Acadia National Park hiking books eye history, aid park

Like a tour guide through time, generations of Acadia National Park hiking books shed light on historic trails, from volumes dating back to the late 1800s, all the way through the Centennial edition of our “Hiking Acadia National Park.”

Hiking Acadia National Park

The 3rd edition of “Hiking Acadia National Park” is being donated to Acadia-area libraries, historical societies and village improvement associations. Autographed copies available for purchase directly from the authors help raise funds for Acadia.

To celebrate that past, we as Acadia Centennial Partners are donating copies of our 3 editions of Acadia National Park hiking guides to more than a dozen Acadia-area libraries, historical societies and village improvement associations. The letters announcing the donation went out last week, and the books can be made available for lending or added to a research collection.

And to help fund the future, we are donating at least 5% of gross proceeds from sales of the latest edition of our books via our online shop to benefit the park, as another aspect of our Centennial partnership. The official Acadia Centennial product pages for “Hiking Acadia National Park” and “Best Easy Day HIkes, Acadia National Park” went live last week as well.

Maybe it’s a bit early to call the 1st edition of “Hiking Acadia National Park” historic, since it came out in 2001.

But when we found a family referring to that edition just a few weeks ago in the Beech Cliff parking lot, we jokingly described it to them as just that.

acadia centennial

Acadia on My Mind also sponsors the free year-long virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek, with this optional finisher’s medal to help raise funds for the park.

We hope that one day, perhaps the 3rd edition of the book may be viewed that way.

Published by FalconGuides in April, it was included in the reading list of the special Acadia collector’s edition of DownEast Magazine, with this recommendation: “An encyclopedic take on Acadia’s trail system, from quiet nature walks to heart-pounding cliff climbs.”

And it would be our choice for the Acadia Bicentennial Time Capsule, if we do indeed have a chance to contribute, as Acadia Centennial Task Force co-chair Jack Russell has suggested. On Dec. 10, the capsule is being sealed at a celebratory event at the Criterion Theatre, to be opened in 2116.

Old hiking books don’t just become outdated, they become historic

Old editions of hiking guides may seem to be worthless with outdated trail descriptions, but what they lack in accuracy, they may more than make up for with historical tidbits and insight.

Best Easy Day Hikes Acadia National Park

Direct purchase of autographed copies of this pocket-sized guide from Acadia on My Mind helps to benefit Acadia National Park

Steve Smith, owner of The Mountain Wanderer bookstore in Lincoln, NH, and co-editor of the Appalachian Mountain Club White Mountain Guide, carries a number of historic hiking guides at his store and owns a number of them personally. “It’s fun to read about long-abandoned trails (and sometimes try to find them) and see earlier descriptions of present-day trails,” he wrote us in an e-mail.

On a recent blog post, about some waterfalls in the White Mountains, Smith referred to a number of guidebooks from the late 1800s. “The old tourist guides often mention features such as waterfalls, ice caves, rock formations, etc., that are largely forgotten today,” he told us.

Whether our Acadia National Park hiking guides will ever be referred to by future bloggers and writers a century or more hence, we’ll never know.

But we’ve certainly referred to historic guides in our research, and in our writing. For example, in the chapter of “Hiking Acadia National Park” for the Acadia Mountain Trail, we mention Benjamin F. DeCosta’s “Rambles in Mount Desert,” first published in 1871.

And in our own rambles, we’ve referred to some of the long-abandoned trails documented in the National Park Service’s publications, “Pathmakers: Cultural Landscape Report for the Historic Hiking Trail System of Mount Desert Island,” and “Acadia Trails Treatment Plan: Cultural Landscape Report for the Historic Hiking Trail System of Acadia National Park.”

Sales of Acadia National Park hiking guides help benefit park

If you’d like to add to your Acadia National Park hiking guide collection, while also helping to support the park, here are some details about each of the latest editions of our Falcon Guides, available for purchase directly from us:

Hiking Acadia National Park

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Falcon Guides; 3rd Edition (April 15, 2016)
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Features: Color photos, detailed maps, 76 hikes on Mount Desert Island, Schoodic Peninsula and Isle au Haut, latest Island Explorer stops

Best Easy Day Hikes, Acadia National Park

  •  Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Falcon Guides; 3rd Edition (April 1, 2015)
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.3 x 7 inches
  • Features: Detailed maps, 21 hikes on Mount Desert Island, latest Island Explorer stops, no photos

Each book is autographed by us and has an official Acadia Centennial licensed product seal on the cover. We can also personally inscribe each book (although an historian friend of ours told us that a personally inscribed volume may have less value historically than one that simply has the authors’ autographs). Free shipping within the US. Sales tax applies to shipments to Massachusetts addresses.

Happy trails to you, wherever they may take you in Acadia. And if you have one of our Acadia National Park hiking books as your guide, you may just be carrying a bit of history with you.

4 thoughts on “Acadia National Park hiking books eye history, aid park

  1. Junior Libby

    A really nice book every hiker should have. Maybe in a future edition they could maybe add a chapter reflecting on the Abandoned trails within the park, trails which lead to site such as the Great Cave, the Bears Den, Anemone Cave, the Hanging Steps and Compass harbor, to name a few. There is a ton of history there which no one seems to have picked up on, at least not in book form. But even without such a chapter, I highly recommend to any serious hiker out there.

    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      Hi Junior, thanks for the comment! The tricky thing about including some of the old or abandoned trails in a hiking book: The park discourages hikers from going on those trails, such as Anemone Cave, either because of the environmental impact, or the potential risks on a trail that is no longer maintained or publicized by the park. There are, of course, historic maps of trails included in some of the National Park Service’s publications, such as “Pathmakers,” but those aren’t as broadly available as mass-market hiking books. Again, appreciate the comment. We were pleased to see “Hiking Acadia National Park” win the 2016 National Outdoor Book Award.

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