When most people think of heroes of the conservation movement they think of John Muir, David Brower, Gifford Pinchot or Teddy Roosevelt, often forgetting that President Obama is also a luminary of the conservation movement. Obama has in fact protected more water and land than any other president, a swath totaling millions of acres.

Today, President Obama made history by using his Executive power to establish the New Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, a 87,500 acre expanse of wilderness in Maine’s north woods, one of the largest tracts of undeveloped and unprotected wildlands in the eastern U.S., where black bears and moose roam a “continuousness of the forest,” to borrow Henry David Thoreau’s eloquent phrase. It offers space for outdoor recreation and, perhaps most importantly in this hustle-bustle region, solitude.

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