefits of becoming a sponsor, visit or contact

—This blog post was adapted from an email transmitted on May 26, 2023. Sign up for our email list at

Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters Announces $35M Capital Campaign






Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters Announces $35M Capital Campaign

KATAHDIN WOODS AND WATERS NATIONAL MONUMENT – Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters is publicly launching A Monumental Welcome, a $35 million fundraising campaign for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. The campaign has three goals: providing funding for a visitor contact station, priority park projects, and Wabanaki-directed projects. $22.8 million has been raised to date.

The campaign will fund Tekαkαpimək Contact Station at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Funds for this goal also support a new 3.6 mile access road to the site, an eastern lookout, a network of accessible paths and access routes, and state of the art off-grid sustainability features. 

Tekαkαpimək translates from the Penobscot language to “as far as one can see” and is pronounced de gah-gah bee mook. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is located within the present and traditional homeland of the Penobscot Nation. The land and waters hold special significance to the Penobscot Nation and are inextricably linked with Penobscot culture, ceremonies, oral traditions, language, history, and indigenous stewardship which continues the respectful relationship with the land and waterways that has gone back more than 11,000 years. Katahdin is a culturally significant place to the Wabanaki people where connecting watersheds provide important travel routes for Wabanaki people, comprised of Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot Nations.

Time-limited “Reserved Rights” were written into certain deeds of land allowing for Elliotsville Foundation, Inc. (“EFI”) to construct a visitor contact station on Lookout Mountain. EFI is partnering with a Wabanaki Advisory Board with representatives of the independent Native Nations that constitute the Wabanaki Confederacy – Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, Mi’kmaq Nation, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkomikuk and Sipayik, and Penobscot Nation. Together, the partners are building a visitor contact station in consultation with the National Park Service that reflects the peoples, natural resources, and future of the Katahdin region. 

“Our family is honored to support the next step for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, constructing the Tekαkαpimək Contact Station as a gift to the National Park Service and visitors for generations to come,” said Lucas St. Clair, President of Elliotsville Foundation, Inc. “Through artistry and exhibits created by Wabanaki artists and knowledge keepers, visitors to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument will receive a profound welcome.”

The campaign will also fund $2.7 million in priority park projects for the National Park Service. Projects already funded include a renovation of the Mile 6.4 Loop Road Overlook, a sign plan, night sky programming, road maintenance, and more.

“I appreciate the efforts by the Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters and Elliotsville Foundation Inc., in beginning this capital campaign. Funding through the campaign will facilitate priority park projects at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, affecting cultural and natural resources, planning efforts, maintenance of facilities, and ongoing work involving roads and trails,” said Mark Wimmer, Superintendent of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. “We look forward to working together to implement these projects to support the development of the monument.” 

The campaign’s final goal establishes a $1 million fund for Wabanaki projects as defined by the Wabanaki Advisory Board. The early vision for this fund is to create career pathways for Wabanaki youth. Final funding decisions will be made by the Wabanaki Advisory Board.

The Wabanaki Advisory Board collectively spoke to the projects and campaign: “We as a Wabanaki Advisory Board have been mutually committed to fostering a collaborative partnership with EFI that is needed to create the Tekαkαpimək Contact Station while developing a long-term relationship that will carry into the future.”

With the launch of the campaign, Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters is inviting all those who love Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and communities connected to it to support the campaign. The campaign thus far has been made possible by over 200 donors led by leadership gifts from Roxanne Quimby Foundation, Elliotsville Foundation, Inc., Burt’s Bees, L.L. Bean, the National Park Foundation, and NorthLight Foundation. The Quimby Family Philanthropies, Roxanne Quimby Foundation and Elliotsville Foundation, Inc., have challenged donors to take part in this historic campaign with a $10 million commitment.

“Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters is proud to play our part in this campaign in partnership with the National Park Service, Wabanaki Advisory Board, and Elliotsville Foundation, with the support of our growing philanthropic community,” said Brian Hinrichs, Executive Director of Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters. “This campaign provides immediate economic impact, with over 90% of construction expenditures here in Maine, and we look forward to welcoming new visitors who will support the ongoing revitalization of local communities.”

To contribute to the campaign, interested donors can visit the campaign webpage or contact Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters staff for more information. 

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was created by Presidential Proclamation on August 24, 2016. The 87,500 acres of land was donated to the United States by Burt’s Bees founder Roxanne Quimby through Elliotsville Foundation, Inc. to mark the centennial of the National Park Service.  In 2020, the Monument was recognized for its brilliant dark skies and is the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary on the U.S. eastern seaboard.

The contact station is being built in cooperation with the National Park Service, Wabanaki Advisory Board, Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters, Elliotsville Foundation, National Park Foundation, and other stakeholders. Contractors include Wiphunakson LLC, Saunders Architecture, Alisberg Parker Architects, Atelier One, Haley Ward, Inc, Reed Hilderbrand, Transsolar Inc, Allied Engineering, Inc., Tuhura Communications, Jennifer Neptune (Penobscot), WeShouldDoItAll (WSDIA), Split Rock Studios, DCL, Emery Lee & Sons Inc., OBP Trailworks, LLC, Wright-Ryan Construction, Erin Hutton Projects, and Stern Consulting International.

The Tekαkαpimək Contact Station site is an active construction zone and is closed to visitors at this time. The public will be welcomed in summer 2024.


Job Posting: Place-Based Educator

Job Posting: Place-Based Educator

The Place-Based Educator works as part of a dynamic team of board, staff, partners, and volunteers to support the Katahdin Learning Project. 

The Place-Based Educator with Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters will be an experienced environmental educator and work through the summer 2023 season to assist and lead programs for youth in Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and Katahdin Region communities. The Place-Based Educator will follow pre-designed lesson plans, help prepare lesson materials and help with clean up after the lesson. The educator may be asked to work additionally during special events such as Teacher Camp. A successful candidate must be enthusiastic about working with youth and helping connect them to their community, nature, and the national monument.

For general management and support, this position works under the supervision of the Education Coordinator. 

This seasonal part-time position will ideally start on May 19, 2023, and end on August 25, 2023. This position’s schedule is variable and the employee will be expected to work between 2-4 days/week, 6-8 hours/day. Specific weekdays and number of days negotiable. 


    • Katahdin Learning Project (90%)
      • Assist and lead pre-determined interpretive programs for K-12 youth in Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and surrounding communities.
      • Prepare lesson activities, maintain supplies, and help with post-lesson clean up and surveys
      • Provide fun, safe, and educational experience for students
      • Distribute first aid supplies to teachers for students on an as-needed basis
    • Professional Development (5%)
      • Provide Leave No Trace Trainer course
      • Assist with Teacher Camp, a workshop for teachers provided by KLP
      • Attend a range of outdoor recreation courses when applicable and available
      • Participate in Career Exploration Badge program and recruit other students for the program
  • Other duties as assigned (5%)
    • Submit timecard on a biweekly basis
    • Submit expense report on a monthly basis
    • Friends operates with other teams including Management, Finance, Development, Grants, and Communications. There may be discrete tasks assigned from these teams.


  • PREFERRED EDUCATION & CERTIFICATIONS: Current First Aid and CPR certification (Wilderness First Aid Preferred). Maine Recreation Guide a plus
  • PREFERRED KNOWLEDGE/EXPERIENCE QUALIFICATIONS: Experience working with children in outdoor setting.


  • Active Listening – Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Active Learning – Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Learning Strategies – Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Instructing – Teaching others how to do something.
  • Social Perceptiveness – Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Time Management – Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
  • Judgment and Decision Making – Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Risk Management- Able to decipher between safe and unsafe activities and manage appropriate risk
  • Knowledge of Excel Spreadsheets – ability to use Excel programs at a basic level
  • Knowledge of Google Docs, Sheets, Email – ability to use programs for basic communication 


Working Conditions include exposure to: Dirt, heat/cold, office environment, outdoor environment, inclement weather, and biting insects

This work requires computer access. Candidates are required to have access to a public or personal computer to communicate through email, use shared organizational documents, and submit time cards and expense reports.

Physical demands Include: Carrying backpack up to 15 lbs, sitting, standing, walking, hiking, kneeling, handling/repetitive motion, driving, use of keyboard or other digital dexterity, peripheral vision, Use of written or verbal sources of information, like reading reports, Use of oral communication to perform work


The Place-based Educator is paid $23 an hour, subject to federal and state tax withholdings.

The availability of benefits –  including health, dental, and insurance coverage – will be based on the employees’ regular working hours. Part-time employees who work between 20 and 40 hours per week accrue Paid Time Off on a prorated basis. As a new employee, health, dental, and vision coverage becomes effective on the first day of the month following the first full month of employment, subject to the enrollment rules of the insurance carrier and provided that applications for enrollment are received by the insurance agent in a timely fashion.


Friends maintains an office in Patten, Maine. The Place-Based Educator is based in Patten. Travel to other locations within the Katahdin Region, particularly into Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, is a frequent requirement of this job. The employee must maintain a reliable car and valid driver’s license. Travel on rough, dirt roads will be required on a regular basis. 

This job description is not intended to be and should not be construed as an all-inclusive list of all the responsibilities, skills or working conditions associated with the position.  While it is intended to accurately reflect the position’s activities and requirements, Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters reserves the right to modify, add, or remove duties and assign other duties as necessary.

External and internal applicants, as well as position incumbents who become disabled as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act, must be able to perform the essential job functions (as listed on this job description) either unaided or with the assistance of a reasonable accommodation to be determined by management on a case by case basis.


Please submit a resume and the names and contact information for three references to the Katahdin Learning Project team at with the subject line: Place Based Educator. Priority will be given to applications received on or before May 12, 2023 and candidates may be considered until the position is filled.

Celebrate Earth Month – April eNewsletter

Spring arrives, Friends’ Annual Meeting, caring for the earth, and more…

Earlier this month, the development team sent our spring appeal letter to households around the state and country. We hinted at the good news that you probably have heard by now…Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters is very excited to introduce our next executive director, Brian Hinrichs! Read more about Brian here, and we think you’ll be excited too. Brian will join the team in May–please help us offer a warm welcome by joining Friends or renewing your support today!


Fast-moving water runs through mossy rocks.
Spring melt on mossy stones, Deasey Trail. Photo credit: FKWW

MY Park Story!

This month’s #myparkstory is timed to coincide with the opening of summer camping reservations at I took my first camping trip to Katahdin Woods and Waters last year–because I could secure a spot in advance and knew it would be there for me when I arrived. Anyone who camps with kids knows what I’m talking about…you can’t roll the dice on a 3-hour plus car ride. I shared my trip highlights here on our blog–check it out! Especially for folks on a budget or who aren’t sure if camping in northern Maine is really their cup of tea, I show how my family spent three wonderfully unplugged days last August in the north end of the monument. I hope that you will email me if you have any questions about planning #yourparkstory for summer 2023.

A signpost at a camping site with a "reserved" tag located on a dirt road.

Annual Meeting Friends kicked off our annual events calendar this week with our Annual Meeting. We hope you were able to join us on Zoom  to gather with the staff and board of Friends and Superintendent Mark Wimmer of the NPS at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Attendees got the highlights from 2022 and exciting updates on projects happening now and throughout 2023. The meeting was recorded and captioned–please reach out to Meghan or follow our social media channels to get the link (available soon).

Save These Dates We’ll be sharing more details in the months to come, but mark your calendars now for these in-person events!

  • Teacher Camp on Tuesday, June 20th will be a one-day workshop for public school educators, providing deeper understanding of and tools to implement Maine’s requirement to teach Wabanaki history and culture in school. Presented in partnership with the Abbe Museum, the program will be held at the Stewart Professional Learning Center in Lincoln. Please contact for more information.
  • Woods & Waters Day on Saturday, August 19th will be a reimagining of Friends’ annual celebration in honor of the designation of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in 2016. Excursions into the monument and a casual picnic-style celebration will take place during the day, wrapping by early evening. Location TBD in the Katahdin Region and at KAWW.
  • Stars Over Katahdin on Saturday, October 14th will celebrate our exceptionally dark skies and International Dark Sky Sanctuary status with a family-friendly program in the evening. Join expert astronomers and champions of night sky preservation for a fun and informative evening at Taylor’s Katahdin View Campground in Stacyville.

Park News

  • Jobs with NPS -There are several year-round, seasonal, and intern positions with Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument open right now. Follow your passion and apply today! Learn more at
  • Camping reservations for the summer season are open (camping is free, with a nominal processing fee). When you are ready, head to, your gateway to explore America’s outdoor and cultural destinations, to plan your Katahdin Woods and Waters summer adventure. Click here for a step-by-step guide.

Ripple Effect – Making every day Earth Day

  • Friends is a proud Leave No Trace Partner–training adults and teaching kids how to tread lightly in the outdoors. But what about right at home, all the time? Take the Leave No Trace in Daily Life challenge! Is today your day to start a compost bucket, patch your jeans, or choose to shop local?
  • Maine has clean water and healthy air because Maine people stood up, spoke out, and made it happen. Be a part of the legacy that includes Rachel Carson and the Clean Water Act by Taking Action with our colleagues at the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
  • Share the outdoors with a young person by heading to your favorite trail, fishing hole, or park. Make nature the thing that kids care about most–it may be easier than you think!


An adult and a child planting seedlings.
Planting flowers with KLP April Vacation Camp, Millinocket. Photo credit: FKWW

Sponsor Spotlight

Thank you to our Barnard level sponsor NEMO Equipment! We are grateful for NEMO’s commitment to Friends, and their sustainability initiatives, including a 100% recycled content tent fabric with no PFAS chemicals!

Sponsors provide crucial funding that supports our mission and work. To learn more about the benefits of becoming a sponsor, visit or contact

—This blog post was adapted from an email transmitted on April 26, 2023. To sign up for our email list, please email—

My Park Story – Car Camping at the Upper East Branch

Inspired by the National Park Service–we are excited to bring you more stories this year–Your Park Stories! Throughout 2023, we are sharing stories of meaningful place-based experiences in Katahdin Woods and Waters from the NPS, visitors, the Katahdin region, and Friends. Read on as I share my first monument camping trip as a gentle nudge to get out there yourself! Still have questions? Send me an email. 

Sunlight shining through mist over a river.
At the Upper East Branch campsite, early (but not too early) risers will be greeted by this view.

In mid-April, reservations for campsites at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument opened for the summer at Just a couple years ago, all sites at KAWW were available “first-come-first-serve,” but having the assurance of a reservation is key to planning a trip with my husband and kids. We live in southern Maine, a solid 3.5 hour drive to the monument. I appreciate the spontaneity of the young and childless (been there) and retired empty-nesters (looking forward to it) but for now, I live a life regulated by calendars: school, sports, camp and work, digital and on paper. The ability to secure a campsite months in advance, put it in the calendars, and arrange 4 people’s individual lives around a 3-day trip is a necessity!

If you are interested in a multi-day backpacking, paddling, or cycling trip, you can do that in the monument. But this park story is about packing simply, not thinking too hard, and relaxing with family. I want folks to know that you don’t need to buy fancy gear or be an endurance athlete to find joy and connection in this remote and exceptionally beautiful place.

Easy, breezy. I booked the Upper East Branch campsite last May for a three-day trip in August. I spent about 10 minutes and precisely $8 dollars (this is the reservation fee, no matter how long your trip or which site you choose). This site is in the north end of the monument–learn more at the official KAWW site. Tip: install the NPS App before your trip and download KAWW maps for offline use while you still have a connection.

Drive right up. Despite what the sign here says, this is pure car camping. The “walk-in” refers to the fact that you must carry your gear approximately 100 feet. The kids were able to immediately run around and stretch their legs while we leisurely unpacked. Be aware that most campsites at KAWW require a much more substantial hike or paddle to access. A great option for car camping at the southern entrance: the seven tent sites at Lunksoos–including one ADA site.

Parked car and campsite signage surrounded by leafy trees.

Sorry, Yogi. Food goes straight from the vehicle into the giant steel storage locker. The bear box is a game-changer for keeping provisions organized–and keeps wildlife wild. Note that I recommend a big water jug, as seen here. There are NO sites at KAWW with potable water. Rather than fussing with filtering water, we always bring a big supply of drinking water.Groceries stacked inside a brown metal storage box at a campsite.

Space to spare. Here you see the distance between our two children’s tents–granting a modicum of privacy rivaling that of our 1500 square foot home. This is especially important if your children are actually teens.A small tent in a large gravel and grass area with a drawing of a castle turret.Pressure drop. The East Branch of the Penobscot River runs along the eastern border of the monument’s primary parcel. Hike or bike further down the Old River Road to see the rapids of Haskell Pitch, or don’t leave the campsite and enjoy the constant burbling of the quick-moving shallow water over stones. It is clear, cold, and the perfect spot to park a camp chair (yes, IN the water) on a hot day. Warm up steps away in the sunny space above the bank.
Hammocks strung on trees near a river.

Clean, clean, clean. The national monument may lack many of the amenities of our large national parks, but the reduced traffic also means the new facilities are sparkling. This beauty was a hundred yards or so away from our campsite and accessed only by us during our stay.

The interior of a park vault toilet, very clean.

Let it go. Relaxing, unplugging, and shedding the stresses of everyday life: while not ONLY possible here at this site or Katahdin Woods and Waters, the quiet and distance from other people really accelerates the process. The Upper East Branch site is buffered by literal miles from the road and the next site down the river. Here you can see me letting go of folding clothes and “making the bed.” Ahhh.The interior of a tent with rumpled blankets and clothes.

Eat well, defined by the moment. This trip, we didn’t bother with a campfire, although I am a fan of cooking hot dogs on a stick. If you DO wish to have a fire, you will need to request a fire permit in advance and purchase firewood locally. Since everything tastes better when you’re 1) outside 2) hungry from early morning dirt-road runs, I opted for the ease of just-add-hot-water at breakfast. My son turned 16 on this trip, so we drove out the 17 miles back to Mt. Chase Lodge one evening for a special meal on the lawn at Upper Shin Pond. On our last night, we grabbed a couple of whoopie pies at Matagamon Wilderness to share. (Along with a mood ring, since lost.)

Three people eating dinner at a picnic table in front of a pond.

A view of mountains in the distance with a pond and wildflowers in the foreground.
Beaver pond near the Oxbow, down the road from the Upper East Branch campsite. (Your feet will get muddy here!)

Enjoy the view. Exceptional scenery can be found with modest effort along the river inside the monument and out. We climbed Horse Mountain in Baxter State Park (where the birthday boy enjoyed a few minutes of cell service), strolled to the Oxbow picnic area in the monument, and walked along the world-class Seboeis Riverside Trail to the picturesque gorge at Seboeis River Grand Pitch.

Found time. Seven hours of driving logged on a learner’s permit, a collective six books read, and 36 hours with almost no digital connection…We’ll be back again to experience that pace. And I like to think a trip like this can help us stay a bit more in the moment even at home the rest of the year. 

Don’t forget to be in touch with your questions, and share Your Park Story with the #myparkstory and #katahdinwoodsandwaters. See you on the trail! -Sarah

Sarah Andre is the Development Coordinator at Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters. She lives in Westbrook, Maine and enjoys visiting KAWW for leisure and work in all four seasons.

Brian Hinrichs Selected as Executive Director of Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters

Brian Hinrichs Selected as Executive Director of Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters

Today, the Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Brian Hinrichs to serve as the organization’s next Executive Director.

Brian brings 15 years of non-profit management experience, most recently as the Executive Director of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra where he oversaw growth in the annual budget and reserves, operations and endowment fundraising, and community programming.

“Brian has impressed staff and board with his skillset and success as an Executive Director. Recognizing his management experience, passion for our mission, and care for relationships, we are thrilled to welcome him as the next leader of Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters,” said Molly Ross, Chair of the Board of Directors.

Brian Hinrichs with his son in a backpack in the Maine woods

On a family-favorite trail in Bangor City Forest. Credit: Alexandra Hinrichs

Brian joins Friends at a key moment in its growth. The organization has a membership of nearly 1,000 people, a collaborative network that includes dozens of organizations, a 13-person board of directors, and a seven-person full-time staff with seasonal support.

“It is an honor to be stepping into this role with Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters at such an exciting time, and I thank the board and staff for their trust. The mission of Friends is one that resonates deeply and personally for me,” said Hinrichs.

In 2023, the organization has three priorities: completing an inaugural capital campaign, operating the youth program Katahdin Learning Project, and supporting National Park Service priorities including improved access to the national monument.

“I look forward to working alongside the National Park Service, with Wabanaki partners, and in the Katahdin Region to help ensure the monument and surrounding communities thrive for the benefit of present and future generations,” Brian continued.

Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters is an official philanthropic partner of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, part of the National Park System. The organization also partners with the National Park Service through an education agreement.

“I look forward to working with Brian and building upon the foundation that Sam Deeran and the Friends staff have established over the years,” said Mark Wimmer, Superintendent of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

While keeping his home in Bangor, Brian will frequent the Katahdin Region and work out of the Friends’ office in Patten. He will also travel across the state and elsewhere on behalf of Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters. Brian will start his job with Friends in mid-May, taking the baton from Acting Executive Director Sam Deeran. At that time, Sam will transition to the role of Projects Director for Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters.

Brian Hinrichs by the sign at the north entrance of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

Snowshoeing from the north entrance of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Credit: Brian Hinrichs

A Fulbright scholar, Brian received his B.A. in Music and English from Colgate University and his M.B.A. from the Wisconsin School of Business, UW-Madison. He has been the Executive Director of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra since 2013, where his work within its ranks, among its supporters, and in the Bangor community earned him the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce’s Arts and Culture Award in 2022. While living and working in Bangor, Brian organized outdoor adventures throughout Maine for family and friends. His interest in Maine’s natural and cultural richness inspired him to learn more about the mission of Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters.

Just around the corner – March eNewsletter

Spring snow, inspiring women, vacation camp, a new ranger, and more…

March is upon us with all its charms–longer days and strong afternoon sun lures even the coziest cabin-dwellers out for fun in the soft, sticky snow. Soon snow will yield to mud, and the next season of trail stewardship and maintenance will begin. Migratory birds are navigating home, and our spring membership appeal letter will be taking flight soon as well. As you hang up your snowshoes and tuck the woolens into storage, be sure to look for a letter from Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters arriving in your mailbox.

Paul Clifford embracing the season at Wassataquoik Lean-to during a bikepacking trip through the monument. Photo credit: Brian Threlkeld

Your OUR Park Story

For this month’s #myparkstory, the female staff at Friends are joining the National Park Service in recognizing Women’s History Month! Because conservation, science, and outdoor recreation jobs are filled mostly by men, it’s important to highlight the stories of the women who’ve inspired or mentored us. We challenge you to think about a woman who inspired your path to the outdoors, and share her story with a young person in your life.

Sarah – I found that I could make a difference in conservation and get more youth outside in nature by volunteering locally on the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust’s board. The executive director always encourages me with her words and example to stretch my leadership skills in and out of the boardroom. Rachelle, thanks for showing me it doesn’t have to be a boy’s club!

Elise- My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Kaplan, showed me that learning takes many shapes. We weren’t just 3rd graders- we were explorers, artists, builders and scientists. The most important lesson I learned that year was caring for our mother earth–in fact, it inspired my career today. It’s now my turn to teach the next generation empathy and compassion for this amazing planet we live on. Who knows, maybe I’ll inspire someone the way Mrs. Kaplan inspired me!

Meghan – Some of my earliest connections to nature were through the creatures that visited my family’s field and gardens and my mother’s enthusiasm in teaching me about them. Bluebirds, tree swallows, and more inhabited the birdhouses on my family’s property, and we watched generations of new birds leave their nests and fly into the big, wide world outside. Today, I cherish every interaction with the natural world, whether it’s in my own field or on a trip into the monument. My mom is still the first one I text when the snow buntings visit in the winter or when I see the first swallows (tree, barn, or cliff) of the spring!

Kala – My mom, Cindy, taught resilience by showing me that any outdoor space was a place for a walk and self-care. My grandmother, Anita, shared her love of gardening, flowers, and hard work. More recently, colleagues and mentors Julie Isbill and Susan Adams encouraged me to connect the next generation with nature here in the Katahdin region, where I have the privilege of watching students grow. I’m especially inspired by strong young women like Silvia, who encompasses kindness in all spaces, including as a volunteer with KLP!

Who are the women who nurtured your passion for conservation, outdoor education, or Katahdin Woods and Waters? Join us on social media: post your story on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtags #myparkstory and #katahdinwoodsandwaters

Elise and students exploring wildlife signs during February Vacation Camp on local trails. Photo Credit: Baileigh Studer

Vacation Camp – What are the impacts of four days of place-based education? Empathy towards living beings, a love of the outdoors, care for ourselves and each other, and stewardship of our communities and the environment. Last month, Katahdin Learning Project staff delivered the second annual February Vacation Kids Camp! This week-long program provides a safe, educational, and FUN experience for local kids at no cost during the school break. Walking through the woods was a highlight for many of the children, and at the end of the walk, they had a different perspective on wintertime. Winter is not a time to endure, but a time to enjoy. Vacation Camp is made possible through collaboration with the Katahdin Gear Library (a program of Millinocket Memorial Library) and Outdoor Sport Institute, community support, and members like you! Psst–registration for April Vacation Kids Camp will open April 3rd.

UMaine Library receives the W. Kent Olson Conservation Papers – Ken Olson, a board member from 2017 to 2019 and a charter member at Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters, has donated his professional papers to the Fogler Library at the University of Maine. Ken’s papers span a three-decade career in conservation with time as chief executive at three nonprofits: The Nature Conservancy of Connecticut, American Rivers, and Friends of Acadia. As a leader and advocate for Friends of Acadia and Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters, Ken has done much to foster kinship between our two Friends’ groups and parks. We thank Ken for this gift and are grateful to know his sharp writing and thinking are archived in good hands at UMaine.

Park Service News

  • As of the end of February, the monument has seen approximately 8,000 snowmobile visitors, with a few weeks to go! Local snowmobile clubs groom park trails, which are part of Maine’s larger Interconnected Trail System.
  • Katahdin Woods and Waters’ first Resource Protection Ranger, Benjamin Polloni, reported for duty on February 26th, 2023. He has been in the field and working on plans for the upcoming field season. Ranger Polloni will serve as the point of contact for commercial use authorizations and communications with law enforcement agencies in the area.
  • Are you looking for a new job or summer job? NPS is hiring for a variety of positions! See all current opportunities here: Work With Us – Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

Ripple Effect

  • We know it’s coming…mud season! Be prepared and make smart choices for spring hiking excursions with this nifty guide chock full of videos from Leave No Trace. Friends is proud to be an LNT community partner.
  • The Nature Conservancy Magazine examines the institutional and cultural barriers keeping many women from participating in or leading conservation efforts–and how we can change that.
  • Bookmark this Katahdin region cross-country ski round-up for next season! There is a trail network for everyone, from beginner to advanced, with your kids or your best (furry) friends. The secret of this beautiful Nordic skiing destination is out. Plan accordingly.

Sponsor Spotlight

It’s the beginning of our 2023 sponsorship year, and to kick it off, we are sharing our gratitude with two very special sponsors who make it possible for Friends to reach a statewide audience with our mission and highlight our other Katahdin, Lookout, and Deasey sponsors in print and digital ads!

Thank you to Lookout sponsors:


Would you like to see your business logo in our BDN and Down East ads this year?

Sponsors provide crucial funding that supports our mission and work. To learn more about becoming a sponsor in 2023, email

—This blog post was adapted from an email transmitted on March 20, 2023 . To sign up for our email list, please email—

Making winter tracks – February eNewsletter

Skiing in the monument, sponsor love, community trails, and more…

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but all this month Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters is sweet on a very special type of supporter: our corporate and non-profit sponsors! We’re grateful for the mission-minded businesses and organizations large and small, local and national, who care for the monument and those connected to it. We spotlight two sponsors each month (scroll to bottom)–and rely on their support all year long.

Your Park Story

A man on cross country skis
Solitude and fresh snow! Photo credit: Mary Krevans

Members Mary and J.R. reached out last month for some visitation advice and happily, they were willing to share their subsequent #myparkstory with me! It’s the quintessential winter hop to the Katahdin region, especially for those suffering meager snowfall in the southern and coastal regions of Maine. Here’s their dispatch:

We drove up to Katahdin Woods and Waters on a sunny February morning. After a nice lunch at Matagamon Lodge, we parked at the north gate and enjoyed four hours of skiing on nicely packed pulk trails–without another human encounter! Just as the sky turned a pretty pink, we skied back into the parking lot. After a cozy night spent in the region (a local business graciously allowed us to park our self-contained camper van), we headed south for a second day of great skiing at Penobscot River Trails. We’ve been supporters of Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters since the very beginning and enjoy seeing the changes as they come. Signage has improved greatly! It’s a beautiful area to visit in all seasons. -Mary and J.R. Krevans, Bar Harbor

What’s your park story? Join us on social media: post your adventures on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtags #myparkstory and #katahdinwoodsandwaters.

Executive Director Search – A thoughtful process, led by Friends’ board treasurer and Chewonki President Emeritus, Don Hudson, is well underway! Staff and board alike are excited to meet candidates in the next few weeks. In the meantime, we continue to forge ahead with our planned work for 2023 and prepare to welcome our next leader this spring.

Happy Birthday to Us! On February 28th, Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters will turn six years old! Many of you (such as the Krevanses!) have supported us since the very beginning, and many more have joined to grow Friends into the strong organization we are today. Thank you.

Katahdin Learning Project’s February Vacation Camp – KLP is building on the success of our inaugural vacation camps last year. This February’s free weeklong camp met capacity almost immediately! Kids will munch on healthy snacks and lunch thanks to the support of Thrive Penobscot, the Northern Forest Center, Katahdin Collaborative, Elliotsville Foundation, Our Katahdin, and Yum Bakery. We are excited to foster future leaders as high school volunteers connect campers with residents at Stearns Assisted Living through a service project.

Children laughing outside in the snow
Playing on skis at camp last February

Lumbermen’s Trail – Friends is cheering together with Katahdin Area Trails and numerous nonprofit partners on the news of a $40,000 grant through Maine’s Recreational Trails Program to fund a new one-third mile trail in the gateway community of Patten. “The Lumbermen’s Trail” will begin behind the Patten Lumbermen’s Museum on town and museum-owned land. Winding through ancient conifers, hikers will find museum relics and a children’s story walk. Julie Isbill, project manager with the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program of the National Park Service: “I love the project. It is very organic, very grassroots. We are hoping there will be a whole system in Patten. Our plan is to start with this, and eventually, we could have miles of walking trails.”

Park News

  • Check conditions before you hit the trails with the most recent grooming report and more from the NPS here:
  • Winter camping reservations are available through The bad news: Haskell Hut is fully booked through the 2023 season ending March 18th, and Big Spring Brook Hut was closed this season for necessary repairs. (The good news: subscribers to this eNewsletter will be among the first to know when summer and winter camping reservations open!)
  • Current job announcements from the National Park Service can be found here:  Park management shared these exciting details:

Maintenance is working on hiring 8 seasonal employees and one permanent Maintenance Worker Supervisor. KAWW maintenance is hiring, for the first time, a Roads dedicated NPS crew to re-deck bridges, replace culverts, ditch, brush, mow, and gravel roads throughout the monument. Larger scale roads projects to be contracted out are two bridge replacements and one culvert. Additional work to be contracted will be brushing and ditching work on the Wassataquoik and Swift Brook Roads. NPS trail crew are to work on signage, brushing, and tread along the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) corridor. This work will be supported by the Maine Conservation Corps.

Ripple Effect

  • While the coast again hosts a visiting celebrity eagle, the North Maine Woods is also home to some “weird” and enviable birding–from BDN columnist and Maine Audubon Penobscot Valley Chapter vice president Bob Duchesne.
  • If you are already thinking about your hut visit in winter 2024, don’t miss this ready-made trip template–complete with local grub & pub recommendations!
  • Have you discovered the stunning Seboeis Riverside Trail yet? It is now officially open to the public with four-season recreation and rewarding views of the falls at Grand Pitch.

Sponsor Spotlight

Gratitude going out to our final spotlight sponsors from 2022! Trust for Public Land joined us at the Barnard level last year–thank you!

And thank you to Bangor Savings Bank in Millinocket for their Hathorn level sponsorship!

Sponsors provide crucial funding that supports our mission and work. To learn more about becoming a sponsor in 2023, visit or contact

—This blog post was adapted from an email transmitted on February 23, 2023 . To sign up for our email list, please email—

Happy New Year! January eNewsletter

Gratitude, Your Park Stories, Executive Director search, and more…

As we begin a new year of monthly newsletters, we want to begin by thanking you for being a part of the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters family. More than 300 donations arrived in the last few weeks of the year during our annual appeal and each one makes a difference. It’s an extra special treat when a check or online donation is accompanied by a short note: “Thanks for all you do,” or “Keep up the good work!” We couldn’t say it any better ourselves, so to all who donated, volunteered, collaborated on a program, shared a post on social media, or reached out in 2022–thanks for all you do, and keep up the good work.

Three cross country skiers approach the Haskell Hut
XC skiers on the approach to a cozy night at Haskell Hut

Inspired by the National Park Service–we are excited to bring you more stories this year–Your Park Stories! Throughout the year, we’ll be sharing stories of meaningful place-based experiences in Katahdin Woods and Waters from the NPS, visitors, the Katahdin region, and Friends. I hope you’ll join us on social media: post your adventures on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtags #MyParkStory and #KatahdinWoodsAndWaters. For this month’s #MyParkStory, Acting Executive Director Sam Deeran shares a photo essay on how Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument inspired a big life move.

Home In Herseytown text over a vintage looking photo of a mailbox on a country road.
A #myparkstory photo essay by Sam Deeran

Seeking the next Friends Executive Director – The Board of Directors and staff of Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters are pleased to announce the opening of the job of Executive Director. 2023 promises to be an exciting and important year for Friends and we look forward to welcoming a leader who will guide the organization into its next chapter. Read the full announcement on our blog–and please share!

Trust for Public Land to engage community – Have you heard? In December,Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors, announced the purchase of 31,367 acres from Conservation Resources, a timber investment management organization. Over the next several years, the nonprofit will work with community leaders, outdoor advocates, public officials, and communities connected to this land to examine long-term outcomes for the property, to ensure southern access to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is enhanced, and to protect trails on the property.

February Vacation Camp returns to Millinocket Memorial Library – Friends’ Katahdin Learning Project staff are excited for our second year of Vacation Camps! Offered at no cost to Katahdin region youth, the full-day program will introduce kids to outdoor skills, winter sports, and local ecology while parents work during the school break. Registration will open February 6th–keep an eye on Friends’ Facebook & Instagram pages for the link to sign up. This program is made possible with the partnership of the Millinocket Memorial LibraryOutdoor Sport Institute, and many community members.

Winter recreation in the monument – The best way to explore Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in winter may be by foot or on skis from the north entrance. This end of the monument is open seven days a week and offers groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Winter hiking, camping at Haskell Hut, ice fishing, and fat tire biking are also accessible from the north entrance. Check trail conditions here.

Did you know that snowmobile travel is allowed on approximately 22 miles of trail within the monument? Local snowmobile clubs maintain the trails under special use permits. Learn more and review all rules here before your trip.

Jobs at Katahdin Woods and Waters – The National Park Service is hiring now for seasonal maintenance workers for trails, facilities, roads, and equipment as well as Archeologist and Resource Manager. Visit for more information on how to apply!

Ripple Effect

As Friends, we strive to amplify the work of our local, regional, and national colleagues and share news from the communities of the Katahdin Region. Check it out!

  • Dark Skies Highlighted on Maine Public – Maine Public Radio’s Maine Calling recently presented a discussion on preserving Maine’s dark skies, featuring representatives from Dark Sky Maine and Appalachian Mountain Club and aired the film Defending the Dark (available on demand). You just may be inspired to plan a stargazing trip to see some of the darkest skies east of the Mississippi.
  • Patten Library Receives $3.9m – Senator Susan Collins announced that she secured $3,900,000 for the Friends of Veterans’ Memorial Library to build a new library in the omnibus funding package late last year. The library is excited to gather community input and to see how it can shape the area!
  • Community Snowmobile Clubs – If you sled, snowshoe, or ski onKatahdin Region snowmobile trails, consider joining or making a donation to a local club. These volunteer organizations keep the trails in good shape, maintain relationships with landowners, and bring the community together with events and fundraisers. Connect with the Northern Timber Cruisers Snowmobile Club and Museum, Twin Pines Snowmobile Club, Benedicta Snowgang, Bowlin Matagamon Shin Pond Snowmobile Club, JoMary Riders, East Branch Sno Rovers, and more by visiting the Maine Snowmobile Association. Ride safe and think snow!

Sponsor Spotlight


We’re still thanking our amazing 2022 sponsors! Thank you to Deasey level sponsor  Burt’s Bees!


And thank you to Lee Auto Mall for their Barnard level sponsorship!


Sponsors provide crucial funding that supports our mission and work. To learn more about becoming a sponsor in 2023, visit or contact


—This blog post was adapted from an email transmitted on January 30, 2023 . To sign up for our email list, please email—

Announcing our search for Executive Director

The Board of Directors and staff of Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters are pleased to announce the opening of the job of Executive Director. 2023 promises to be an exciting and important year for Friends and we look forward to welcoming a leader who will guide the organization into its next chapter.

We are grateful for the opportunity to share our posting for this important position with you and encourage you to share it with those who may be interested in the job.

The Board is working with Acting Executive Director Sam Deeran to establish a new position at Friends and looks forward to working with him and the staff to ensure a smooth leadership transition. Sam shares these words: “As we make preparations to welcome a new leader, I’m looking with gratitude to the six years this organization has grown with the support of board, staff, partners, donors, vendors, and volunteers. It is these key relationships that make this work possible. You’ve made my time in this role an honor and a joy. Thank you.”

Six people posed in front of a river.
Friends staff by the East Branch of the Penobscot River – join our team!

As we move forward with the hiring process, we share these words from Don Hudson, Chair of the Search Committee: “We’re honored to play our part in important work happening here in the Katahdin Region. Relationships are at the heart of that work and so we extend this posting as an invitation to a leader who is passionate about the next chapter for these relationships and all our Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters.”

—This blog post was adapted from an email transmitted on January 13, 2023 . To sign up for our email list, please email—