Ties that bind Acadia, new Maine Woods national monument

BAR HARBOR – Pulled up to town at 1:30 a.m. Thursday, because we just had to be in Acadia on the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, to celebrate the park and the new Maine Woods national monument inspired by it.

maine woods national monument

You’re more likely to see moose in the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, than you are in Acadia. (NPS photo)

As we hiked the trails of Acadia throughout the day, wishing strangers “Happy 100th” and joining up with friends, we not only commemorated the gift of Acadia, but also the latest addition to the National Park Service, the new Maine Woods national monument.

Since the spring, we’d suspected President Barack Obama might do what Woodrow Wilson did 100 years ago: Use the Antiquities Act to create a new Maine Woods national monument, just as Wilson had in creating the monument that became Acadia on July 8, 1916.

At an Acadia Centennial Trek meet-up we hosted in Bar Harbor in early June, a couple of well-connected locals told us that it was going to happen. One source even thought President Obama might come back to Acadia to make the announcement, since he and his family seemed to enjoy their vacation here in July 2010.

George B. Dorr is father of Acadia National Park

George B. Dorr, pictured along the shores of Jordan Pond in 1926, far right, fought to protect the lands that would become Acadia. A critical tool in that effort was the Theodore Roosevelt-signed Antiquities Act, saving it first as a national monument. (NPS photo)

Obama vacationed at national parks out west instead, but in a speech at Yosemite last month about his administration’s record of land protection, he said, “We are not done yet.”

In an article we wrote on his speech, we speculated that he might have been referring to the national monument in Maine.

Sure enough, on Aug. 24, the eve of the National Park Service’s Centennial, President Obama created the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. So far, the Obama administration has protected more than 265 million acres, more than any other president, from the North Woods of Maine to the San Gabriel Mountains in California, using the same 1906 Antiquities Act that Theodore Roosevelt wielded to protect Grand Canyon as a national monument first. Continue reading

First-ever virtual runs of MDI Marathon to mark Acadia 100th

For the first time ever, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Acadia National Park, runners and walkers anywhere in the world can join virtual runs of the Mount Desert Island Marathon and Half Marathon, and earn a special Acadia Centennial Medallion.

acadia national park virtual runs

The first-ever virtual runs of the Mount Desert Island Marathon and Half Marathon is an official Acadia Centennial event. At least 5% of gross proceeds from virtual runs’ registration fees go to help support the park. Find more details and register here.

The MDI Marathon and Half Marathon – Acadia100 Virtual Edition is a special collaboration between three Acadia Centennial Partners, Acadia on My MindMount Desert Island Marathon and Half Marathon and Crow Athletics, host of the real-live races. An official Acadia Centennial event, the virtual runs will help raise funds to support the park, with at least 5% of gross proceeds going to benefit Acadia.

“The MDI Marathon and Half couldn’t be more thrilled to work with Acadia on My Mind to offer this cutting-edge virtual edition of our event,” said Gary Allen, race founder and director. “Our partnership is an innovative way for our organizations to join forces to offer anyone, anywhere in the world, a chance to be part of the historic Centennial of Acadia National Park and participate in our award-winning event.”

The real-life MDI Marathon and Half Marathon are being held on Oct. 16, while the virtual runs give participants 10 days to log their miles, from Oct. 7 through end of day Oct. 16. Registration for the real-life MDI Marathon closes Sept. 1, while the real-life MDI Half Marathon is already full. Registration for the virtual MDI Marathon and Half Marathon is open now until the end of the day on Oct. 3.

Virtual runs are a growing fitness trend, offering runners and walkers the ability to be part of a real-life race anywhere in the world, and the chance to raise funds for charity and earn a finisher’s medal. We teamed up with racery.com to power the MDI Marathon and Half Marathon – Acadia100 Virtual Edition, after having worked with them on the year-long virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek, which also helps raise funds for Acadia.

virtual runs

The racery.com virtual map of the MDI Marathon route. You have 10 days to log your 26.2 miles, whether it’s half a mile here and another couple of miles there, or all 26.2 miles all in one go on the day of the actual MDI Marathon on Oct. 16. Each day’s mileage entry moves your race avatar along the map (Bubble Rock on the map represents @AOMM, or Acadia on My Mind, at the virtual starting line in Bar Harbor). You may see a Google Street View(C) photo of where you ended that day, if available. Registration for the virtual MDI Marathon and Half Marathon is open now, and closes at the end of the day on Oct. 3. Virtual runs go live on Oct. 7. (Image courtesy of racery.com)

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New Acadia National Park hiking group open to all

AT LOW TIDE ON THE SAND BAR TO BAR ISLAND – If not for their shared passion for Acadia National Park hiking trails, these very different people might never have met: A teacher, a ranger, a park volunteer, a personal trainer and a blogger.

acadia national park hiking

James Linnane, Shelley Dawson, Maureen Fournier, Acadia on My Mind and Kristy Sharp on the sand bar to Bar Island, where the new Acadia National Park Hiking group on Facebook was announced. (Photo courtesy of Kristy Sharp)

Here they were, hiking together as a group for the first time, on the sand bar to Bar Island, after an early breakfast at Jordan’s Restaurant in Bar Harbor.

Among nearly 300 people from around the world who’ve signed up for a free year-long 100-mile virtual Acadia Centennial Trek – where participants can log their hiking, biking or running miles wherever they are, and see their progress online on a map of Acadia – these 5 Acadia fans celebrated the park’s 100th anniversary in a special way on this low-tide hike last month.

To mark the occasion, the Acadia on My Mind blog, sponsor of the Trek as an official Acadia Centennial Partner, announced the creation of a new Acadia National Park Hiking group on Facebook, just as the 5 hikers neared the shore of Bar Island.

“What a good idea,” said James Linnane, volunteer crew leader for the Friends of Acadia, adding that he’s sometimes looking for someone to hike with on the spur of the moment, and that such a Facebook group could come in handy. Shelley Dawson (the teacher), Maureen Fournier (the ranger), and Kristy Sharp (the certified personal trainer) agreed.

acadia national park hiking

This photo of the Acadia Centennial Trek Medal, taken on the top of Cadillac, highlights the new Acadia National Park Hiking group page on Facebook. The medal can be purchased to help raise funds for Acadia, to mark any achievement, whether related to trekking Acadia or not.

Modeled on a couple of popular Facebook hiking groups for people hiking the 4000 footers of New Hampshire, with more than 9,000 members each, the Acadia National Park Hiking group is open to all. People can share trail conditions, hike suggestions, photos, videos and other information, whether they are veteran Acadia fans, or new to the park.

It can also be a central place for participants in the virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek to post their accomplishments, a photo of their optional finisher’s medal to help raise funds for the park, or to create an Acadia Centennial Trek meet-up for those who might want to hike some real Acadia trails together. Continue reading

The peregrine falcon has “great” year in Acadia, 11 chicks fly

UPDATE 7/29/2016: Park today announces reopening of Precipice, Jordan Cliffs and parts of Valley Cove Trails, and closure of 1-mile section of Valley Cove Trail between Flying Mountain and Man o’ War Brook because of deteriorating trail conditions.

A biologist at Acadia National Park said several popular hiking trails at Acadia National Park should open by early next week, following “a great” year for the peregrine falcon at the park.

Peregrine falcon chick

A peregrine falcon chick is held for banding in the spring (Photo by Keith Wozniak/Acadia National Park)

Bruce Connery, wildlife biologist at Acadia, said 11 peregrine falcon chicks fledged, or took their first flight, at the park’s three main nesting sites this year. That’s up from 7 for each of the prior two years at those sites.

He said the peregrine falcon nests at the Precipice on the east face of Champlain Mountain and Jordan Cliffs each produced four fledged falcons and the nest at Valley Cove, three.

“It is great,” he said in an interview on Wednesday. “We usually have good success at one site, sometimes two. It is a rare to have that kind of success at three sites.”

He said there was also a chick of the peregrine falcon at Ironbound Island this year with a photo taken by the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. The park holds a conservation easement on Ironbound, a privately owned island in Frenchman Bay.

Sign for closing Orange & Black Path for the peregrine falcon

This trail closure sign on the Orange & Black Path, shown in early July, will soon be coming down.

The Precipice Trail, the Jordan Cliffs Trail, part of the Orange & Black Path and the Valley Cove Trail, which were closed early this spring to protect the falcon chicks, should all open maybe this weekend or by early next week, he said. The trails usually do open in early August every year.

The park has not officially announced the date for reopening the trails and trail crews still need to approve some trail sections for safety reasons for hikers, he said. The park announced the trail closures in March. Continue reading

Trail of history, tales of adventures in Acadia run thru Orono

ORONO, Me. – Carrying a map of Maine’s Ice Age Trail that he helped create, Harold W. Borns, Jr., shared some incredible stories about Acadia National Park geology during a recent Centennial event at the Dirigo Pines Retirement Community.

adventures in acadia

Joan Netland and Harold W. Borns., Jr., shared stories of their adventures in Acadia during an Acadia Centennial event at Dirigo Pines Retirement Community in Orono.

His friend Joan Netland brought some amazing memories from decades ago, of adventures in Acadia when she was a young woman.

She talked about a summer hike around Eagle Lake with a friend when they became desperate and dehydrated on the then-more-wild carriage roads and were forced to stop strangers for a drink of water or a ride on a bike. She also told a harrowing story about becoming disoriented and hiking down the wrong side of Beech Mountain after visiting the fire tower during the days it was staffed by lookouts.

During a presentation that was part of an official Acadia Centennial event, some of the about two dozen Dirigo Pines residents in the audience told stories about being among the first Friends of Acadia members, while others shared tales of knowing some of the early architects of the park.

adventures in acadia

Amanda Smith, life enrichment director at Dirigo Pines, helped coordinate the Acadia Centennial event, “Adventures in Acadia.”

We were there to share our adventures in Acadia, as co-authors of Falcon hiking guides to the national park and writers of this blog, during the free event at the retirement community. Amanda Smith, life enrichment director of Dirigo Pines, invited us to speak after reading our blog in the Bangor Daily News.

But little did we know that the audience would have even more interesting adventures in Acadia to share with us, than we with them. Continue reading

Acadia campers fired up over Schoodic Woods Campground

At the new Schoodic Woods Campground in Acadia National Park, Bill Mulvey paused to admire his site as he and his son, Pat, set up their tent last week.

Bill Mulvey of Phoenixville, Pa. and his son, Pat Mulvey, pitch their tent at the Schoodic Woods Campground.

Bill Mulvey of Phoenixville, Pa., left, and his son, Pat Mulvey of Philadelphia, right, begin pitching their tent at the Schoodic Woods Campground at Acadia National Park after arriving on the day of the 100th anniversary of Acadia.

Mulvey, a retired assistant manager for a supermarket company, said he reserved the site about a month before arriving on a Friday for the weekend and it was the only spot available at the “very popular” campground. Mulvey, of Phoenixville, Pa., and his son, a middle school teacher in Philadelphia public schools, are among people camping at the Schoodic Woods Campground during its first full season of operation.

“It’s beautiful,” he said, pointing to the greenery that buffers sites. “Look at these trees. This is great.”

Located on the dramatic Schoodic Peninsula, the only part of Acadia on the mainland, the 94-site campground opened on Sept. 1.

Schoodic Woods Campground

From left to right, Eleanor Goldberg and Malcolm Burson, both of Portland, Jon Luoma and Cathy Johnson, both of Alna, stand in their site at the Schoodic Woods Campground at Acadia National Park after a bike ride together on the 100th anniversary of Acadia National Park.

During a visit on the actual 100th anniversary of Acadia National Park, July 8, Mulvey and other campers lauded the new campground which includes 4.7 miles of new hiking trails and 8.3 miles of new bike paths styled after the park’s carriage roads on Mount Desert Island.

“The bike paths are great,” said Eleanor Goldberg of Portland, who teaches English as a second language in adult education. “They are wide.”

Goldberg joined Malcolm Burson, public policy advisor for the Conservation Law Foundation, Cathy Johnson, a project director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and Jon Luoma, a watercolor painter, for a planned two nights at the Schoodic Woods Campground. Continue reading

Top 5 things to see and do for first-time visitors to Acadia

If you’re first-time visitors to Acadia National Park this Centennial year, you’ll soon see why generations of families, artists, millionaires and even presidents have been lured by the magnificent scenery.

Centennial logo for Acadia National Park

The official Acadia Centennial logo

The first national park east of the Mississippi, and still the Northeast’s only such park, Acadia boasts about 155 miles of hiking trails, from easy ocean walks to strenuous cliff climbs; 45 miles of carriage roads for biking, walking and riding in a horse-drawn carriage; scenic Park Loop Roads; a lighthouse; and the amazing contrast of deep blue sea and pink granite shores.

There’s plenty to see and do for first-time visitors to Acadia, especially during 2016, the 100th anniversary of the park and also of the National Park Service. But there will also be plenty of company too, with the Centennial expected to draw even more visitors than the 2.8 million who came to the park last year.

Here are the top 5 things to see and do for first-time visitors to Acadia National Park, as well as some insider tips on avoiding the crowds during the busy summer and fall foliage seasons. And be sure to check out our 5 tips to beat the crowds while visiting Acadia National Park, and the park’s official Web site to help you plan your trip:

Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park

Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park

1. Soak in the panoramic view on Cadillac Mountain

The highest peak in Acadia, and the first place to see the sun rise in the United States during certain times of the year, Cadillac is a must-see stop. From here, you can see all of Frenchman Bay, the distinctive Porcupine Islands and down to Bar Harbor. Continue reading

For Acadia Centennial, here’s a picture a day for 100 days

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture of Acadia a day for 100 days is worth 100,000 words – or maybe 1 million, since we are talking about Acadia National Park.

Centennial logo for Acadia National Park

The official Acadia Centennial logo

Happy 100th Birthday Acadia! We celebrate all the hard work and dedication that led to its founding 100 years ago as Sieur de Monts National Monument on July 8. We appreciate all the efforts today and into the future of those who help to preserve this special place, especially during this Acadia Centennial year.

At the Friends of Acadia annual meeting today at the Bar Harbor Club, big news is expected to be announced to mark the Acadia Centennial. It’s part of the year-long celebration that has included more than 400 Acadia Centennial Partners coming together, including Acadia on My Mind, to plan hundreds of events and help raise funds for the park.

While we won’t be there for that official Centennial celebration, we’ll be commemorating the occasion in our own small way. We’ll hike a trail in Acadia, and get our Passport to the Parks(R) stamped with an Acadia Centennial stamp by our favorite Acadia ranger.

acadia centennial

We’ll be getting this stamp in our Passport(R) to Your National Parks from our favorite Acadia Ranger on the actual day of Acadia’s 100th. (Image courtesy Eastern National)

We’ll be  working on our Acadia Centennial Partnership projects, like the free year-long virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek, to celebrate the park and help raise funds for it with an optional finisher’s medal.

Years into the future, we will remember what we were doing on July 8, 2016, the day of the Acadia Centennial. If you don’t happen to be visiting Acadia today or at any other time this year, may this one-a-day-photo-of-Acadia project be our way of sharing this special place with you. We’re not professional photographers, but thankfully Acadia’s beauty makes the picture.

Once we’ve got at least 10 photos up, we’ll start putting them into a slideshow, to make it easier to see the complete album. Bookmark this post to check back on the Acadia Centennial photo album.

We’ll also be posting each new photo on our Facebook page. And feel free to share your own favorite photos of Acadia on our Facebook page as well. Many of these photos have been featured in our Hiking Acadia National Park guide published by Falcon.

Happy 100th Birthday, Acadia!

Acadia slideshow – 100 photos, 1 a day – click on last dot to see latest

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Dogs in Acadia get national park’s conditional love

When Maria Yoder traveled to some national parks in the West last year, she said she left behind her dog, Rory, because the parks ban pets from the trails.

hiking with dogs in Acadia

Maria Yoder with her dog, Rory, along the Compass Harbor Trail at Acadia National Park

As a dog owner, Yoder, a Bar Harbor resident, said she is pleased that she lives near Acadia National Park. The park is unusual among national parks in keeping dogs and owners united on the hiking trails and offering some great hiking for dogs.

“It’s a great place for people to come with their dogs,” Yoder said recently, while walking with her Shiba Inu on the Compass Harbor Trail in Acadia. “I really like it.”

In fact, of the 59 national parks, Acadia is among only a few – Shenandoah in Virginia is another – that allow dogs and other pets on trails, as long as they are leashed, according to the National Park Service.

Yoder, manager at Bar Harbor’s Made in the USA shop, said she became aware that Acadia is pet friendly when she researched her trip to the West and discovered that pets are banned from the trails in national parks such as Joshua Tree in California and Arches in Utah. Dogs are severely restricted in others such as Zion in Utah, which allows pets on only 1.5-mile trail and Yosemite, only a 2-mile paved trail.

dogs in acadia

People love petting Rory, with good reason.

Yoder keeps Rory on a leash and hikes trails such as Ocean Path, Gorham Mountain, Champlain Mountain and Great Head Trail.

“She is very popular,” she said. “People are always petting her.”

When they plan a trip to Acadia, dog owners are generally happy to discover that they don’t need to leave their pets at home or place them in a kennel if they want to hike. Continue reading

Grand Tour of Acadia Peaks: How many to hike in 1 day?

ask acadia on my mind

Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Another in a series of “Ask Acadia on My Mind!” Q&As

If you have a question about Acadia National Park on your mind, whether you’re a first-time visitor or long-time fan, leave a comment below, or contact us through the About us page. We may not be able to answer every question, or respond right away, but we’ll do our best. See our page linking in one place all the Q&As.

How many peaks is it possible to connect together in one day? We want to hike all of them when we arrive in September. Thank you. – Bonnie Jean

Dear Bonnie Jean,

That’s an ambitious goal to do what we like to call the Grand Tour of Acadia Peaks – hope you’re aiming for it as part of the free year-long 100-mile virtual Acadia Centennial Trek that we’re sponsoring, because you deserve an Acadia Centennial Trek Medal for it!

If you’re in good physical shape, get an early start each day, and have the right equipment, that Acadia National Park hiking goal should be achievable, especially if you make use of the Island Explorer bus that runs through Columbus Day.

Some park visitors and area residents have been fanatic enough to try to hike all Acadia peaks in a 24-hour period. But hopefully you have more than just 1 day to attempt the feat. It’s more fun to hike at a leisurely pace, taking in the sights and sounds along the way, rather than rushing to the top to bag another summit by a certain time.

acadia centennial

If you hike all 24 Acadia peaks with trails on them, that’s an accomplishment worth marking with an Acadia Centennial Trek Medal, even if you haven’t finished all 100 miles of the virtual Acadia Centennial Trek yet.

There are 26 peaks of Acadia on Mount Desert Island, according to a National Park Service list that used to be prominently featured on the park Web site. Two of them don’t have maintained trails to the top of them.

Assuming you don’t want to bushwhack and risk getting lost up McFarland and Youngs Mountains, and assuming you don’t plan on heading over to Schoodic or Isle au Haut for the Acadia peaks there, here are some suggested ways to connect Mount Desert Island peaks, estimated mileage, and Island Explorer routes to get you back to the start, or on to the next destination. Continue reading

Acadia National Park hiking books eye history, aid park

Like a tour guide through time, generations of Acadia National Park hiking books shed light on historic trails, from volumes dating back to the late 1800s, all the way through the Centennial edition of our “Hiking Acadia National Park.”

Hiking Acadia National Park

The 3rd edition of “Hiking Acadia National Park” is being donated to Acadia-area libraries, historical societies and village improvement associations. Autographed copies available for purchase directly from the authors help raise funds for Acadia.

To celebrate that past, we as Acadia Centennial Partners are donating copies of our 3 editions of Acadia National Park hiking guides to more than a dozen Acadia-area libraries, historical societies and village improvement associations. The letters announcing the donation went out last week, and the books can be made available for lending or added to a research collection.

And to help fund the future, we are donating at least 5% of gross proceeds from sales of the latest edition of our books via our online shop to benefit the park, as another aspect of our Centennial partnership. The official Acadia Centennial product pages for “Hiking Acadia National Park” and “Best Easy Day HIkes, Acadia National Park” went live last week as well.

Maybe it’s a bit early to call the 1st edition of “Hiking Acadia National Park” historic, since it came out in 2001.

But when we found a family referring to that edition just a few weeks ago in the Beech Cliff parking lot, we jokingly described it to them as just that.

acadia centennial

Acadia on My Mind also sponsors the free year-long virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek, with this optional finisher’s medal to help raise funds for the park.

We hope that one day, perhaps the 3rd edition of the book may be viewed that way.

Published by FalconGuides in April, it was included in the reading list of the special Acadia collector’s edition of DownEast Magazine, with this recommendation: “An encyclopedic take on Acadia’s trail system, from quiet nature walks to heart-pounding cliff climbs.”

And it would be our choice for the Acadia Bicentennial Time Capsule, if we do indeed have a chance to contribute, as Acadia Centennial Task Force co-chair Jack Russell has suggested. On Dec. 10, the capsule is being sealed at a celebratory event at the Criterion Theatre, to be opened in 2116. Continue reading

President Obama “not done yet” with land conservation

In a speech at Yosemite National Park, President Barack Obama may have given some new hope to supporters of a new national monument in Northern Maine, saying he is “not done yet” in protecting public lands.

president obama

President Obama and family visit Yosemite on Father’s Day. (White House photo)

President Obama did not specifically mention the proposed 87,500-acre monument in Northern Maine in his remarks on Saturday, but he emphasized his record of creating monuments and taking other conservation actions, and suggested there’s more to come. He mentioned President Abraham Lincoln’s creation of Yosemite park and President Theodore Roosevelt’s famed visit to Yosemite with John Muir.

“Since I took office, I have been proud to build on the work of all those giants who came before me to support our national resources and to help all Americans get out in the great outdoors. We protected more than 265 million acres of public lands and waters – that is more than any administration in history.

“We have designed new monuments and historic sites that better reflect the story of all our people. Along with those famous sites like Gettysburg we can also see monuments to Cesar Chavez or Pullman porters in Chicago.”

“We have more work to do to to preserve our lands and our culture and our history. We are not done yet.”

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Camping in Acadia National Park? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

ask acadia on my mind

Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Another in a series of “Ask Acadia on My Mind!” Q&As

If you have a question about Acadia National Park on your mind, whether you’re a first-time visitor or long-time fan, leave a comment below, or contact us through the About us page. We may not be able to answer every question, or respond right away, but we’ll do our best. See our page linking in one place all the Q&As.

1) Appreciate your time to help us out. We will be first timers to Acadia. We’re going the end of July for 4 days and have made tent reservations at Blackwoods Campground. It will be just my wife and I. We are 50 and in pretty good health for hiking/biking. We usually camp in a pop up but are tenting to save on travel and cost and for the convenience of not trailering. A few questions:
– Does it get cold for tent camping in July?
– We like to bike – is biking a good option to get around and see the sites?
– Is swimming an option nearby to Blackwoods?
– Can you recommend a good place to have lobster?
– Given we’re only there 4 nights, what would be the top 3 destinations we should hike or ride to?
Thanks so much for your help. – Steve and Janet

2) Hi, we were just wondering if it is possible to stay on a non-electric RV site in a tent only? Thanks! – Anna

3) We (family of 5) are thinking about visiting Acadia next week before the Island Explorer shuttle is running, but we are traveling in an RV. How difficult is it to maneuver through the park in an RV, or is there a place to park it and ride bikes in order to see the park? Can you bike to Bar Harbor easily? – Jaymi

Dear Steve and Janet, Anna, and Jaymi,

Of your 3 camping in Acadia National Park questions, we have to say Anna’s is the most unusual. Why would you want to tent out on a non-electric RV site? The only reason we could think of: Is it because all the tent-only sites for the dates you’re looking for are booked?

camping in acadia national park

Blackwoods features 214 tent sites and 61 RV sites. (NPS photo)

In any event, Anna, we called Blackwoods Campground, where there are 61 non-electric RV sites, to ask that very question. As long as you set up the tent on the RV pad, you can, indeed, stay on a non-electric RV site, according to the park ranger. Policies may vary by campground, so you might want to check the campground you’re planning on staying at.

The Blackwoods direct line is (207) 288-3274; Seawall, (207) 244-3600; and Schoodic Woods, (207) 288-1300, according to the official campground reservation Web site, www.recreation,gov.

But as you may know, you cannot make tenting or RV reservations by calling the park campgrounds directly. For that, you must go to www.recreation.gov, or call the National Recreation Reservation Service at (877) 444-6777. You can also find out more details about camping in Acadia National Park through the park’s Web site. Continue reading

Meaning of the Trek, in the year of the Acadia Centennial

Roger and Julie Grindle of Hancock joined a virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek at the perfect time, with Roger having just retired, and the both of them wanting to walk more to stay fit. They just completed their 100th mile on Ocean Path last week and have the finisher’s medal to prove it.

acadia centennial

Julie and Roger Grindle of Hancock at the finish line of their 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek. (Photo courtesy of Julie Grindle)

Bob and Helena Herrmann of Bowie, Md., are into their 2nd and 3rd rounds of the Acadia Centennial Trek, logging their miles in their home state. When they see their map icon move along the virtual route, from the top of Cadillac and along the hiking trails and roads of Acadia, it makes them long for the next trip to their favorite park.

Cookie Horner, co-chair of the Acadia Centennial Task Force, and her husband, William, plan a personal real-life Acadia trek of 100 miles, up and over the 26 peaks of Mount Desert Island, and along the park’s carriage roads, to deepen their appreciation of the park even more, although they may not necessarily plot their mileage on the virtual map as the Grindles and Herrmanns have.

acadia-centennial-meet-up-20160601_173133

Some of the attendees at the first-ever Acadia Centennial Trek meet-up at Side Street Cafe in Bar Harbor.

These and other stories, shared on the occasion of the first-ever Acadia Centennial Trek meet-up last week at Side Street Café in Bar Harbor, show the many meanings of the Trek, no matter who’s doing it, where they’re doing it, and how they’re doing it.

The free year-long Trek, sponsored by this blog as an official Acadia Centennial event, and hosted by Racery.com, offers an optional Acadia Centennial finisher’s medal for purchase. Made by Ashworth Awards, the same company that has made the finisher’s medal for the Boston Marathon and the MDI Marathon, the medal helps raise funds for the park.

Nearly 250 people have signed up for the virtual Trek so far, from marathoners in Scotland to runners in last weekend’s Acadia Half Marathon and this weekend’s Ellsworth Public Library’s My Way 5k, from walkers in Maine and Maryland to park rangers and Friends of Acadia volunteers. Even Racery.com CEO Henry Copeland (Trek name @hc) and Bar Harbor naturalist Rich MacDonald (Trek name @MDIbirdnerd) have joined in on the fun. Continue reading

Endangered falcons take the stage at Acadia National Park

Endangered falcons gave birth to 11 chicks this year at Acadia National Park and now are putting on a show for hundreds of visitors to the park.

endangered falcons

Park Ranger Andrew Wolfgang shows visitors the location of the endangered falcons and their nest during peregrine watch in Acadia National Park.

On Saturday alone, about 160 people stopped to catch the action of  the state-listed endangered falcons  at a “peregrine watch” site in the Precipice Trail parking area below a nest high on the east face of Champlain Mountain.

“We got a bird up,” said Park Ranger Andrew Wolfgang, pointing to the cliffs when one of the endangered falcons flew back to the nest after a brief absence. “It’s a really nice look at an adult in this scope right now.”

Wolfgang and Samuel Ruano, a peregrine falcon interpretive guide and raptor intern, supervised the use of two spotting scopes that allow visitors some excellent views of the peregrine falcons. Wolfgang and Ruano also spoke frequently to visitors about the history of the peregrines in the park and the need to temporarily close popular hiking trails to give the nestlings time to mature.

With the scopes, visitors could clearly see a peregrine falcon perched upright on the cliff face outside the nest or even the nestlings themselves.

“Amazing,” said Keith Spencer, a grade 7 English teacher in the public schools of Everett, MA, after he looked through the scope and saw a falcon. Continue reading