Wright-Ryan’s Work in National Monument Reflects Future, Ongoing Revitalization of Katahdin Region

July 21, 2023

“Wright-Ryan has a 40-year history of working closely with community-based organizations throughout the region to assist in producing unique facilities in service to their mission. It is far and away the most rewarding work we do."

John Ryan, President, Wright-Ryan

Tekαkαpimək Contact Station at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument


Coinciding with the public launch of A Monumental Welcome, a $35 million fundraising campaign for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Wright-Ryan Construction is pleased to announce its role as Construction Manager serving Elliotsville Foundation, in partnership with a Wabanaki Advisory Board, to help realize the vision for a visitor contact station in the Monument.

Led by Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters, the fundraising campaign has three goals: providing funding for a visitor contact station, priority park projects, and Wabanaki-directed projects. $22.8 million has been raised to date. The campaign will fund Tekαkαpimək Contact Station at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Funds for this goal also support a new 3.6-mile access road to the site, an eastern lookout, a network of accessible paths and access routes, and state of the art off-grid sustainability features.

Tekαkαpimək translates from the Penobscot language to “as far as one can see” and is pronounced de gah-gah bee mook. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is located within the present and traditional homeland of the Penobscot Nation. The land and waters hold special significance to the Penobscot Nation and are inextricably linked with Penobscot culture, ceremonies, oral traditions, language, history, and indigenous stewardship which continues the respectful relationship with the land and waterways that has gone back more than 11,000 years. Katahdin is a culturally significant place to the Wabanaki people where connecting watersheds provide important travel routes for Wabanaki people, comprised of Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot Nations.

Time-limited “Reserved Rights” were written into certain deeds of land allowing for Elliotsville Foundation, Inc. (“EFI”) to construct a visitor contact station on Lookout Mountain in the Monument. EFI is partnering with a Wabanaki Advisory Board with representatives of the independent Native Nations that constitute the Wabanaki Confederacy – Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, Mi’kmaq Nation, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkomikuk and Sipayik, and Penobscot Nation.

In the Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters press release, the Wabanaki Advisory Board collectively spoke to the projects and campaign: “We as a Wabanaki Advisory Board have been mutually committed to fostering a collaborative partnership with EFI that is needed to create the Tekαkαpimək Contact Station while developing a long-term relationship that will carry into the future.”

The Tekαkαpimək Contact Station building encompasses 7,896 gross square feet on two levels and is designed for 242 occupants. Exploration of a wide range of wood products on the project, and a willingness to push boundaries, led to maximum innovative use of nominal lumber – helping to accelerate an emerging sustainable bio-economy.

“Wright-Ryan has a 40-year history of working closely with community-based organizations throughout the region to assist in producing unique facilities in service to their mission. It is far and away the most rewarding work we do,” shared John Ryan, Wright-Ryan’s President. “We will be forever proud to have been associated with the Tekαkαpimək Contact Station and this extraordinary endeavor.”

The project minimizes the use of steel and concrete, while maximizing the application of forest products and mass timber, including 165 custom-built structural laminated columns.

The building operates as a thermal battery off the electrical power grid with mainly passive utilities – including a 36.75 kW remote solar array for electrical service and a propane generator for backup. In addition to thoughtful shading and ventilation design details, a thermal mass floor system will provide passive heating in cold weather months in conjunction with a solar trombe wall, optimizing the structure’s operational vitality and resilience.

Tekαkαpimək will also contribute to the Katahdin region’s burgeoning four-season recreation economy and will support the ongoing revitalization of local communities. “This campaign provides immediate economic impact, with over 90% of construction expenditures here in Maine,” said Brian Hinrichs, Executive Director of Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters.

“Our family is honored to support the next step for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, constructing the Tekαkαpimək Contact Station as a gift to the National Park Service and visitors for generations to come,” said Lucas St. Clair, President of Elliotsville Foundation, Inc. “Through artistry and exhibits created by Wabanaki artists and knowledge keepers, visitors to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument will receive a profound welcome.”

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was created by Presidential Proclamation on August 24, 2016. The 87,500 acres of land was donated to the United States by Burt’s Bees founder Roxanne Quimby through Elliotsville Foundation, Inc. to mark the centennial of the National Park Service. In 2020, the Monument was recognized for its brilliant dark skies and is the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary on the U.S. eastern seaboard.

Elliotsville Foundation leads the contact station project in consultation with the National Park Service, and in close collaboration with a Wabanaki Advisory Board, Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters, National Park Foundation, and other stakeholders. Contractors include Wiphunakson LLC, Saunders Architecture, Alisberg Parker Architects, Atelier One, Haley Ward, Inc, Reed Hilderbrand, Transsolar Inc, Allied Engineering, Inc., Tuhura Communications, Jennifer Neptune (Penobscot), WeShouldDoItAll (WSDIA), Split Rock Studios, DCL, Emery Lee & Sons Inc., OBP Trailworks, LLC, Maine Waterside Trails, Wright-Ryan Construction, Erin Hutton Projects, and Stern Consulting International.

CLICK HERE to read the full feature in Mainebiz.

The Tekαkαpimək Contact Station site is an active construction zone and is closed to visitors at this time. The public will be welcomed in summer 2024.

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