Baxter State Park's Open Letter to Katahdin Woods & Waters

Published Sep 17, 2016

On 9-11-16, Baxter State Park posted a Facebook post which shared a link to an "open letter" sent to the head of its new neighbor, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

A link to the original letter is below, but the message wasn't all warm and fuzzy:

Our new neighbor Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is making plans on how they will set up shop. A significant increase in visitors to the landscape east of Katahdin will have impacts on how we manage and protect Baxter State Park. We are looking forward to talking about our concerns at the upcoming listening sessions.

Frankly, this portion sounds a bit troubling: "We are looking forward to talking about our concerns at the upcoming listening sessions." Are they are looking forward to a mutually beneficial dialogue about how to be neighbors and protectors of their portions of the North Maine Woods? Yes.

Their goals are too different for much compromise. Baxter State Park's primary directive is to keep their land a "forever wild" wilderness. Want a place to drive through to experience nature or take your dog for a walk? Perhaps a place where you can hike Katahdin with a dozen friends or camp along the way? Sorry, there are no roads for visitors in BSP. Dogs are not allowed. Groups of hikers are restricted and camping is forbidden on Mount Katahdin. For example.

Now, to the east, lies (lays?) Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Decisions are still being made about public access, but there will be fewer restrictions than at Baxter State Park -- where "recreational purposes ... are of secondary importance ... and shall not encroach upon the main objective of this area which is to be Forever Wild."

Does anyone actually believe that having the Appalachian Trail end in BSP is a function of keeping the land "forever wild"? To the west, the current northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. To the east, where it will -- in my humble opinion -- inevitably end. Probably without the need for BSP's northbound hiker permits to summit Katahdin.

An Excerpt from BSP's Open Letter

We are concerned about the potential for motorized and non-motorized access by large numbers of people with the establishment of the KWWNM, and we urge you to consider methods that would buffer or mitigate visitor use impacts and complement the Park's wilderness management west of the KWWNM property line.

Kudos to Baxter State Park for keeping their wilderness wild. Kudos to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and its potential to offer another spot to enjoy the heaven that is the North Woods of Maine.

Tags: Attractions, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, News, US Forest Service, Robert Sutherland Travel Writer, Conservation, Recreation, appalachian trail baxter state park, Information, and baxter state park open letter to katahdin woods waters national monument

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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