Partners to help celebrate Acadia National Park Centennial

From historians to artists, garden societies to museums, businesses to nonprofit agencies, more than 100 Acadia Centennial Partners have already signed on to mark Acadia National Park’s 100th anniversary in 2016, according to a new Web site launched last month.

Partners are planning events, developing Centennial-themed products for sale, or making tax-deductible donations tied to the anniversary.

Even though the planning process is early, about 1/3 of current Centennial Partners have already described their intentions on, a project of the Acadia Centennial Task Force, made up of representatives from Acadia National Park, the non-profit Friends of Acadia, and other members of the community.

George B. Dorr and Charles W. Eliot and Acadia National Park

George B. Dorr, left, and Charles W. Eliot began the fight to preserve what became Acadia National Park through the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations. They’re pictured here along Jordan Pond. (NPS photo)

Some of the events being planned for the year-long, Maine-wide celebration so far:

    • The Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations – founded in 1901 by George B. Dorr, the “father of Acadia,” Charles W. Eliot and others, to save land that eventually became Acadia – plans to donate its last remaining land holding near the park, a parcel next to Seawall Campground. A public ceremony to mark the donation to the park, possibly combined with a reunion of trustees and descendants of trustees, is in the works.

Something for everyone during Acadia Centennial celebration

President Barack Obama hikes Acadia National Park

The beauty of Acadia National Park has drawn generations of visitors, most notably President Barack Obama and family, who hiked the Cadillac Summit Loop in July 2010 (White House photo)

    • Local historian Jack Russell plans to develop 6 events, including an “Authors of Acadia” reading and reception, and a “PechaKucha” presentation entitled “13.8 Billion Years in 400 Seconds: A Natural History of Acadia,” with 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each, in a concise format developed in Tokyo and now a global phenomenon.
    • The George B. Dorr Museum, on the campus of the College of the Atlantic, plans to present special exhibitions highlighting Dorr’s legacy as a natural historian, conservationist and human ecologist, not only as Acadia’s first park superintendent. The exhibits will be created by COA students as part of their academic experience.
    • A group show of Maine artists whose work has been directly inspired by the park will be hosted by the Maine Arts Commission at the Maine State House in Augusta, from Dec. 5, 2015, through April 8, 2016.
    • The Garden Club of Mount Desert’s biannual “Open Garden Day,” to be held on July 23, 2016, will focus on historic gardens on the island.
Acadia Half Marathon lobster

MDI YMCA’s Acadia Half Marathon will welcome racers in spring 2016 with Centennial history, and maybe a cheerleader in lobster costume, as in the 2014 running of the race

  • Mount Desert Island YMCA will link both its 2016 spring and fall half marathons, the only races with part of their routes within Acadia’s borders, to the Centennial celebration, and will work with the Mount Desert Island Historical Society to create a one-page “Run through History!” orientation to the park for race participants. And it will work with other fellow Centennial Partners to incorporate its childcare and camp programs into the celebration.

Acadia Centennial motto and themes look to past, future

With the Centennial motto of “Celebrate our past; Inspire our future,” and Centennial themes of arts, gardens and landscapes, history, kids and teens, recreation and outdoor activities, and science, there’s sure to be a smorgasbord of events and products offered throughout 2016.

Link here to see an updated list of what Centennial Partners are planning, and here to check on a fully searchable calendar of events, to be put up in the spring of 2015 and added to as events are finalized.

Founded as Sieur de Monts National Monument on July 8, 1916, Acadia became the first national park east of the Mississippi on Feb. 26, 1919, as Lafayette National Park. It was renamed Acadia on January 19, 1929. While Acadia has three “birthdays,” 2016 is when Acadia’s Centennial is being celebrated, the same year of the National Park Service’s Centennial.

Throughout the generations, people have loved the area so much, they have donated land and wealth, and helped build gravity-defying hiking trails and carriage roads that have become such an intrinsic part of Acadia.

Cobblestone Bridge in Acadia National Park

Cobblestone Bridge can be found along the 45 miles of carriage roads built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in Acadia National Park

For example, during the early 1900s, Princeton Professor Rudolph Brunnow built the Precipice Trail, a tough ladder climb up the cliffs of Champlain Mountain, and the Orange & Black Path, named after Princeton’s school colors. And John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donated land and money, to create the 45 miles of carriage roads within the park.

That love of Acadia continues today, with an endowment for trail maintenance, Acadia Trails Forever, funded by $9 million in private donations from the Friends of Acadia, and $4 million in park user fees and federal appropriations, and now with the Acadia Centennial celebration in the works.

How to become an Acadia Centennial Partner

You, too, can apply to be a Centennial Partner, to show your appreciation and be part of history in the making.

The Acadia Centennial Task Force – co-chaired by Cookie Horner and Jack Russell, both on the Friends of Acadia’s Board of Directors – is making it easy for individuals, businesses and organizations to apply, with guidelines and forms on its Web site.

The site also details benefits of being a partner, such as having a live link to your Web site, a calendar where you can list your event, or a product listing and link if you’re developing an approved product. Even if you’re not able to plan an event or develop a product, you can become a partner by making a minimum $250 tax-deductible donation.

The task force is also looking for a select number of “Acadia Centennial Signature Corporations” to be leadership-level sponsors. Although details of benefits are still being finalized, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust has already signed on to be a Signature Sponsor as of last week, according to the Centennial Web site.

We here at Acadia on My Mind plan on applying to be an Acadia Centennial Partner. Stay tuned to find out how we plan to contribute!