I write as a longtime enthusiast of Maine’s wonderful woods and mountains. I have hiked and camped in practically all of the sites in Baxter State Park over the years. It is exciting that the Katahdin Woods and Waters, adjacent to Baxter, has been designated a national monument.

These past two summers, I have explored the Elliotsville Plantation lands – as much as has been accessible – by car, canoe and on foot as a hiker. There are many wonderful opportunities, especially along the now-open International Appalachian Trail. However, a daunting amount of work will be needed to make the monument truly ready for visitors and hikers.

This development will be greatly accelerated, in a thoughtful way, by the National Park Service. Thanks and gratitude are due to the Quimby-St. Clair family for their gift of the lands and $40 million endowment. I believe that time will convince skeptics of the wisdom of the designation.

A side note: The trail connection between the southeast corner of Baxter and the International Appalachian Trail leading to Katahdin Woods and Waters is in deplorable condition.

While hiking it last summer, we found dense undergrowth and almost no trail markers. This might make a good project for the Friends of Baxter Park. Opening it up will surely help knit these two extraordinary resources together for the benefit of all Maine hikers.

William Holt

Cape Elizabeth