Tag Archives: president-barack-obama

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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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

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

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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Q&A with Lucas St. Clair on Maine Woods monument

Lucas St. Clair is the president of Elliotsville Plantation, a private nonprofit organization that owns 87,500 acres in Northern Maine just east of Baxter State Park. Elliotsville is seeking to donate the land to the federal government for creation of a Maine Woods National Monument. St. Clair is the son of Roxanne Quimby, the wealthy philanthropist who purchased the land and created Elliotsville Plantation. St. Clair discussed with Acadia on My Mind the bid for a national monument, how Acadia National Park inspired the proposal, as well as the foundation’s plans to donate more than 60 acres on Mount Desert Island to Acadia this year. St. Clair is among those invited to speak during  a U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources hearing at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1, at the East Millinocket Town Office, according to a memo by the committee. The committee is chaired by U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, a Utah Republican. [Livestream hearing]

What makes the land special that it qualifies for national monument status?

maine woods

Lucas St. Clair, president of Elliotsville Plantation, was born in Dover-Foxcroft and grew up in a hand-built log cabin. (Photo courtesy of Lucas St. Clair)

Lucas St. Clair: There’s many, many things. The ecosystem has lots of flora and fauna that only live in this part of Maine. It is a unique part of the national landscape. It is a Northern Hardwood Forest and is not well represented in the National Park System. This landscape influenced the birth of America’s conservation movement through Henry David Thoreau and Theodore Roosevelt. The understanding of plate tectonics from a geologic standpoint was proven on this landscape by a USGS geologist in the 1950s. It has three incredible watersheds – the east branch of the Penobscot River, Seboeis Stream and the Wassataquoik Stream. And incredible views of Mount Katahdin. It acts as a climate refuge and it is also a very important piece of landscape for the Wabanaki people.

What are the main reasons you want to create a national monument?

St. Clair: To protect a resource that offers all of the things I just described and beyond that, to bring economic benefits to the Katahdin region, a region that needs economic revitalization and a diversified economy. National parks have been proven to do that all across the country.

Are we at a crucial time in the process with President Obama leaving office at the end of the year?

St. Clair: It’s the centennial of the National Park Service and these communities are not getting any better. From an economic standpoint, we are at a very crucial time. We are at a crucial time to revitalize the economy of the Katahdin region. Continue reading

Year in review: Top 5 Acadia stories, top 5 blog posts in 2015

UPDATE 2/14/2016: Revised 2015 park statistics show 2.8 million visitors to Acadia, most since 1995. Change primarily a result of more accurate count of Schoodic visitors. Link to final numbers here.

UPDATED 1/6/16: December visitors to Acadia total 13,880, pushing total in 2015 to 2.756 million, up 7.5% from 2014, most since 2.760 million in 1997. See updated story and link below to NPS statistics.

Here are the top 5 Acadia news stories for 2015, in Acadia on My Mind’s opinion:

Schoodic woods

Campers, hikers and bicyclists can find out more information about Schoodic Woods at this new visitor center.

  • Schoodic Woods opens – In the biggest addition to Acadia National Park in years, Schoodic Woods opened in September, with 94 RV and tent sites in the campground, and 8.3 miles of bike paths and 4.7 miles of hiking trails across more than 1,400 acres. The land had originally been proposed for a resort with hotel, golf course, sports center and luxury villas, but a change in ownership in 2011 led to a conservation easement and the development of Schoodic Woods, next to the existing Schoodic section of Acadia. The plan is to ultimately have the park-run Schoodic Woods become park property. The campground is open seasonally, but the trails are open year-round.

    Kevin Schneider was named the new superintendent of Acadia National Park.

    Kevin Schneider, deputy superintendent of Grand Teton National Park, is scheduled to start work as the new superintendent of Acadia National Park in January. Schneider replaces Sheridan Steele who retired in late October. (NPS Photo)

  • Record-breaking October, most visitors since 1997 – Acadia had more than 2.74 million visitors through November, up 7.6% over the same time last year. It’s the first time since 1997 that visitation broke 2.7 million. October saw 335,000 visitors, up 6.7% over that same month a year ago. A combination of warmer than usual weather, increased cruise ship traffic, national publicity from 2014, and a stronger economy may have all contributed to the greater numbers, according to Charlie Jacobi, natural resource specialist for Acadia National Park. December drew 13,880 people to the park, bringing the total for 2015 to 2.756 million, up 7.5 percent over 2014. The park’s fare-free Island Explorer bus also broke records, with more than 533,000 passengers tallied, up 6 percent from last year.
  • Changing of the guard – Sheridan Steele retires as superintendent after 12 years with Acadia. Among the accomplishments he points to: Development of the Schoodic Education and Research Center at the old Naval base on Schoodic Peninsula, and of Schoodic Woods. The new superintendent, Kevin Schneider, begins on the job in late January.
  • Long-term transportation planning begins – With crowds leading to the shutdown of the Cadillac parking lot at peak times and other traffic issues, the park launched a long-term transportation planning process. Among the ideas being explored: Occasional car-free Saturday mornings, and more frequent Bar Harbor to Winter Harbor ferry service and Island Explorer buses to attract visitors to Schoodic.
  • President Obama’s July 2010 trip to Acadia used to push climate change action – Not once, but twice, the White House included a photo of President Obama and family hiking Cadillac in 2010 as part of calls to action on climate change. This summer, the photo was included in a climate action video. And a few weeks ago, the same photo was used in social media to illustrate President Obama’s comments during the UN Climate Change conference.

    President Barack Obama hikes Acadia National Park

    This July 2010 photo of President Barack Obama and family on top of Cadillac made a couple of appearances in 2015 climate change action media put out by the White House. (White House photo)

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Looking for romantic things to do? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park helped prove the Ice Age

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 new page linking in one place all the Q&As.

I am coming up to Acadia. I figured you probably know a thing or two. So my girlfriend and I will be celebrating our year and a half anniversary on the trip (not really the reason for going, just kind of a coincidence), and I want to do something special or romantic. Of course the obvious answer for the most romantic thing would probably be to watch the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, but I was wondering if perhaps you know of any other cool spots in the park we should check out. We are beyond ourselves with excitement, especially to see the fall foliage. We will be up for three days, arriving the morning of Thursday, Oct. 15 and leaving on Sunday, Oct. 18. – Aaron from Cleveland

Dear Aaron,

Congratulations on your 1-1/2 year anniversary! You and your girlfriend have timed your visit well for fall foliage in Acadia National Park, especially since the colors haven’t yet peaked according to last week’s official state of Maine leaf-peeping report.

sunrise on cadillac mountain

Sunrise on Cadillac Mountain (NPS photo)

There is no shortage of romantic things to do in Acadia and surrounding communities. You could hike or bike the miles of scenic trails and carriage roads; watch the sun rise or set; have popovers and tea or a lobster dinner; see a shooting star; or walk across at low tide to Bar Island.

Making it even more romantic this time of year: It’s less crowded after Columbus Day, and the trees are ablaze in autumn’s colors. No wonder many couples consider Acadia a perfect place to get married, go on their honeymoon, take photos for an engagement announcement – or celebrate their anniversary, like you and your girlfriend!

Here are some suggestions for romantic things to do in Acadia National Park: Continue reading

Where to stay, eat in fall in Acadia? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park helped prove the Ice Age

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 new page linking in one place all the Q&As.

1) Love your Facebook page. We are going up to Acadia/Bar Harbor for the first time at the end of September, could you recommend any restaurants for us to try 🙂 Thanks for any help. – Nancy from Tyngsboro, MA

2) Hello. I will be visiting for the 1st time in October to run the MDI Half Marathon and am looking for some help with locale for lodging. I would like to use my car as little as possible but also be within walking distance and central to the race & Acadia. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also, I am considering bringing my dog. Thank you. – Jessica, from Southern NJ

Dear Nancy and Jessica,

MDI Half Marathon lobster claw finisher's medal

The reward for running 13.1 miles. (Photo courtesy of MDI Half Marathon)

You’re both picking a good time of year to visit Acadia National Park for the first time. Fall in Acadia can be less crowded and the weather can still be spectacular, even if peak fall foliage may not fall exactly when you’ll be be there.

With summer already half over, it’ll be fall in Acadia before you know it.

While we’re neither restaurant critics nor fast runners, we have eaten out enough in Bar Harbor and surrounding communities, and jogged the trails or read up enough on some of Acadia area races and restaurants to have some opinions. Thanks for asking! Continue reading

Of diversity, Acadia and the National Park Service

When President Barack Obama hiked Cadillac Mountain with his family in 2010, he made news not only because he was the first sitting president to visit Acadia National Park, but also because it’s uncommon to see African Americans and other minorities in this country’s national parks.

President Barack Obama hikes Acadia National Park

President Barack Obama and family hiked Cadillac Mountain in July 2010 (White House photo)

When Dr. Amanda McCoy, 29, and Dr. Kristin Alves, 28, both orthopedic residents at Harvard, took a trip to Acadia for the first time last month, they caught the sunrise over Cadillac and hiked the Beehive, Gorham, South Bubble and the Ladder Trail, but they also noticed the lack of diversity in other visitors to the park.

acadia national park

Dr. Amanda McCoy, left, and Dr. Kristin Alves, on their way to South Bubble. McCoy, an African American who grew up outside Pittsburgh, and Alves, a Scottish American who hails from North Carolina, both noticed the lack of diversity while hiking in Acadia.

When Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe columnist and co-author of a new book,
“Project Puffin”
, and his wife honeymooned in Acadia more than 30 years ago, and went there on 2 other vacations, they enjoyed the challenging hikes and bird watching, but also lamented not seeing other African Americans on the trails.

“The thing my wife and I wish we would see more of” is African-American families “truly hiking, truly backpacking. That part is really, really white,” said Jackson, who’s also hit the trails in Yosemite, Death Valley, Great Smoky Mountains and other national parks, and written about them.

The lack of diversity in Acadia and elsewhere in the national park system, both in visitors and employees, has been a persistent issue, prompting studies to understand why, and initiatives to bring more people of color into the 59 national parks and nearly 350 other national park system units, from seashores to historic sites.

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 “2014 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government®” survey ranks the National Park Service 261st out of 314 agencies when it comes to support for diversity.

Derrick Jackson

Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson on the hiking trail in New Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Derrick Z. Jackson)

With the Centennial year coming up in 2016 for both Acadia and the National Park Service, and America’s population and workforce more diverse than ever, those aren’t exactly welcome statistics. Efforts to address the glaring disparity have stepped up.

This weekend, coinciding with National Trails Day(R), marks the 3rd annual African American National Parks Event, to encourage African Americans and other minorities to visit a national park unit, take a photo and post it on Facebook or other social media. Last month, the Acadia National Parks Community Facebook page posted a series of articles about the need to diversify both national park visitors and employees. Continue reading

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to speak at Acadia National Park

UPDATE: Emily Beyer, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of the Interior, confirmed that Sally Jewell will be making her first visit to Acadia National Park as secretary. In an e-mail, Beyer said to stay tuned for further details on the secretary’s upcoming visit to the park.

Here is original story:

US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis and David Rockefeller, Jr. are all scheduled to speak on Aug. 15 during a special event at the Schoodic Education and Research Center at Acadia National Park.

This is apparently the first time that Jewell will be visiting Acadia as Secretary of the Interior. She previously visited the park in October 2012 in her former role as a member of the board of trustees for the National Parks Conservation Association. A message has been left with the Department of the Interior’s press office to find out more about Jewell’s visit.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell celebrating National Park Week

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell celebrated National Park Week in 2013 with a student studying nature. Department of the Interior photo.

According to a special message from the president of the Schoodic Institute, officials at the event will be celebrating Acadia’s recent No. 1 ratings in a couple of separate polls by two giant media outlets.

“It is a testimonial to the success of superintendent Sheridan Steele, the National Park Service, and everyone who contributes to making the Acadia region such a great place to visit,” said Schoodic Institute President Mark Berry in the institute’s August newsletter. Continue reading

Special ways to celebrate July 4 in Acadia National Park

Rather than fight the crowds in Bar Harbor for the fireworks, why not try watching from atop Cadillac? How about having a cookout at one of the 6 picnic areas in Acadia National Park? Or, for a patriotic tour, why not retrace the historic visit by President Barack Obama and his family in July 2010?

President Barack Obama hikes Acadia National Park

President Barack Obama and family hiked the Cadillac Summit Loop on their July 2010 visit to Acadia National Park (White House photo)

There may be no better way to celebrate Independence Day than at one of America’s best ideas, the National Parks. For new and repeat visitors to Acadia, there are plenty of tried-and-true or off-the-beaten-path methods to mark the founding of our country.

Among the July 4 weekend activities, from the Acadia National Park ranger schedule: Take a cruise to Baker Island or Islesford, walk along Cadillac Summit Loop, learn about park founder George B. Dorr at the “Missing Mansion” tour, or introduce the youngsters in your lives to the wonders of nature through a tidepool visit. Continue reading