MILLINOCKET, Maine (AP) — The Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters group says it's pleased with progress in the three years since the national monument was created by President Barack Obama.

Recent improvements include a new bridge over Katahdin Brook, improved trails along the Loop Road at Deasey Pond and the Esker Trail built by Appalachian Mountain Club, and new trail signs put up by the National Park Service. Superintendent Tim Hudson said long-awaited road signs along I-95 should be installed by year's end.

"We're proud with the progress our monument has made in only three years," said Andrew Bossie, director of the Friends' group. "Signs are going up, visitation continues to increase, planning is underway, and local communities are realizing the educational and economic benefits of this special place."

The Friends group was hosting a celebration Saturday night to mark the third anniversary of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument with music, dinner, awards and an auction.

Managed by the National Park Service, the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is comprised of 87,500 acres (35,410 hectares) east of Baxter State Park, which is home to Mount Katahdin.

It includes a 17-mile loop road with stunning views of Katahdin, along with trails for hiking, mountain biking and snowmobiling, and paddling on the Penobscot River's East Branch.

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