Roxanne Quimby, Lucas St. Clair, and his twin sister Hannah Quimby hosted a grand celebration on the shores of Millinocket Lake at New England Outdoor Center's Twin Pine Camps. The Natural Resources Council of Maine, The Wilderness Society, The Pew Charitable Trust, the National Parks Conservation Association, and the Conservation Lands Fund joined Roxanne, Lucas, and Hannah in thanking everyone who contributed to securing the designation of the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument by President Barack Obama.
Don Hudson, Phine Ewing, Walter Anderson, Elaine and Eric Hendrickson, Lindsay and Michael Downing, Mark and Susan Adams, Bart DeWolf, former board member Eric Horschak, Aaron Meguier, Terry and Craig Hill, and numerous other IAT members and friends were on hand to bask in the great excitement and appreciation sparked by the Quimby family's generous gift -- the largest gift to the people of the United States since the days of John D. Rockefeller and Paul Mellon.
The New England Outdoor Center's Matt Polstein welcomed nearly 300 people to the formal gathering, looking out across Millinocket Lake to Katahdin, shortly after 5:00 pm. Sunday, August 28th. The highlight speeches were made by Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell and Liliane Willens. Secretary Jewell spoke about the significance of the gift to the nation, the importance of land such as this to the health and well-being of all Americans, and the special qualities of the land -- the East Branch of the Penobscot, the hiking opportunities -- especially the IAT, and the richness of the geologic heritage.
Secretary Sally Jewell addresses the gathering mentioning the significance of geology to the
richness of the area and to the International Appalachian Trail for helping to promote it.
Liliane Willens, Roxanne's aunt, regaled the crowd with stories about her family's path from Russia, through Shanghai, to the United States beginning after the Russian Revolution and concluding at the end of World War II. Lily believes Roxanne developed qualities of perseverance, grit, and determination from her maternal grandmother, who had lead the family through much of that trek. When Lucas St. Clair addressed the crowd he too raised a great laugh of appreciation when he spoke about the power and dominance of women in his family, and how at a young age he learned not to second guess either his mother's wisdom or her determination to get a job done. Lucas was clearly relieved that this particular job was done!
Roxanne Quimby's aunt Liliane Willens speaks to the crowd about the qualities of
perseverance and grit her niece learned from her maternal grandmother.
The hard-working staff of NEOC provided the wonderful setting for the gathering, along with delicious food and drink. Dave Mallett and his band took the party deep into the night with an endless serenade for the party-goers.
Dave Mallett tunes up to serenade the crowd after a wonderful buffet dinner
prepared by the staff of the New England Outdoor Center.
The first 31 miles of the IAT is now on land considered by President Barack Obama to be a national treasure, and we agree!