Category Archives: News

News about Acadia National Park.

If not for Earth Day, imagine a silent spring in Acadia

As millions around the world mark Earth Day, imagine what Acadia National Park would be like without the banning of DDT, the Clean Air and Endangered Species Acts, or any of the other changes since that first massive showing of environmental activism in 1970:

peregrine falcon

Peregrine falcon chicks, like this one being banded on the Precipice of Champlain Mountain, would not be taking flight in Acadia, if not for the banning of DDT and the passage of the Endangered Species Act in the 1970s. (NPS Photo / Erickson Smith)

  • – No peregrine falcons nesting on the Precipice of Champlain
  • – Hazy views atop Cadillac
  • – Declining loon populations
  • – Acidified ponds that can’t support certain aquatic life
  • A silent spring in Acadia, with no birdsong

On this Earth Day and beyond, whether you’re marching for science in Washington on April 22 or for climate change action in Bar Harbor on April 29, or you’re volunteering for the Friends of Acadia’s annual roadside clean-up later this month, just imagine what a silent spring in Acadia would be like.

clean air act

Acadia webcam images show the impact of air pollution on the views. The Clean Air Act has helped improve visibility. (NPS Photo)

And imagine, too, what rising sea levels could mean to Acadia, as climate change worries join the ranks of environmental concerns like pesticides, mercury contamination, acid rain and acid fog, and air pollution.

As our way of marking Earth Day, of science’s contribution to protecting the environment of Acadia for people, plants and wildlife, and of the challenges like climate change still to be faced, we gather here some resources to remind us of how far we have come, and how much further we have to go.

May this listing, although not exhaustive, help spur reflection, respect, and action, in honor of Earth Day and Acadia. Continue reading

Cadillac ecology focus of protection by alpine group, others

Cadillac is tough as granite, yet the alpine zone of Acadia National Park’s tallest mountain is fragile as eggshells.

cadillac south ridge trail

BEFORE – Erosion on a section of the Cadillac South Ridge Trail (NPS photo)

With the approximately 3 million visitors a year to the park, and Acadia’s highest peak a must-see stop, it’s a constant battle to protect the bald summit and ridge, and the special Cadillac ecology.

One recent victory in the conservation battle: Fixing a couple of sections of the popular Cadillac South Ridge Trail, which had become eroded and could turn into a muddy mess, tempting hikers to trample rare alpine plants.

cadillac south ridge trail

AFTER – Crushed rock tread helps protect fragile Cadillac ecology. (NPS photo)

“We created about 100 feet of rock-lined causeway in two distinct locations that clearly defined the trail, eliminating the standing water and mud that was there,” according to a December 2016 Acadia National Park report, by Charlie Jacobi, natural resource specialist; Rebecca Flesh, recreation technician; and Gary Stellpflug, trails foreman. “Deer hair sedge…and mountain sandwort…, two species of growing concern in the park, are now better protected in the vicinity of the project.”

A $3,200 grant from the Waterman Fund, a nonprofit that focuses on conserving the alpine areas of northeastern North America, helped protect the Cadillac ecology, along with matching funds from the National Park Service and Friends of Acadia.

cadillac south ridge trail

Busting rocks on Cadillac South Ridge to create new trail tread. (NPS photo)

Similar to a 2014 project on Sargent Mountain, also supported by the Waterman Fund, the July 2016 work to protect the Cadillac ecology involved park staff, and teens and young adults participating in Friends of Acadia supported programs. Some crushed rocks with sledgehammers, and others moved rocks from a big cairn at the junction with the Cadillac West Face Trail. Signs and workers would educate hikers about the project, and hiker behavior before and after the trail rehabilitation was studied. Continue reading

Message to the future in Acadia time capsule, for year 2116

Centennial logo for Acadia National Park

The official Acadia Centennial logo

If you celebrated the Acadia Centennial, you won’t be there for the opening of the Acadia Bicentennial Time Capsule in the year 2116. But you can hand down the generations the story of how you marked the 100th, and how there may be evidence of it in a special steel box in the Bar Harbor Bank & Trust lobby.

If you participated in an Acadia Centennial event, like Take Pride in Acadia Day, Park Science Day, or the Acadia Centennial Trek, your descendants may find a digital photo from the event, with you in it, in that specially manufactured Acadia time capsule.

acadia national park hiking

Digital photo of Acadia Centennial Trek participants James Linnane, Shelley Dawson, Maureen Fournier, Acadia on My Mind and Kristy Sharp on the sand bar to Bar Island, is included in the Acadia time capsule. (Photo courtesy of Kristy Sharp)

(Go to bottom of story to see a complete list of items by name in the Acadia Bicentennial Time Capsule.)

Or if you bought an official Centennial product, like the 2016 Acadia calendar by Bob Thayer, the Anatomy of a Bates Cairn T-shirt by Moira O’Neill and Judy Hazen Connery, or the Acadia Centennial Trek Medal, your descendants may find that very same item in the time capsule.

Watch the Facebook livestream of the installation of the time capsule today, Feb. 3, beginning at 1:30 p.m., featuring remarks by Bar Harbor Bankshares president and CEO Curtis C. Simard; Acadia superintendent Kevin Schneider; Friends of Acadia president David MacDonald; Acadia Bicentennial Time Capsule Working Group co-chair Charles Stanhope; and Acadia Centennial Task Force co-chair Jack Russell. The video of the half-hour event can be viewed after the fact as well at the Acadia National Park Centennial 2016 Facebook page.

While we won’t be there to bear witness at the installation of the Acadia time capsule today, or at its unsealing in 2116, we’re proud – and tickled pink – to have a digital copy of the 3rd edition of our “Hiking Acadia National Park” book, along with digital photos of the Acadia Centennial Trek, included in that stainless steel box.

acadia centennial

A digital photo of the Acadia Centennial Trek Medal, still available for sale to help raise funds for the park, is included in the Acadia time capsule.

We plan to bring family members and friends to visit the Acadia time capsule in the bank lobby, bearing a copy of our hiking book and wearing an Acadia Centennial Trek Medal, to take a photo for posterity, perhaps once a year, for as long as possible. And may that be a message to the future, about how our generation appreciated Acadia, and about how we hope the park is as loved 100 years from now.

To see whether any of the Centennial events you attended or products you purchased are included in the Acadia time capsule, check out the list of items by name, based on information provided by the Acadia Centennial Task Force: Continue reading

Trump hiring freeze hits Acadia; climate change exhibit OK – for now

UPDATE: US Office of Personnel Management provides guidance late on 1/31/2017 on hiring freeze, saying that seasonal employees, such as at Acadia, are exempt, but other positions are not.

Amid reports of the Trump administration clamping down on federal climate change efforts and the National Park Service Twitter account, Acadia National Park says its climate change exhibit and social media haven’t been affected – yet.

acadia climate change

Unveiled during Park Science Day as part of the Acadia Centennial festivities in 2016, this display is part of an exhibit at the Sieur de Monts Nature Center, showing the potential impact of climate change on the park.

“Nothing’s changed as of now,” said John T. Kelly, management assistant for Acadia, in an interview late last week, adding that it’s still early. “We’re under a new administration. We’re working for a new boss.” The Acadia climate change exhibit officially opened at the Sieur de Monts Nature Center as part of Centennial festivities last year, with the ribbon cutting ceremony on Park Science Day on June 25.

But the park can’t fill vacant positions, such as the environmental compliance officer and visual information specialist jobs that recently came open, and it’s unclear whether the up to 150 seasonal positions can be filled during a hiring freeze announced by President Donald J. Trump, according to Kelly.

“The word on seasonal employees has not been given yet,” said Kelly, although the park is continuing the process of identifying qualified candidates. “We’re not sure if some, all or none would be allowed.”

acadia climate change

Search “global warming” on the White House Web site under the Trump administration, and this is what you get. The phrase “climate change,” the preferred term, turns up an irrelevant post about Mamie Eisenhower. (Trump White House image)

In the first week of the new administration, NPS’s Twitter account was temporarily shut down after retweeting a couple of items viewed as unfavorable – side-by-side photos of the crowd during President Trump’s inauguration and President Obama’s, and an article about the taking down of climate change information on the White House Web site. And the Environmental Protection Agency was told not to post any social media or grant any new contracts or awards, according to reports in the Washington Post and elsewhere.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters last Tuesday that “I don’t think it’s any surprise that when there’s an administration turnover that we’re going to review the policies.”

But resistance to the Trump administration is building, with supporters of Acadia and other national parks and environmentalists setting up alternative social media sites to get out climate change facts, downloading or forwarding climate change reports, and planning a March for Science in March, and a People’s Climate March on April 29, both to be held in Washington, DC.

acadia climate change

“RESIST” carved in Sand Beach at low tide has gone viral on the Alt Acadia National Park and Alt National Park Service Facebook pages. (Photos by Gary Allen)

Perhaps the piece de resistance is by Mount Desert Island Marathon director Gary Allen, who for his 60th birthday got together with some friends and carved “RESIST” in Sand Beach at low tide. The photos have gone viral on the Alt Acadia National Park Facebook page, and stories have been written about them on the Web sites for CNN and Boston Magazine, among other places.

The Alt Acadia National Park Facebook page isn’t affiliated with the park, but with an independent sister Facebook page, Alt National Park Service, established by a growing coalition of National Park Service employees from around the country, according to info on the Facebook pages. “We are concerned citizens who were looking for a way to assist by helping to share the type of climate change and other information that the Trump administration has been trying to suppress. We are not affiliated with the park, and only affiliated with the AltNPS as an independent sister site,” the administrator for the Alt Acadia National Park Facebook page told us in a message.

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In a final act, Obama calls for diversity in Acadia, other parks

On the eve of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, in one of his last official acts, President Barack Obama directed the Department of the Interior and other top agencies to hire a more diverse workforce, and attract broader segments of the US population to federal public lands.

President Barack Obama hikes Acadia National Park

President Barack Obama, the first sitting president to visit Acadia National Park, hiked Cadillac with his family in July 2010 (White House photo)

Obama issued the edict in the form of a Presidential Memorandum, which is as binding as an Executive Order, according to legal specialists. The memo aims for greater diversity in Acadia and other national parks, national forests and other public lands and waters.

“That’s a big deal,” said Audrey Peterman, a member of the Next 100 Coalition of environmental and civil rights groups that petitioned Obama in 2016, the year of the National Park Service Centennial, to call for a more inclusive vision of stewardship of America’s public lands for the next 100 years. “We’re not going to be turned back.”

The memo by Obama, the first sitting president to visit Acadia, also comes after years of reports showing the National Park Service lagging in efforts to diversify its workforce, and less interest among some minority populations in visiting federal public lands, compared with white Americans or even foreign visitors.

audrey peterman

Audrey Peterman was so moved by the beauty of Cadillac when she first visited with her husband Frank in 1995, she became an advocate of connecting public lands to all Americans, no matter their race, creed or religion. (Photo courtesy of Audrey Peterman)

A 2011 report, “The National Park Service Comprehensive Survey of the American Public,” found African Americans the most “under-represented” visitor group, with Hispanic Americans not too far behind. The “2016 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government®”, released last month, ranks the National Park Service 284 out of 304 agencies when it comes to support for diversity, a slight improvement over the previous annual survey sponsored by the non-profit, non-partisan Partnership for Public Service.

For Peterman, an American of African and Jamaican descent, her life’s work of pushing for diversity in Acadia and other public lands came to her on the top of Cadillac Mountain, on her first visit more than 20 years ago.
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Acadia year in review, a look ahead: Top news, 2017 ideas

Without a doubt, the top news for Acadia National Park in 2016 was the Acadia Centennial, not only as celebration and time to reflect on past and future, but also as a big draw, helping to push visitation over 3.2 million, the highest since 1990.

Centennial logo for Acadia National Park

The official Acadia Centennial logo

This Acadia year in review rounds up some of the top Centennial-related news, as well as the top Acadia on My Mind blog posts and other achievements of 2016. We also describe some of our plans and Acadia-themed New Year’s resolutions for 2017, as we continue to blog about our favorite national park.

If you have a 2016 Acadia Centennial memory or 2017 Acadia-themed New Year’s resolution to share as part of our Acadia year in review, feel free to post it in a comment below. Continue reading

It’s a good thing: Martha Stewart to give $1M for Acadia

Like any other fan of Acadia during the Centennial year, Martha Stewart hiked the trails, climbing the Beehive and exploring Great Head, all just a short way from her Seal Harbor home.

martha stewart

During Memorial Day weekend of the Acadia Centennial year, Martha Stewart hiked the Beehive with friends and blogged about it. (Photo courtesy of www.themarthablog.com)

Now, as the Centennial year nears an end, to show her appreciation for the park and invite others to show theirs, she has made a $1 million challenge grant to benefit Acadia.

“Acadia National Park is very special to me and my family and we are happy to support Friends of Acadia in this Centennial year. With this special challenge grant, we hope to encourage and inspire others to ‘give back’ to Acadia – a truly magical place,” said Martha Stewart in a statement, via the non-profit Friends group.

As of early this week, Friends of Acadia (FOA) is within $100,000 of raising the matching $1 million to complete the challenge from the Martha and Alexis Stewart Foundation, and within $200,000 of meeting the $25 million goal for the Second Century Campaign, to help secure Acadia National Park’s next 100 years.

The target fundraising deadline: Dec. 31, the end of the Acadia Centennial year. That means any donation you make between now and 11:59 PM EST on New Year’s Eve may be matched by Stewart, up to the remaining $100,000 for the full $1 million, and may help put FOA over the top for the $25 million campaign.

martha stewart

Martha Stewart discovered this old millstone on Great Head, above Sand Beach, during a 2016 Thanksgiving weekend hike. (Photo courtesy of www.instagram.com/marthastewart48)

As Martha Stewart and others who have come to know Acadia have experienced, the park gives so much, with its historic trails and carriage roads, dramatic pink granite cliffs and breathtaking ocean and mountain views. Stewart shares her hikes in the park, and her trips to her Seal Harbor home, in The Martha Blog, subtitled “up close & personal,” and on her Instagram account.

“When she’s enjoying Acadia, she’s not Martha Stewart Omnimedia guru,” said Lisa Horsch Clark, FOA’s director of development and donor relations, who’s worked with the lifestyle and media entrepreneur over the years on efforts like FOA’s annual benefit auction.

“She’s a park lover like us,” said Clark. Continue reading

Photographer’s ‘Enchanted Forest’ to grace Acadia park pass

acadia annual pass

“Enchanted Forest,” by John Kaznecki, will grace the 2017 Acadia park pass. One of more than 200 entries, this winning photo is of Hadlock Brook, downstream from Hemlock Bridge. (Photo by John Kaznecki)

It was foggy, drizzly and raw in early December, not the best weather for being outside. But to John Kaznecki, it turned out to be a near-perfect day for a photo of Acadia National Park.

A self-taught photographer, Kaznecki said he attempts to capture with his lens what others might miss in Acadia. And now that rainy-day photo will be on the 2017 Acadia park pass.

On his hike along a carriage road, Kaznecki came upon Hadlock Brook just downstream from the archway of the Hemlock Bridge. The waters were running through the arch and the fog helped create a sacred scene for a photo of Acadia National Park he named “Enchanted Forest,” he said.

“Everything seemed just right,” he said.

john kaznecki

John Kaznecki at Otter Cove in Acadia National Park. (Photo courtesy of John Kaznecki)

The photo he snapped won the 2017 Acadia park pass contest and will be featured on next year’s visitor’s pass to be purchased by thousands of visitors from all over the country. The park received more than 200 entries from 20 states for the Acadia park pass contest.

Like most good photos, his shot evokes a certain emotion with the rushing water and mystical fog. He said this photo of Acadia National Park was meant to be taken and makes people feel as if something may be on the other side of the bridge.

“You can see through the archway,” he said.  “When you look at the photo, you wonder what is through the archway. What is farther out there?” Continue reading

Acadia Centennial helps draw record 3.2 million park visitors

The Acadia Centennial has helped attract more than 3.2 million visitors so far to the national park this year, capped by record attendance for October.

acadia national park hiking

Views like these along Jordan Pond in October helped draw record crowds to Acadia this year.

An eye-popping 412,416 people visited during October, up 19.8 percent from last year’s monthly record of 344,362, according to statistics from the National Park Service.

Through October, visitors during the Acadia Centennial totaled 3.234 million, up 17.7 percent from last year. Depending on the weather, visitation could total 3.3 million for this year, said John T. Kelly, management assistant for Acadia.

Kelly said visitation this year reached 3 million for the first time since at least 1990, when the park changed the way it counts visitors. The previous record since 1990 was 2.845 million in 1995, according to the federal statistics.

Some good aspects of the crowds are that people came to enjoy the park and the park therefore collected more revenues from entrance fees and local businesses saw a boost, but the downsides include traffic congestion during peak periods.

crowds in acadia

Crowds in Acadia can make for an unpleasant experience as seen here on the Park Loop Road and Ocean Path. (NPS photo)

Visitation during the summer of the Acadia Centennial produced some staggering numbers.  In September, visitation was 570,434, up 19 percent from the same month last year; August, 735,945, up 10 percent; July, 696,854, up 15 percent; and June, 445,410 up 24 percent.

Visitors to the Schoodic Peninsula, the only section of the park on the mainland, reached 276,233 through October, up 31 percent from 210,549 during the same 10 months last year. More people went to Schoodic because of the new Schoodic Woods Campground and more than 8 miles of new bike paths.
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‘Hiking Acadia’ wins National Outdoor Book Award

Joining the ranks of such classic books as the “AMC White Mountain Guide” and “Walden,” the 3rd edition of “Hiking Acadia National Park” has just won the National Outdoor Book Award, considered the “outdoor world’s largest and most prestigious book award program.”

HIking Acadia National Park

The 3rd edition of our ‘Hiking Acadia National Park’ is available on Amazon.com, as well as directly from us.

In describing the guidebook to hiking Acadia, “a place that inspires and regenerates the soul,” the awards announcement states, “It’s all there in one compact package with thoughtful design, clear maps, and straightforward trail descriptions.”

The book, published by Falcon and co-authored by us, has also been submitted for consideration for the Acadia Bicentennial Time Capsule. The time capsule dedication, on Dec. 10, is an official Acadia Centennial event.

The awards program, in its 20th year, is sponsored by the non-profit National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, and Idaho State University.

hiking acadia

‘Hiking Acadia National Park’ won in the outdoor adventure guidebook category of the National Outdoor Book Awards.

The National Outdoor Book Awards recognizes books in such categories as outdoor adventure guidebooks (the category that “Hiking Acadia” won for 2016);  classic (the category that a republication of “Walden” won for 2004); and works of significance (the category that the “AMC White Mountain Guide” won for 2003).

The 2016 awards, announced Nov. 17, were judged by an independent panel of educators, academics, book reviewers, authors, editors and outdoors columnists from around the country, including the following from New England:

  • Tom Mullin, associate professor of parks and forest resources at Unity College in Unity, ME
  • Jeff Cramer, curator of collections at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods in Lincoln, MA
  • Virginia Barlow, consulting forester and co-founder of Northern Woodlands Magazine, of Corinth, VT

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Car reservation system among ideas to ease Acadia traffic

The National Park Service is floating several proposals to ease Acadia traffic congestion and improve safety during peak visitation, including a reservation system for cars to drive up Cadillac or to park at Jordan Pond House.

acadia traffic

Would a vehicle registration system for driving up Cadillac help ease congestion like this? (NPS photo)

Other key preliminary ideas include eliminating parking in the right hand lane on the one-way section of the Park Loop Road to improve Acadia traffic flow and allowing cars to enter Ocean Drive past the entrance station until certain thresholds for parking and road volumes are reached.

Under the preliminary idea for freeing up parking and ensuring free traffic flow on Ocean Drive, additional vehicles would be cleared to drive past the entrance station as capacity permits, with drivers getting information in various ways and getting the option to wait or leave via Schooner Head Road or sooner at Sieur de Monts.

The proposals are just “conversation starters” by the park service, as part of an effort to release a final transportation plan for the park in the fall of 2018. The possibilities are being aired after a summer of strong attendance during the Centennial year caused closure sometimes of the Cadillac Summit Road and full lots at Jordan Pond during busy times.

Already through September, 2.82 million people visited the park, slightly more than all of last year, which set a 20-year-high, according to park statistics. Visitation at Acadia is likely to top 3 million this year, after October numbers are tallied.

The early proposals were spelled out for the first time in a 12-page newsletter of “preliminary concepts” released this month and will be aired during two public meetings this week, Nov. 2 and Nov. 3.

acadia traffic

You can comment on alternative proposals to manage Acadia traffic as spelled out in this 12-page newsletter, at public hearings on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3, or online through Nov. 30. (NPS image)

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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. (Photo by Mark Picard all rights reserved)

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