Of wonder and wilderness in Acadia National Park

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which gives the strongest form of land protection to nearly 110 million pristine acres across the country.

While Acadia as a national park has different protections, and the busiest days atop Cadillac may make it seem like wilderness lost, there is still no better place and time to reflect on the meaning of wilderness and the landmark law than on a trip to Acadia and Bar Harbor this summer.

Acadia National Park Sand Beach Beehive wilderness

Fog lifts to reveal the wonder of Sand Beach and Beehive

Let the fury of a storm-tossed ocean, a hike along the Wonderland Trail, the call and pecking of a pileated woodpecker, or moments of early-morning solitude put you in your place in nature’s grand scheme of things.

Or attend a “Celebrate the Wild” film festival, kicking off on Sunday, June 22, at 2 p.m., at Bar Harbor’s Reel Pizza Cinerama, with “Forever Wild: Celebrating America’s Wilderness.” Former Acadia National Park superintendent Paul Haertel is the special guest speaker.

Sponsored by the Maine chapter of the Sierra Club, the film festival includes these other showings in Bar Harbor: July 20, “A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet”; August 17, “Into the Arctic II”; and September 21, “Ocean Frontiers: A New Era in Ocean Stewardship.”

Or how about celebrating wilderness this way: “Adopt” the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuges, part of which is near Acadia National Park and a home to puffins.

The Wilderness Society, which helped pass the Wilderness Act half a century ago, highlights the special nature of some of the Maine islands in its 50th anniversary publication, and why Congress should delay no longer in giving them the strongest protection as federally designated wilderness.

Wilderness: Our Enduring American Legacy

The many efforts to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act may perhaps offer some ideas for the Centennial of the National Park Service and Acadia National Park, coming up in 2016.

50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

There’s even a whole toolbox available for groups planning 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act celebrations, developed by the national Wilderness50 team, made up of federal agencies, non-profits, academic institutions and others.

No matter how you do it, celebrate wilderness found in Acadia National Park.

“Wilderness is a necessity….There must be places for human beings to satisfy their souls.”
– John Muir

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