Katahdin is Maine’s highest peak. Yes, I know that because I once climbed it on one fine June day of my past. I remember it well since it was hailing when I finally reached the top. Baxter State Park is a huge parkland and it was once the dream of a former state governor to create this monumental park for the use of the citizens of Maine. This park that he had proposed, would have a huge mountain and be the northernmost 10 miles of the famous Appalachian Trail that went all the way from Katahdin down to the state of Georgia. The AT crosses through 14 states in the total of 2193 miles. It is considered the longest hiking only footpath in the world.
The man who had his vision realized in the creation of Baxter State Park was Percival Proctor Baxter. His dream started long before he became the Maine State Governor. Even with the highest office in the state, he was still unable to obtain the funds for such a huge project that would benefit so many. Much like a more modern lady with a park dream in the case of nearby Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, he had to put up his own funds before it would happen. Roxanne Quimby, a co-founder of US company Burt’s Bees and her foundation, Elliotsville Plantation, Inc began purchasing land near Baxter State Park in 2001 before formally announcing their plans in 2011 that the land could one day become part of a national park. However, following opposition by state and federal politicians to the creation of a national park, Quimby changed her focus to a national monument. There was much opposition to her efforts from residents of area towns and even the Governor of the state was opposed. She did not give up. Eventually she was able to get President Obama to create a monument under the Antiquities Act provided she donate the land to the federal govt and then agree to help maintain the land. Like Baxter, she had to use her own money in order to get what she believed in. Since it has been established, it has been accepted as an asset to area towns people but it was a tough battle to get there. This new monument and the lands are right next to Baxter State Park and new trails have been built and the conservation lands are being enjoyed by more and more people. It represents another piece of land preserved for the future and present enjoyment of all. Time to go there and look forward to Spring and Summer and some new exploration. Bangor is not that far away from these two areas just to the north. Time to start making plans to enjoy these two parks.
There are three videos for the new park if you have not been there yet. Did you know there is overnight space free of charge? Just call ahead to make sure there is room and bring your bedding and snacks. With increasing popularity, things such as this won’t last so get in on the ground floor so to speak.