December eNewsletter

Annual appeal time, year-end highlights from NPS, and some inspiration…

An early fall cold snap gave way this year to an extension of the summer season. We watched the foliage blaze through October in our t-shirts and enjoyed some late season hikes after the leaves fell in mild air (but without the bugs!). A few weeks ago, the weather caught up with the calendar and a crunchy white crust settled atop the bent grasses and along the now-gated Loop Road, leaving the monument primarily to the wildlife inside and passing through by wing. In contrast, Friends staff are busy with the joyful work of wrapping up one year and preparing for the next. I know that you are busy too, so thank you for taking a moment to catch up with us

A dirt road covered in snow.

A wintry landscape on the Seboeis parcel in mid-November. Photo: Elise Goplerud

Friends annual year-end giving appeal is in full swing. Letters left the building en route to homes over the holiday weekend, inviting you to make more possible: encouraging youth to discover something new, breathing renewed energy into gateway community businesses, and improving visitor facilities within the 87,500 acres of the monument. I hope it inspires you to make your year-end gift to Friends–or you can contribute right now by visiting you have already made your gift, thank you.

Katahdin Learning Project – Last month, we shared a little about the monument’s youngest visitors, local school children on field trips led by Friends’ Katahdin Learning Project. Kids as young as eight learned about the 13,000-year human history on this land and considered the future as community scientists looking at water quality in the east branch of the Penobscot. This important work is only possible because folks like you support these projects. We all observe changes in our environment by the day, week, month, year, and even decade. The young people engaged in place-based learning in Katahdin Woods and Waters and in their communities have the opportunity to see these changes as part of the story of the land–and decide how that story will become part of their own.

Children looking at a water test strip.

Third-grade students learn about water quality testing on a field trip to Katahdin Woods and Waters. Photo: Elise Goplerud

Friends Alliance Conference – Last month, three Friends staffers joined hundreds of our colleagues in the “friends of” community for the bi-annual gathering of the Friends Alliance in Gatlinburg, Tennessee! We hiked and saw bears at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, learned how other Friends groups engage youth and community, and shared our voices in shaping the future of park-partner relationships.

Three women standing on a mountaintop deck.

Sarah, Meghan, and Elise enjoying a mountaintop view in Gatlinburg, TN.

News from the Park – With the closing of the gates on October 31st, seasonal park staff have wrapped up for 2022 and the year-round team led by Superintendent Wimmer is busy planning for 2023! Just a few of the highlights from this year:

  • The Maine Conservation Corps and seasonal Park Service staff worked on improving and maintaining the International Appalachian Trail and the Wassataquoik Trailhead.
  • In-field mobile Ranger booths were purchased to have a place for visitors to get information as they enter the monument on the Swift Brook Road. Following a trial period, permanent booths may be established in the coming years.
  • In July, NPS monument staff worked with the Wabanaki Youth in Science (WaYS) group and the Maliseet Skitkomiq school camp, along with the NPS Northeast Archeological Resources Program.
  • NPS monument staff hosted three Tribal Historic Preservation Officers working with tribal youth and Skitkomiq schoolchildren, surveying areas in the monument by creating archeological test pits and discussed potential career opportunities for tribal youth in federal work.
  • A research project to better understand the amount of mercury in the waters of the monument (by testing dragonflies!) contributed to the growing knowledge of mercury impacts in the watersheds surrounding the monument and in the greater area of Maine.

From all of us at Friends, a huge thank you to our talented and dedicated park service staff. We are honored to support these ongoing projects and new work by the NPS inside the monument. Stay tuned in the months ahead for exciting infrastructure, community science, and program updates from the NPS at Katahdin Woods and Waters!

Ripple effect –  As Friends here in the Katahdin Region, we strive to amplify the work of our local, regional, and national colleagues and bring news to you from Katahdin Woods and Waters and the communities connected to it.

  • We are feeling inspired by Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash speaking about his Smokies Hikes for Healing initiative.
  • We’re learning from The National Monument Audit, produced by Monument Lab in partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and informing the future of telling our nation’s important stories.
  • The one and only Millinocket Marathon and Half-marathon brought more than 2,000 registered runners to spend their weekend in the region carbo-loading and burning it all off in Maine’s most joyful annual road race on December 3rd. Congrats to all who ran–who’s in for 2023?

Sponsor Spotlight

Thank you to longtime sponsor L.L. Bean, supporting Friends at the Deasey level again in 2022! L.L.Bean’s regular annual support and contributions to projects like the tent sites at Lunksoos Camps are helping more people #beanoutsider!

And thank you to AMC––the Appalachian Mountain Club supports Friends’ mission with their conservation and outreach work in Maine and with their annual financial support at the Hathorn level.

Sponsors provide crucial funding that supports our mission and work. To learn more, visit or contact Finally, I hope you’ll take a moment to enjoy this beautiful image taken from atop Lunksoos Mountain last fall. Thank you to our media sponsor Down East Magazine for sharing this photo and message with your print readers last month.

A mountain landscape with conifer trees in the foreground.

—This blog post was adapted from an email transmitted on December 8, 2022 . To sign up for our email list, please email—