The organization behind the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is turning its attention to parks, trails and open spaces in Maine’s largest city.

The city of Portland has announced a collaboration with Elliotsville Plantation, Inc. to create a conservancy supporting city parks.

“Portland is lucky to have such an extensive and well-maintained parks system,” Lucas St. Clair, president of Elliotsville Plantation, said in a statement. “This conservancy will aim to continue our tradition of treasuring public space and to encourage even more Portlanders to take advantage of all that Portland has to offer.”

A six-member steering committee held the first of what will be a series of meetings Wednesday night to determine the structure of the conservancy and develop an implementation plan, according to a city news release.

“We at the city of Portland are excited to see this community-led effort come together to support our parks and open spaces,” Sally Deluca, director of the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Facilities, said in a statement. “I look forward to engaging in the work of the steering committee and building a strong private-public partnership that will be around for generations to come.”

In addition to Deluca, the steering committee includes Simon Thompson of Elliotsville Plantation and Diane Davison, executive director of Friends of the Eastern Promenade and a former chairperson of the Portland Parks Commission.

According to the city of Portland, the parks division manages more than 60 parks and playgrounds, 7.5 miles of trails and dozens of over recreational and sports facilities over 721 acres of land.

Elliotsville Plantation will provide funding for the conservancy to hire a director and staff and rent office space, the Portland Press Herald reported.

St. Clair’s mother, entrepreneur Roxanne Quimby, donated more than 87,000 acres of forest area in Penobscot County near Baxter State Park for the establishment of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument by then-President Barack Obama in late 2016. The national park plan was a controversial one, with supporters saying it would attract tourists and business to the area, and detractors argued it would bring unwanted federal authority into northern Maine, among other things.

President Trump earlier this year ordered a review of 27 national monument declarations with the suggestion he would try to shrink or overturn some of them. But Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who is leading the review, recommended keeping Katahdin Woods a monument.

Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.