Thanks to You – November/December eNewsletter

Taking time for nature, first snow, Annual Appeal continues, volunteer Candy’s #parkstory, December happenings, and more…

The most [wonderful?, chaotic?, conflicted?] time of year has arrived. Whether the slate of year-end holidays marks a time of joy or a time to persevere for you–one constant is that a LOT is going on. Nonprofit organizations like Friends necessarily contribute to the frenzy to ensure fundraising goals are met. With all the excitement that comes with the season, we can use a reminder to take time for reflection.

Two women hiking with a black dog on a leash in the fall.
The best gift – time outdoors with loved ones. Photo credit: Taylor Walker

Pause for a moment and imagine you are standing in a quiet forest. Close your eyes and remember the smell and temperature of the air, the way the ground resists and sounds underfoot. December is a quiet month in Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, after the fall hunting season ends and, typically, before the snow falls thick enough for skis and snowshoes. What sounds, sights and smells might you notice now?

A young white girl smiles from behind a snowy tree with more snowy trees in the background.
Breaking news: snow has arrived in the Katahdin region! Kids of all ages–get ready for more days like this one (last March). Photo credit: FKWW

We hope that you can visit a patch of quiet woods in these weeks before the year ends–whether you drive up the Swift Brook Road and park at the (seasonally closed) Loop Road gate for a walk with old friends, stop by a local nature preserve with your kids, or simply visualize your favorite sylvan space. Let the gratitude for these places inspire peacefulness now, and hope for the year ahead!

Friends’ Annual Appeal Continues through 2023 – Join In!

Thank you to everyone who has joined Friends’ annual appeal with a year-end gift so far. You are an amazing community that believes in protecting the ecological and cultural treasures of Katahdin Woods and Waters, the promise of our youth to be better stewards of the land, and the future of the Katahdin region in developing a sustainable outdoor recreation economy. Let’s see how much we can do in 2024!

It takes everyone paddling together to make a difference. Photo credit: Taylor Walker


In the final Park Story of our yearlong series, meet Candy! Of course, many, many people already know Candy McKellar–as a longtime resident of the Katahdin region, educator, artist, early and ardent supporter of Katahdin Woods and Waters, or a constant volunteer on Katahdin Learning Project field trips. She shared a few of her favorite and formative memories of the national monument.

Sitting on the Lynx Pond viewing platform, before it was even completed, with my new friend Nancy Hathaway. On this late afternoon in the fall we watched a mother moose and her two calves graze along the far edge of the pond.

Climbing Barnard Mountain and easing through the split in the giant boulder on the trip up.

Watching school children spill out of the yellow bus and line up to head out on a hike, or circle around an educator or ranger for an environmental lesson–tailored to the age of the group and the uniqueness of “our park.”

A white woman in a ballcap and hiking clothes is seated on a stone bench.
Photo credit: FKWW

Candy says she has always loved the outdoors and wanted to help preserve it for future generations–and continues to volunteer with Friends to educate local youth about the great outdoors right here!

Fall Education Program Wrap-up

Our education program Katahdin Learning Project’s fall program season wrapped in early November, and it was one of our best yet! Friends’ Education Coordinator Elise Goplerud notes some achievements marked during a fantastic two months of learning and growing outdoors.

  • Expanded access to more schools by offering programs at three new outdoor sites in the Katahdin region,
  • Reached more than 400 students in field trips, classroom visits, and community programs,
  • Tested water quality with thirteen different groups at five different locations,
  • Co-hosted a teen campout at our Stars Over Katahdin event, and
  • Facilitated two career panels featuring speakers from the National Park Service, Wabanaki Public Health & Wellness, Maine Forest Rangers, Baxter State Park, Mt. Chase Lodge, Katahdin Area Trails and more for 40 local middle and high school students!
    A white woman points at a tree during an outdoor lesson with teens.
    Learning and fun are part of the program. Photo credit: Taylor Walker

We are honored daily for the opportunity to help students from across the Katahdin region connect to the land and their community in new and deeper ways.

Don’t miss a moment – Follow Friends

Looking for more stories, photos, and connection to the monument and Friends? Head to our Facebook and Instagram for updates throughout the month! With an average of two to three posts per week, we share more photos, links and moments than can be squeezed into this monthly newsletter. Connect with folks who share your passion for Katahdin Woods and Waters by catching up on our feeds. Be sure to “like” and “follow” us, and when you are inspired by something you see, share it!

Connect with us! Photo credits from top L: FKWW, FKWW, Ross Knowlton

Park News – Building for the Future

  • In a season of houseguests, the need for more bathrooms becomes apparent. Although beyond the reach of motor traffic until May, the brand-new vault toilet at the Deasey Pond Trailhead will offer relief to visitors next season–not least for teachers with 30 students fresh off a 45 minute bus ride. ADA facilities at popular destinations in the monument are among many projects funded by A Monumental Welcome capital campaign.
  • Are you ready to explore career options with the National Park Service? Full-time, part-time, year-round, and seasonal (2024) positions are all posted at Enter “Patten, Maine” in the search to see what is available. Never miss a job post by saving your search and setting up email notifications.
  • On November 13th, NPS offered a behind-the-scenes tour of Tekakapimek to Katahdin Collaborative members. Exhibitry has recently been installed, as the site gets ready to shut down for winter before final construction resumes in the spring.
    Several people are scattered throughout a large, wood-clad exhibit space.
    Photo credit: FKWW

    Ripple Effect – We thought you might like to know…

    Sponsor Spotlight

    Thank you to our Deasey level sponsor Haley Ward! A 100% employee-owned technical consulting firm based in Bangor, Haley Ward is a key part of the construction team at Tekαkαpimək Contact Station and important member of the Friends community.

    And we are welcoming and thanking Eaton Peabody, a Maine law firm who joined Friends this year at the Barnard level.

    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 December 5, 2023. Sign up for our email list at