Like many people, you may have explored Maine’s stunning outdoors this year to decompress and clear your mind. Now in its fourth year, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (KWW) is the perfect example of a safe, remote place to recreate during a roller coaster year.
As you begin to think about how you’ll spend your winter close to home, the Natural Resources Council of Maine would like to share some exciting updates to help you maximize your experience visiting KWW.
Take Advantage of Winter Access:
- The Loop Road, accessed via the South Entrance to the Monument, has closed for the season. The decision to close it was based on snow and weather conditions. You can still enter the Monument on foot or through the North Entrance.
- Winter outdoor recreation opportunities abound at KWW. Pull out a map to begin planning your next trip and keep in mind:
- The road to the North Entrance of the Monument will be plowed this winter.
- Cross-country ski trails will be groomed in the north end of the Monument as usual. About 10 miles are groomed and 20 miles are packed (no set track).
- Haskell and Big Spring Brook Huts are temporarily closed due to COVID-19. The National Park Service will continue to assess whether it will be possible to open access to those facilities this winter.
Upgrades to Infrastructure and Management:
- In 2020, the North Entrance, Loop Road, and Swift Brook Road were graded for vehicle access; the American Thread Road and Seboeis View Loop have been brushed, ditched, and graded and will be improved in 2021; and a new vault toilet was installed at the Lunksoos boat launch.
- Four culverts were converted to small bridges for Atlantic salmon passage. One bridge was totally replaced for proper fish passage, and another bridge was redocked and checked to ensure fish passage.
- The National Park Service is finalizing its Framework for Management, which will guide management decisions at the Monument over the long term. The final document will be publicly available sometime soon, and we’ll post it on our KWW web page.
- In May, KWW was named an International Dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark-Sky Association, making it the only place with that distinction in the eastern United States. It is indeed an extraordinary spot to star gaze.
- Perhaps you were one of the more than 30,000 visitors that went to KWW this year. Despite a slow start to the season due to the pandemic, visitation numbers at the Monument were record-breaking.
Though winter may be on its way, KWW is open year-round. Strap on your skis or snowshoes and make plans to check out all the great activities KWW has to offer in the colder months. If you’re unsure about doing a backcountry trip on your own, consider hiring a Maine wilderness guide to lead your adventure. Have fun out there and be safe!
—Melanie Sturm, NRCM Forests & Wildlife Director