I haven’t written about the now-happening North Woods national monument before, which is perhaps odd for a Maine outdoors blogger. My excuse is that it was such a hot topic and I could see the arguments of both sides so clearly that I just sort of stood on the issue and swayed back and forth depending on who was talking.
But now it’s happening. The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is done. So this is what I have to say.
Even if you didn’t support federal acquisition of these lands, I ask you to see the bright side. There is one. I know of what I speak. I live in Bar Harbor. Yes, the Bar Harbor that has been invoked in almost every argument against a national park or monument in the North Woods. “We don’t want to be like Bar Harbor,” people say. I laugh when I hear that, but I also kind of get it. But not really.
I am raising my kids in the shadow of Acadia National Park and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Yes, there are compromises involved. There are days when those compromises seem overwhelming. But they are the minority. Mostly, I am incredibly grateful for the ability to take my children unimpeded into some of Maine’s most beautiful landscapes at a moment’s notice. I enjoy having thousands of acres in my backyard. In addition to this freedom, my kids get to learn about land stewardship in the very best way.
I wrote about this issue for the Acadia 100 celebration a few weeks ago. You can find that piece here. To those thoughts I would only add this: this acquisition gives your children–and their children–access to these wild lands forever. It tells them that these woods are important. It tells them that their connection to this land is important. It’s important enough to save for all time.
And these days, when it’s harder and harder to get kids outside and into the woods, that message is a good thing.