Short film ‘Monumental’ showcases a journey through Katahdin Woods and Waters

On August 24th in 2016, an 87,563-acre plot of land in the heart of Maine was designated the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument by former President Barack Obama. Although met with controversy on all sides, the area had yet been explored on a large scale. In September 2017, a team of four Maine-born photographers set out on a three-part journey through Katahdin Woods and Waters to investigate. The goal? To refocus attention from the debate back onto why the monument was created in the first place: to protect and encourage public access to Maine’s outdoor resources. The short film Monumental showcases the area’s sweeping beauty and undeniable value to outdoor enthusiasts.

Katahdin Woods and Waters comprises miles of serene forest, winding rivers, and exquisite mountain peaks. The vast land is adjacent to Baxter State Park and was donated by the Quimby Family Foundation in addition to funds that would jumpstart its establishment. The location boasts premier hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, camping, hunting, fishing, kayaking, wildlife viewing, and sightseeing.

The team of four photographers and filmmakers come from varying outdoor backgrounds, but they share their Maine roots. They set out on a 64-mile long human powered circumnavigation of the park. The expedition was divided into three parts: the first a 22-mile canoe trip down the east branch of the Penobscot River, the second a 21-mile bike ride along the Katahdin Loop Road, and the third a 21-mile hike down the International Appalachian Trail back to their starting point. The journey encompassed a gain of more than 5000 vertical feet, featured impressive views of Mount Katahdin, and offered intimate insight into the area’s history.

During the five-day expedition, the team experienced unprecedented sights, captured stunning images on film, and garnered a deep appreciation for the immense beauty that had been tucked away in their own backyards, just waiting to be explored. They embraced the physical challenges with lightheartedness and formed bonds that will last a lifetime. Above all, through this film, they were able to successfully relay the importance of Katahdin Woods and Waters to the state of Maine and encourage increased public use.

“We set off into Katahdin Woods and Waters with hopes of finding an original adventure in Maine. Along the way, we were fascinated by the beauty of its land, the remoteness of its wilderness, and the endless potential for outdoor recreation and lifestyle. We hope Monumental inspires others to go experience the monument and discover the way life should be,” the team stated to Digital Trends.

To produce the film, the team partnered with several Maine-based outdoor brands including Old Town Canoes, Baxter Brewing, Hyperlite Mountain Gear, and Good To-Go Foods. You can view the full film here.

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