Katahdin Woods and Waters is the Nation's Newest National Monument

Maine Woods Forever at the UCCPA Sept 16, 2016

Lucas St. Clair, who led the successful campaign to have more than 87,000 acres declared a national monument in northern Maine, spoke at the annual Maine Woods Forever roundtable at Unity College. Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury gave the introductory remarks.

Thank you, Bart, and thank you to everyone for being here today for this important and exciting discussion about forest lands and conservation in Maine.

Our speaker has recently become a household name in Maine, but he’s been well known within these circles for quite some time now.

Thanks to Lucas St. Clair’s leadership and through his family’s generous donation of 87,000 acres and a $40 million maintenance endowment, generations and generations of people from all over the world will now experience the majesty of Maine’s woods through the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

During the campaign to create a park in the northern Maine woods, Mr. St. Clair had to talk to many people — many of whom opposed the concept of this gift — to get them to see the park vision through a lens other than their own. He had to visit with the federal officials responsible for the park system as well as the loggers and sportsmen who feared the gift would negatively impact their way of life.

These are the things we talk about every day here at Unity College within the framework of Sustainability Science. Sure, you want to save the world, but how are you going to create understanding between disparate groups?

During the years-long campaign to create a national park, Lucas St. Clair embodied Sustainability Science by encouraging others to think systematically and to view the park project through the multiple lenses of economy, society, and environment.

At this point the whole world knows how it turned out.

Advocates for the park celebrated on Aug. 24, when, on the 100 anniversary of the National Park Service, President Obama signed an executive order creating the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

The president accepted the gift of his family’s land. And Mr. St. Clair and the family foundation continue to play a role in the development of the region and enhancing the community’s ability to capitalize on the newly realized asset.

In addition to giving a boost to the economic possibilities in Northern Maine, this project has also created 100 years worth of valuable projects for educators and sustainability leaders.

Lucas, conservation leaders, in this environmental century our students and faculty are ready to engage the opportunities and to continue to develop Maine as Unity College’s classroom. Please let me know anytime you see a role for America’s Environmental College in your ongoing work, because we believe that Maine should be known not only as “Vacationland,” but also “Educationland.”

To the matter at hand…

Lucas St. Clair lives in Portland with his wife and two children. Beyond his work on land conservation, Mr. St. Clair has climbed mountains in Alaska, Peru, and Argentina; worked as a fly fishing guide; and has even helped Eddie Bauer design fishing apparel.

Lucas, you actually sound a lot like a Unity College alum!

So, Lucas, let me welcome you to Unity College. We are very excited to have you here with us today to talk about the one of the newest additions to the federal public lands system, right here in our own backyard.
Ladies and gentlemen; Maine Woods Forever and Unity College; please welcome Lucas St. Clair to the podium.