Maine Woods National ParkMaine Woods National Park Photo-Documentation Project
Preserving Wildlife in Maine's Great North Woods

Welcome to the Proposed Maine Woods National Park

Imagine a 3.2 million acre wilderness area that is home to myriad species including moose, bear, brook trout, and migratory songbirds, along with several endangered and threatened species, including Canada lynx, Atlantic salmon, wood turtle, Bicknell's thrush, yellow lampmussel, and Tomah mayfly. We don't have to imagine; Maine's Great North Woods, the proposed Maine Woods National Park, is alive and well, but time is running out to preserve this remarkable and fragile ecosystem.

If Henry David Thoreau were alive today we believe he would advocate for the creation of the 3.2 million acre Maine Woods National Park, and rally people to work together to make the park a reality.

proposed Maine Woods National Park map
Boundary shown is approximate.
Baxter State Park is not part of the proposed national park.


What Makes this Area Remarkable?

The 3.2 million acre proposed Maine Woods National Park is situated in the 10-million acre heart of Maine's Great North Woods that still survives as the greatest undeveloped and unprotected region east of the Rockies and once stretched continuously from Maine to Minnesota. The proposed Maine Woods National Park would encompass an area larger than Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks combined. Evidence of the fragility of Maine's northern forest and the urgency with preserving it is emphasized in a report by the Endangered Species Coalition, which highlights ecosystems that are hotspots for threatened and endangered species and mentions Maine's Great North Woods.

In order for a location to be considered for designation as a national park it must possess unique natural, cultural, or recreational resources. The proposed Maine Woods National Park exceeds this criterion with the following priceless characteristics:

  • The largest unprotected wilderness in the eastern United States.
  • Wildlife habitat for moose, black bear, brook trout, and a number of endangered species such as the Canada lynx.
  • The greatest concentration of remote ponds in the Northeast.
  • Expanses of northern hardwood and evergreen forest.
  • Home to the headwaters of five significant rivers: The Allagash, Aroostook, St. John, Kennebec, and Penobscot.
  • The largest inland water, Moosehead Lake, within one state in the East.
  • The Appalachian Trail’s Hundred Mile Wilderness section.
  • Important cultural features, including ancient Native American and early logging era sites.
  • The wildest unprotected lands in the Northern Forest, which the federal-state Northern Forest Lands Study found to be a region of national significance.

The State of Maine……

• consists of 21,257,600 acres of land
• 6,000 lakes and ponds
• 17 million acres of forest
• 32,000 miles of rivers and streams

The proposed park represents only 15% of the total number of acres in Maine.

“There is much debate about the proposed Maine Woods National Park, but the one thing on which we all agree is that we love Maine’s great north woods. From snowmobiling and snowshoeing to wildlife observation, hiking and fishing, each of us enjoys the splendor of the woods for different reasons.

As a society we have profited; from logging and tourism to commercial recreation, the woods, wildlife and nature have provided great financial rewards and stimuli. However, if this magnificent ecosystem is to survive, we need to work together to save a small piece of what we all love. It’s our choice; do we want the Great North Woods to live or die at the hands of man?

Maine is comprised of approximately 21,257,600 acres. By saving 3.2 million acres for the proposed Maine Woods National Park we have the opportunity to preserve a fragile ecosystem on the verge of destruction. It’s our choice. If we choose to protect it, approximately 17,000,000 acres will remain for our livelihood and recreation.

Can we please work together and put aside our greed and differences to save this magnificent ecosystem? We need to remember that progress is not always about building the newest, most high-tech building, equipment, or device. Sometimes progress means having the courage, acumen and selflessness to preserve those things that don’t need improved, such as nature, wildlife and earth itself. Creating the Maine Woods National Park is about our future as humans, in Maine, New England, U.S. and worldwide; we need to remember that we humans are a species too, and we’re not the only creature making a living on this planet. It’s our obligation as the superior species to have the foresight, compassion and passion to protect what we have left of our natural world; otherwise it will result in our own destruction.”

Lee Ann Szelog

We thank the organization, RESTORE: The North Woods, for providing some of the above data, and the map. For more information on the wonderful conservation work they do in Maine, click here. Additional thanks to Raven Maps & Images for the above map.

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