Time for fighting’s over. Instead, let’s embrace Maine’s national monument

In not-too-unexpected news, it appears that President Donald Trump (with potential help from Maine Gov. Paul LePage) will take a second look at the formation of recent national monuments. The fear of some in Maine, though there’s no evidence that this is the case: Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, which was granted that designation last year, may eventually end up on that list.

he sun sets over the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and Baxter State Park. In August of 2016, President Obama designated roughly 87,000 acres of land East of Baxter State Park as the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Gabor Degre | BDN

To be clear, the path that led to the formation of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was a bit like a Maine road in the springtime: It was full of potholes and unexpected bumps.

But eventually, the land that Burt’s Bees founder Roxanne Quimby purchased over the years was donated to the federal government, and a national monument designation was made official during the centennial anniversary of the national park system.

Now, what?

As an early opponent of a much larger, much more divisive attempt to turn much of the north woods of Maine into a national park, I came to appreciate the (eventual) course that Quimby took, turning the national park/national monument effort over to her son, Lucas St. Clair, and allowing him to mend relationships that seemed beyond repair.

St. Clair won over many other opponents, one cup of coffee at a time, and convinced many of us that a national park or monument in the area east of Baxter State Park was not only a fitting use of the land that his mother had bought, but would live up to the grand tradition of the nation’s national park system — among the greatest gifts to the American people that have ever been created.

Since the monument declaration last summer, I’ve heard from many who are excited about the possibilities, and several who have taken trips to the region to be among the first to explore our new national monument.

I still believe what I wrote last year: The time for debate is over, and the time to help form the best national monument possible is upon us. We — all of us, not just those who live in the immediate area of the monument — have been given a wonderful gift.

The land is ours. All of ours.

For now.

The weeks ahead could become contentious, and will likely be very interesting. As President Trump prepares to review decisions made by his predecessors, I’d be interested in hearing what you think about our new national monument. Have you visited? What did you think? What do you think the next step should be? And do you think that a review of Katahdin Woods and Waters should be included among the others that Trump is requesting?

Send your responses to me at jholyoke@bangordailynews.com. Include your name and hometown. I hope to share some of your responses in a future column or story.

Big fish?

Thankfully, spring has arrived in much of the state. (Condolences to those who live in far northern Maine, where snowmobilers were out on two feet of ice on Long Lake last weekend).

And for many, spring means “spring fishing.”

Whether you like to troll with streamer flies or a sewn-on smelt, or spend your time fly casting, we’re interested in sharing your fish stories.

Let me rephrase that: Apparently, us anglers have reputations as exaggerators, if not outright liars, so what I ought to say is, “We want to share your truthful, verifiable fish stories. So send us photos.”

During hunting season, some of our most popular stories involve big deer, bears or moose. Anglers, though, are a bit more secretive, and are reluctant to even say that they’ve caught a nice fish, let alone let anyone else know where it was caught.

I understand that. I respect that. And I still want to urge our readers to let the rest of us live vicariously through your fishing exploits.

When you end up with a fishing story worth sharing (which you will, I’m sure), drop me a line at the email address below. I’ll be standing by, eager to help make you famous. Or, at the very least, to help make you the envy of your family and peers.

Got moose?

A few years ago, one of my best hunting buddies forgot to enter the state’s moose-permit lottery, and he was subjected to general mockery for the next year. The fact that he won a permit the very next year — after giving up all of his hard-earned bonus points — made no difference to us: He was the brunt of our jokes.

Don’t be like my friend. Don’t draw the ire of your hunting buddies, who are relying on YOU to win a moose permit so they can all tag along.

Enter the lottery.

I know, I know: You’ve got plenty of time. The deadline for online entry isn’t until 11:59 p.m. on May 15. You’ll get around to it.

That’s what my hunting buddy said, too.

On a semi-related note, I received a text from that same hunting buddy this morning with some important news.

He entered the lottery.

Shouldn’t you?
John Holyoke can be reached at jholyoke@bangordailynews.com or 990-8214. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.