FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Andrew Bossie, Executive Director
Camping at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Expanded and Improved with Philanthropy
Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters, National Park Foundation, and L.L.Bean host official opening of seven new tent sites near Lunksoos Camps on July 21st
Patten, Maine – Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters (“Friends”), the official philanthropic partner to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, unveiled seven new overnight tent sites near the historic Lunksoos Camps on the East Branch of the Penobscot River today. The campground is the first major infrastructure project completed by the Friends, demonstrating the power of the park-supporter community to stand up these public lands nearly five years after they were gifted to the National Park Service (“NPS”) in 2016 by philanthropist Roxanne Quimby through the National Park Foundation.
“Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was born from an act of philanthropy,” said Andrew Bossie, Friends’ Executive Director, “and we are proud to continue that legacy and improve our parks facilities with our partners at L.L.Bean, the National Park Foundation, the Roxanne Quimby Foundation, and our many members in the community, region, and country. We’ve heard from our members and the visiting public that more overnight camping options are a top desire in the national monument and now we have them.”
The improved camping area includes two group sites and five single-party sites that will be available immediately for public use. Accessible by road and river, the campground was built to NPS standards for walk-in sites and features ADA toilet facilities, one ADA-compliant site, and connecting trails. Campers will find level, well drained sites equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, and bear-proof food storage boxes. Group sites have wood tent platforms nestled into a wooded slope.
“These sites will welcome visitors with tent sites that are accessible by vehicle or boats without feeling crowded and are specifically designed for tent camping with some privacy. This project more than doubles the number of campsites available via monument roads,” said Tim Hudson, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Superintendent. “It is a milestone for the monument and our partnership with the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters.”
The tent sites at Lunksoos were made possible by three $50,000 grants from L.L.Bean, the Roxanne Quimby Foundation, and the National Park Foundation, as well as support from individual and business members of Friends. The National Park Foundation was able to further leverage the investment made by L.L.Bean by matching this donation with federally appropriated dollars.
At a ceremony at the new tent sites supporters made comments about their involvement and expressed excitement about the future of the monument. “L.L.Bean’s purpose is to enable everyone to experience the restorative power of time spent outside, and these new camping sites will offer a quality outdoor experience in a carefully designed space that honors and preserves its natural beauty and history,” said Shawn Gorman, Executive Chairman of the Board. “We are honored to partner with Katahdin Woods and Waters in this project and to celebrate the opening of the new tent sites this summer,” Gorman added.
National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth discussed how partnerships are making our national parks stronger in the 21st century. “This team effort demonstrates how partnerships can improve the visitor experience in parks like Katahdin Woods and Waters. These new tent sites are opening up access to more people, expanding the recreational opportunities, and supporting the communities that surround this treasured landscape,” said Shafroth. “With support from generous and inspirational visionaries like Roxanne Quimby and her family, private philanthropy truly enhances the park experience for all,” he continued.
Lucas St. Clair, son of philanthropist and Burt’s Bee’s co-founder Roxanne Quimby that donated the lands to create the monument, remarked about the growing community of supporters rallying for the national monument. “We are just so pleased to have diverse groups of donors and volunteers helping advance this landscape through their contributions of time, talent, and treasure.”
“We are thrilled to partner with these generous donors and our members to add a margin of excellence beyond what public funds alone can do for our national monument,” continued Bossie. “Welcoming student groups, families, and campers of all ages is a shared goal of Friends, the NPS, and our diverse community of supporters.”
The land presently known as Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and at Lunksoos Camps is steeped in history and present-day culture. The monument is traditional territory of the Penobscot Nation and a crossroads sacred to the Wabanaki Nations, including the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot; Wabanaki Nations know this area as a center of connecting watersheds and important travel routes. Together with nearby Katahdin, this landscape continues to be a place for social and spiritual connection. Lunksoos was a sporting camp for much of the last two centuries and is known by many Mainers as the terminus of 12-year-old Donn Fendler’s arduous 9-day journey from Katahdin while “lost on a mountain in Maine” in 1939. Recently popular as a put-in for day and overnight paddle treks, campers pitched their tents at a single site near the boat launch in the past. The new sites will move camping away from the busy boat launch, protect natural resources, and accommodate more visitors at one of the most important hubs for recreators in the national monument.
Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters is a non-profit 501c3 membership organization made up of individuals who are committed to working alongside the National Park Service to help protect, preserve and promote all that is special about Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. The official philanthropic partner to the national monument Friends celebrates other recent achievements: in 2020, the monument was designated as the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary on the eastern seaboard, and in May of this year, the NPS released its economic impact report indicating the national monument KAWW supported 38 jobs and contributed $3.3m to the local economy. 2021 marks 5 years since President Barack Obama’s proclamation establishing Katahdin Woods and Waters (“KAWW”) as a national monument. Despite its rustic amenities and rough dirt roads, more visitors come each year: according to an NPS report published this spring, 41,000 people visited KAWW in 2020, which Hudson says was a 10% increase over 2019.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation works to protect wildlife and park lands, preserve history and culture, educate and engage youth, and connect people everywhere to the wonder of parks. We do it in collaboration with the National Park Service, the park partner community, and with the generous support of donors, without whom our work would not be possible. Learn more at nationalparks.org.