When I was a kid living in an apartment on Ohio Street in Bangor, camping and hiking were a way of life. It’s what we did on weekends and vacations. My parents took my brothers and me on trips to nearby state parks and Acadia National Park on weekends. Camping trips at Cobscook Bay State Park and Baxter State Park were for longer vacations.
Now, those trips are an important part of our family memories. We like to look through faded photographs and relive the experiences we had together – fighting the mosquitoes and black flies, complaining about the leaky canvas tent in the rain, learning how to build campfires, swimming in ice cold lakes, digging clams, and enjoying the splendid views. I can’t imagine a childhood without these experiences.
Turns out these outdoor activities are good for our mental health, and reducing stress, not to mention the benefits of being physically active outdoors. Being outside is especially good for children, giving them confidence and bolstering creativity as they explore new places on their own.
This is why preserving Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is so important. We need protected places where we know we can always go to hike, breathe fresh air, rest our bones, recharge our batteries, and commune with the universe.
If you agree with me, the federal government needs to hear from you! There’s still time to submit your comments to the Department of the Interior to tell the feds about your support for the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Widespread support, through your comments to the Department, will go a long way to preserving this important monument and protected area in Maine. You can submit comments here, until July 10: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=DOI-2017-0002-0001
If you don’t have much experience writing comments to federal agencies, here are some tips: https://www.regulations.gov/docs/Tips_For_Submitting_Effective_Comments.pdf
There is nothing more valuable to our state than our vast stretches of undeveloped land, both along the coast and in the interior. Indeed, these vast areas define us as a state. The unorganized territories, where the National Monument is located, are especially important. They are like no other area in New England – no local government, few paved roads, and virtually no economic development.
The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is important, and so are other National Monuments in other states. National Monuments generate a love of nature, a love of place, and a love of our country. They help create pride in who we are as Americans. They bring us together as a nation, something we need now more than ever. We need more, not fewer National Monuments.