This week is the 100th anniversary of the creation of America's National Park Service, marking a time to reflect on the history of America's iconic landscapes and historical sites, and to take action that will inspire the next century of conservation and historic preservation.
In honor of this anniversary, President Obama is designating the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument — a site that encompasses awe-inspiring mountains, forests, and waters of north-central Maine.
Learn more about our newest national monument and President Obama's record of conservation:
The new national monument will protect approximately 87,500 acres, including the stunning East Branch of the Penobscot River and a portion of the Maine Woods. In addition to protecting spectacular geology, significant biodiversity and recreational opportunities, the new monument will help support climate resiliency in the region. The protected area — together with the neighboring Baxter State Park to the west — will ensure that this large landscape remains intact, bolstering the forest’s resilience against the impacts of climate change.
Today's designation builds on the President's strong record of protecting our nation's natural resources. To date, he has permanently protected more than 265 million acres of America's public lands and waters — more than any other president in history.
Here's a look at what President Obama has done to preserve the richness of our national parks and public lands for future generations:
- Encouraged every kid to experience our great outdoors, including through launching an “Every Kid in a Park” initiative to provide all fourth-grade students and their families free admission to all public lands and waters for a full year.
- Created heritage initiatives to recognize the cultural history of all Americans through theme studies and designations.
- Created thousands of jobs for young adults and veterans to help better protect, restore, and manage our country’s parks and public lands and waters, including through the establishment of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.
- Designated national monuments to reflect the diverse stories of Americans including the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, the Pullman National Monument, the Honouliuli National Monument and most recently, the Stonewall National Monument, the nation’s first National Monument honoring LGBT rights.
- Increased public access to the outdoors for underserved communities with little access to public lands.
- Taken steps to better recognize and commemorate culturally significant sites, including renaming the tallest mountain in North America “Denali” to reflect the heritage of Alaska Natives.
- Increased recognition of the economic benefit of the outdoors, including launching an effort to begin measuring the economic impact of outdoor recreation on the American economy.
- Celebrated 99 victories for wildlife conservation, including more recoveries under the Endangered Species Act than any previous administration, often using public lands protections to restore populations.
- Dedicated unprecedented attention and resources to restoring iconic places like the Chesapeake Bay, California Bay-Delta, Great Lakes and Everglades.
- Reformed energy development on America’s public lands and waters, including implementing new landscape-level planning across the country.
- Defended iconic landscapes and natural treasures, including taking action to block damaging uranium mining around the Grand Canyon and designating Alaska’s Bristol Bay as off limits from future oil and gas leasing.
- Signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, the most extensive expansion of land and water conservation in more than a generation, which designated more than 2 million acres of Federal wilderness and protected thousands of miles of trails and more than one thousand miles of rivers.