Without a doubt, the top news for Acadia National Park in 2016 was the Acadia Centennial, not only as celebration and time to reflect on past and future, but also as a big draw, helping to push visitation over 3.2 million, the highest since 1990.
This Acadia year in review rounds up some of the top Centennial-related news, as well as the top Acadia on My Mind blog posts and other achievements of 2016. We also describe some of our plans and Acadia-themed New Year’s resolutions for 2017, as we continue to blog about our favorite national park.
If you have a 2016 Acadia Centennial memory or 2017 Acadia-themed New Year’s resolution to share as part of our Acadia year in review, feel free to post it in a comment below.
Centennial a time of celebrating, fundraising, planning for crowds
- Celebrating – More than 400 businesses, organizations and individuals joined as Acadia Centennial Partners to plan events. Led by the Acadia Centennial Task Force, made up of members of Friends of Acadia (FOA) and park officials, the year-long celebration included dozens of events across the region, ranging from a signature “Gift of Acadia” celebration at the Jordan Pond House, to book readings and film screenings, art and museum exhibits, science and history lectures, music and dance performances, Acadia Day at Fenway Park
and the launch of the first biography of park founder George B. Dorr, by historian Ronald H. Epp. We’ve been glad to be a small part of the historic celebration, with our Acadia Centennial projects including a virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek, a lecture in Orono, creation of an Acadia National Park hiking page on Facebook, donation of our hiking books to area libraries and historical societies, and a partnership with runmdi.org to host the first-ever virtual Mount Desert Island Marathon and Half.
- Fundraising – An ambitious $25 million Second Century Campaign, launched by FOA on July 8 on the actual 100th anniversary of Acadia’s founding as Sieur de Monts National Monument, was well on its way to being met as the end of the Centennial year neared. A $1 million challenge grant from Martha Stewart and her daughter, Alexis, was within $100,000 of being matched early last week, which would have also put FOA over the $25 million goal to secure Acadia’s 2nd 100 years. We were glad to be a small part of raising funds for Acadia, with at least 5% of gross proceeds from the sale of Acadia Centennial products, and additional contributions related to the Acadia Centennial Trek and the virtual MDI Marathon and Half, going to benefit Acadia. We donated a total of $450, half to the Second Century Campaign just minutes before 2016 ended, to help FOA meet Martha Stewart’s $1 million challenge, and half to the non-profit’s Annual Fund. The donation includes an Acadia Centennial Trek Challenge, where we tallied up participants’
activity – 924.8 miles – and tracked the sale of Acadia Centennial Medals between Nov. 13 and Dec. 31, for extra donations. We also included additional contributions when a couple of virtual MDI Marathon and Half Marathon participants opted out of a finisher’s medal, and when our alter ego, AOMM2, only completed 2 of 3 rounds of the 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek by Dec. 31. Here’s our first 2017 Acadia-themed New Year’s resolution: We plan on continuing to donate at least 5% of gross proceeds from the sale of products on our online Acadia on My Mind Shop to benefit the park, with new products in the works.
- Planning for crowds – During the Centennial year, record-setting visitation in October and the highest annual numbers since 1990 drive home the need for the park’s on-going transportation planning, to deal with the crowds. The Cadillac Summit Road was closed 12 times last year, according to John T. Kelly, management assistant for Acadia. A multi-year process, the planning has already come up with a few possible ideas, including a car reservation system to drive up Cadillac or park at Jordan Pond House during peak periods. More public comment periods and reviews are planned.
Top 5 posts, for both personal and Bangor Daily News blogs
As part of our annual Acadia year in review, we look back on our top blog posts written in 2016, based on number of views.
We first set up our Acadia on My Mind personal blog in May 2014, and have published 146 posts so far, including this one, with more than 69,000 page views last year. We started as Bangor Daily News bloggers in January 2016, and have published 65 posts so far, including this one, with more than 39,000 page views last year.
While each blog includes much of the same content, we found that interestingly enough, different posts reached the top 5 for 2016 views, depending upon where they were published, and how much sharing on social media.
Here are the top 5 posts written in 2016 that got the most views on our personal blog:
- 5 tips to beat the crowds while visiting Acadia National Park
- Acadia campers fired up over Schoodic Woods Campground
- Join virtual Acadia Centennial Trek to celebrate, help park
- For Acadia Centennial, here’s a photo a day for 100 days
- Bicycling Acadia carriage roads? Ask Acadia on My Mind!
And here are the top 5 posts written in 2016 that got the most views on the Bangor Daily News site:
- It’s a good thing: Martha Stewart to give $1M for Acadia National Park
- In honor of MLK Day, a reflection on diversity and Acadia National Park
- 5 lessons from Acadia for proposed Katahdin-area national monument
- Q&A with Lucas St. Clair on proposed Maine Woods national monument
- Dogs in Acadia get national park’s conditional love
Acadia year in review: Top 2016 accomplishments
Among the other accomplishments from last year that we look proudly upon during this Acadia year in review:
- Our “Hiking Acadia National Park” book won a 2016 National Outdoor Book Award
- We got to meet and introduce fellow Acadia Centennial Trekkers, breaking bread at Side Street Café and Jordan’s Restaurant, as well as taking a low-tide walk to Bar Island and a trail less traveled to Acadia Mountain with some of them
- We connected with a global field of runners who participated in the first-ever virtual MDI Marathon and Half Marathon, and even met some of them during the real Marathon and post-race party
- The Acadia Centennial Medallion is gracing trophy cases from Australia to Scotland, Canada to New Mexico, as a result of participants in the Acadia Centennial Trek and virtual MDI Marathon and Half joining in from all around the world
“I’ve run the MDI marathon 7 times and the half twice. I love the race and the island. I am president of a community college in New Mexico. MDI is about the only race I run anymore. I saw the virtual race on the race (Facebook) page, and I wanted the medal. I love the park!”
– Becky Rowley, participant in the first-ever virtual MDI Marathon and Half, and proud owner of an Acadia Centennial Medallion
2017 New Year’s resolutions with an Acadia twist
For 2017, here are among the ideas and Acadia-themed New Year’s resolutions we’re working on, which may be a source of inspiration for you:
- Exercise 100 days in a row – If you’re a runner, perhaps in training for the Mount Desert Island Marathon or Half Marathon on Oct. 15, 2017, you can sign up for the Crow Athletics Running Club’s “STREAK-100,” where you commit to run or walk at least 1 mile a day for 100 days, beginning Jan. 1. You need to be a member of the club to join, annual dues of $10 plus credit-card processing fees. You get to log your miles on an online spreadsheet, and the chance to win an award if you are among the top 3 male or top 3 female finishers, in terms of miles logged. As a non-profit that hosts the MDI Marathon and Half, and other events, Crow Athletics gives a lot back to local communities, from Acadia to the Baxter regions. If you’re not a runner, or if you didn’t walk or run at least 1 mile on New Year’s Day, don’t throw in the towel on your 2017 fitness goals yet! You can start your own streak at any time, doing whatever your exercise of choice is, and keep track of progress toward your goal in any way that works. Stay tuned as we at Acadia on My Mind develop a special way for people to keep track of their 2017 fitness goals, with an Acadia twist, see below.
- Raise funds for Acadia with new products on the online Acadia on My Mind Shop – A top secret product we’re working on is already in development, featuring our favorite rock, with a couple of samples already out there. We’ll continue to donate at least 5% of gross sales proceeds of existing products to the non-profit Friends of Acadia, to benefit the park.
- Come up with a new Acadia-themed way for fitness motivation – The Acadia Centennial Trek was our idea for last year (and apparently may still be open for new sign-ups and existing participants’ mileage entry, even though technically it was to end Dec. 31, 2016 – read here about the free 100-mile virtual race). The top-secret idea we’re working on for 2017 will be another fun, visual way to track workouts, while keeping Acadia on your mind.
- Perhaps team up again with MDI Marathon and Half for another virtual race – Now that there’s 2 in a series for the first time in 2017, with the addition of the Millinocket Marathon and Half, for a combined Sea to Summit award for finishers of both races, imagine the virtual course map that can be drawn connecting the 2 regions. We’ll be in touch with Gary Allen, founder of both races and called “one of Maine’s most charismatic runners” in a DownEast Magazine article about his efforts to help Millinocket with a free race.
- Cross off some more things off the Acadia bucket list – In 2016, we finally made it to Acadia in the month of October (but have yet to visit in December, January or February to get all calendar months under our belt), and we got our first Acadia cancellation stamp in our Passport to Your National Parks®, from one of our favorite Acadia rangers. Other things still on the Acadia bucket list: Visit Baker Island, kayak around the Porcupine Islands, hike or cross-country ski Acadia in winter, see a Snowy owl. More reasons to visit Acadia!
Share your 2017 Acadia-themed New Year’s resolution, or favorite 2016 Acadia Centennial memory, in a comment below!