Burt's Bees Founder Abuzz About Creating New National Park

Mar 29, 2011
Exec. Prod. of Franchises & Series. He previously reported for HuffPost, L.A. Daily Journal, and Biloxi Sun-Herald.

Every Tuesday, we work with the deep-thinkers over at SoulPancake to choose a TakePart story and discuss the Life’s Big Question it brings to mind. This week we look at one woman's effort to preserve natural spaces. Look for this week's Big Question at the end of the story, then join the conversation!

Maine&39;s Mount Katahdin is seen from an idyllic distance. (Photo: Getty Images)

Roxanne Quimby, the force behind the Burt's Bees line of natural cosmetics made from beeswax, wants her legacy to be more than a nation of moisturized lips and smooth skin.

Quimby wants to create the first large National Park to open in the U.S. in more than three decades. 

The conservation-minded entrepreneur, who owns more than 70,000 acres next to Maine's Baxter State Park, wants to grant her land to the National Park Service to help preserve the North Woods landscape and ecosystem she cherishes.

If everything goes according to plan, the Maine Woods National Park will open to coincide with the National Park Service's centennial anniversary in five years, and will be more than twice the size of Maine's current leading lady of the parks system, Acadia National Park.

Quimby envisions a park replete with saplings, moose and views of Maine's highest peak—Mount Katahdin—at the northern end of the Appalachian Trail. It would have a visitors' center dedicated to famed naturalist Henry David Thoreau, who voyaged to Maine in the 1800s.

The last large national park to open was in Alaska in the 1980s, according to the AP

In a gesture to Maine's sportsmen, who would see some of their favorite pastimes limited by the creation of the park, Quimby wants to set aside a smaller area of about 30,000 acres to be managed like a state park, with hunting and snowmobiling allowed. 

The sportsmen have had a rocky relationship with the millionaire; she is personally opposed to hunting and gas-guzzling A.T.V.'s. But Quimby's efforts to reach out and learn how her vision for natural conservation can mesh with the community's ideas about respecting the outdoors have won her fans across the spectrum.

This week's Big Question from the deep-thinkers at SoulPancake: What awesome thing would you try to renew interest in if you could?

What awesome thing would you try to renew interest in if you could? Join the conversation!

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