Roxanne Quimby’s foundation has donated 13 parcels totaling roughly 100 acres to Acadia National Park ahead of next week’s 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

The conservation philanthropist and her nonprofit foundation, Elliotsville Plantation Inc., have been working for years with Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Friends of Acadia to acquire so-called “inholdings” within Acadia. The inholdings donated earlier this week consist of 13 parcels of private land scattered across Mount Desert Island that were either inside or adjacent to the park boundary. They are valued at slightly less than $2 million.

“We thought this would be a great way to celebrate the centennial and a great way for the foundation to make a gift to the National Park Service,” said Lucas St. Clair, president of Elliotsville Plantation and Roxanne Quimby’s son. St. Clair said Thursday evening that he views the donations as continuing the long tradition of philanthropic support for the park service, including the land donations that created what would eventually become Acadia National Park.

Both Acadia and the National Park Service are celebrating centennials this year.

The Quimby family and their supporters are hoping the White House could soon accept an even larger land donation, however, perhaps timed to the upcoming centennial.

Quimby, an entrepreneur who co-founded the Burt’s Bees line of personal care products, has offered to donate 87,500 acres east of Baxter State Park to the National Park Service for creation of a national monument in the Katahdin region.


The family had initially hoped to create a North Woods national park but switched their short-term focus to a national monument because presidents can make such designations by executive action. National parks require an act of Congress.

St. Clair has been unable to win support from all of Maine’s congressional delegation because of outspoken opposition to the national park – and to the national monument – by some Katahdin region residents and representatives of the state’s forest products industry.

Elliotsville Plantation also acquired and donated inholdings in recent months to Gettysburg National Military Park, Glacier National Park, Colorado National Monument and other park service properties.

Some critics have suggested that Quimby’s family is attempting to use the Acadia and other donations as a quid pro quo to gain President Obama’s stamp of approval for the Katahdin region national monument. Quimby also serves on the board of the National Park Foundation, the charitable arm of the park service. St. Clair dismissed such statements, however.

“This is not a gift to the Obama administration. This is a gift to the American public,” St. Clair said. “Regardless of who is president, our foundation has a mission to enhance conservation and conservation landscapes across the country. This is what our foundation does.”

Asked about the status of Elliotsville Plantation’s North Woods proposal, St. Clair replied that the decision is entirely the president’s to make. It is one of numerous national monument proposals across the country – including a marine national monument off the coast of Massachusetts – that organizations are lobbying hard for as Obama enters his final months in office. But like the Katahdin region monument, many of those proposed designations face opposition from local residents or interest groups.

“He and I have not had any specific conversations about this,” St. Clair said with a laugh. “But we continue to be hopeful.”

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