Acadia National Park is benefiting from the most trail workers this summer than at any time in the past 80 years at the Maine park.
Largely because of a federal grant, the park has hired 51 people to work on the trails, including 35 federal workers and 16 from the Youth Conservation Corps, according to Acadia Trails Foreman Gary Stellpflug, who did all the hiring.
Stellpflug said it’s the largest crew since the Civilian Conservation Corps established two camps on Mount Desert Island in 1933 as part of the New Deal during the Great Depression.
This year’s crew is almost double the size from 2013, he added.
An $800,000 federal grant helped finance the hiring this year, Stellpflug said. Crew members came from all over the country, he said.
“I’ve got some good people,” said Stellpflug during an interview in a trailer at the park that serves as headquarters for the trails crew. “I’m so happy.”
Much of the money will go toward comprehensive upgrades for the Asticou Trail and Gorge Path.
The Asticou Trail will be nicely graded in the same style as existed 100 years ago when people from Northeast Harbor extensively used the trail. The trail currently is hurt by a lot of erosion. “It’s going to look beautiful,” he said.
The work on the trail will occur from the Map House in the hamlet of Asticou to Jordan Pond.
New stone steps and other work will occur on the steep Gorge Path. The path rises 1.5 miles from the Park Loop Road to the top of the gorge between 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak in the park, and 1,270-foot Dorr Mountain, the third highest peak.
The work on Gorge Path will take place south of the Hemlock Trail.
Fans of Gorge Path will also be pleased that Stellpflug recently personally refurbished a well-known memorial plaque on the path for Lilian Endicott Francklyn. A descendant of William H. Seward, who engineered the purchase of Alaska as secretary of state, Francklyn died in 1928 when she was eight months pregnant.