Step into Spring – April eNewsletter

Winter melts into spring, lynx kittens, outdoor skills fun, Friends’ upcoming events, and more…

River in woods with starry sky.
Moonlight over the Seboeis River. Photo credit: Ross Knowlton

Some seasonal transitions occur over the lapsing of days or weeks, as with the gentle warming of soil in late May or the buildup of goldenrod fluff on our sweaters after several fall hikes. Other times, nature throws out a plot twist. After a historically low snow year, the Katahdin region received up to 30 inches of fresh snow at the end of March! A brief late season gift to skiers and snowshoers, the fresh powder began succumbing to strong sunshine and then rain almost immediately. It may look like winter on the ground, but it sounds like spring: drip, drip, squish, squelch. Maine’s infamous Mud Season will be in force soon.

In light of the very seasonal wetness, please heed the advice of national, state, and local authorities and take safety precautions if you are traveling to view the solar eclipse on Monday, April 8th. Find the latest statewide information on the VisitMaine Solar Eclipse page. The National Park Service Rangers will be at family-friendly events all eclipse weekend around the region. Find details at the KAWW Eclipse page and listed below.

Looking a little further ahead, we have several exciting dates to announce! Find dates below and plan to join us for a casual member “meet and greet” at a pub near you–and mark your calendar for August 17th for the Grand Opening of Tekαkαpimək Contact Station and Woods and Waters Day!

Also this month, in Priority Park Progress we highlight an important scientific project funded by the A Monumental Welcome capital campaign and share news from the Katahdin Learning Project. Don’t miss Behind the Signs for updates and happenings direct from the park service at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, or Ripple Effect, a curated selection of notes from the Katahdin region and greater conservation community.

Priority Park Progress

Two lynx kits lying on mossy ground.
Two Canada lynx kits. Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

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.

This month, we’re spotlighting species inventory projects funded by Friends and its donors. As an emerging NPS unit, Katahdin Woods and Waters is not supported by the Inventory & Monitoring program. Existing estimates on wildlife species is informed by hunting permits and casual observations by visitors and park staff. In 2024 and 2025, Friends’ funding for Priority Park Projects includes evaluating the presence of threatened Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) and other wildlife species to comply with federal regulations, protect species, and avoid hazards. Friends will also be funding inventory studies of the northern bog lemming (Synaptomys borealis). Northern bog lemmings are listed in Maine as a state-threatened species with potential to be listed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Although rare, the lemmings have been detected in neighboring Baxter State Park. With more survey areas, it is anticipated that the monument also provides bog lemming habitat.

Friends News –

Mark your calendars now for these upcoming events, and stay tuned for updates in your inbox, social media feeds, and at!

Friends’ “Membership May” Meet & Greet Series – Join staff, board, and volunteers at a brewpub near you for a casual opportunity to meet members, ask questions, and get a sneak peek at our fresh strategic plan. (The pizza is on us!)

Thursday, May 9th – 5:30-6:30 p.m. Virtual, Zoom

Dozens of people seated at round tables under a lit party tent.
Join Friends in celebration this August. Photo credit: James E. Francis, Sr.

Tuesday, May 14th – 4-6 p.m. Knife Edge Brewing Co, Millinocket

Tuesday, May 21st – 12-1:30 p.m. Mason’s Brewing Company, Brewer

Tuesday, May 28th – 4-6 p.m Maine Beer Company, Freeport


Teacher Camp – Educators of all types are invited to join us for a day

of learning and connecting on Tuesday, June 24th in Patten. For more information, contact

Grand Opening of Tekαkαpimək Contact Station and Woods and Waters Day – Tekαkαpimək Contact Station will open to the public the weekend of August 17 & 18, with a special Woods & Waters Day celebration the night of August 17th at Ktaadn Resorts (New England Outdoor Center) in Millinocket. More details to follow!

Immersive Outdoor Learning 

High school students sitting in kayaks and an instructor standing in an indoor swimming pool.
Kayak roll clinic at UMaine. Photo credit: FKWW

Friends’ place-based education program, the Katahdin Learning Project, is growing! In March we welcomed Ronan, our spring seasonal Place-Based Educator. Ronan will work with KLP until the end of the school year teaching outdoor enrichment lessons in the Millinocket middle and high schools. Outdoor enrichment periods are a new student-driven program made possible with funding from the Maine Outdoor Learning Inititiave*, allowing learners to dictate the topics they’re passionate about. With Ronan at the helm, we’re excited to see the creativity and curiosity unfold! He will also assist with the planning and delivery of April Vacation Camp and other programs across the region.

Earlier in March, KLP led a visit to the University of Maine for 24 high school outdoor education students. Linking up with Maine Bound Adventure Center for a kayak roll clinic, students learned how to roll a whitewater kayak and perform a canoe “t rescue”–essential skills for exploring the waterways in the Katahdin region. PLUS students got an inside look at campus life with a university tour!

Attention locals: we are planning another UMaine visit, and this time, we’re going rock climbing! The trip takes off after school lets out for a half day on May 10th and is open to any 6th -12th grade student in the Katahdin region. For more information and to register (plus a sneak peek of summer programs) visit: friendsofkww/org/Katahdin-region-outdoor-collective

A brown wooden sign "Old River Road."
Pointing the way to a popular ski trail. Photo credit: Ross Knowlton

Behind the Signs

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

  • Did you know...that every unit of the National Park Service has an official four-letter abbreviation? The abbreviation for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is KAWW (the pronunciation is up to you).
  • Reminder! KAWW North Entrance and Loop Roads remain closed for the winter season. Stay current on condtions here.
  • Rangers are getting ready for a busy weekend of events leading up to the April 8th eclipse! Find them in Houlton on April 6, in Patten on  April 7th, and in Island Falls on April 8th for the eclipse itself. Details are on the KAWW events calendar.
  • Dreaming of your first Katahdin Woods and Waters summer camping trip? Watch this helpful video at
  • Visit (and bookmark) the KAWW page at to plan your summer trips and get ready to snag your favorite spot when reservations open later this month!

    Ripple Effect

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

    Sponsor Spotlight

    It’s the start of a new sponsorship year! We are so excited to spend the next twelve months introducing you to our corporate supporters: businesses who make their values part of the bottom line. 

    Always the first to say YES each year to our Katahdin level sponsorship, we are beyond grateful for Richardson’s Hardware. This 4th generation run business has grown significantly from its 1948 establishment in Patten, Maine to today. When locals get the itch for spring gardening, we’ll escape to Richardson’s greenhouse across the road!

Sponsors provide crucial funding that supports Friends mission and work. To learn more, visit or contact

—This blog post was adapted from an email sent on April 3rd, 2024. Sign up for our email list at