Spring in Acadia: Mud time closes carriage roads, aid blooms

In an early sign of spring in Acadia National Park, officials closed the carriage roads on Friday for mud season, and fundraisers to benefit the park are popping up like snowdrops.

Before you know it, the peregrine falcons will be returning to nest, usually closing the Precipice Trail and other cliff climbs by late March; the Cadillac Summit Road and Hulls Cove Visitor Center will be opening in mid-April; and the rhodora will be ablaze.

acadia carriage roads

Mud season has closed Acadia’s carriage roads until further notice.

But perhaps unlike other recent springtimes in Acadia, the park seems to face more challenges than typical in getting ready for the busy season.

This winter’s unusual freeze-thaw damage to Sieur de Monts’s Nature Center and Wild Gardens of Acadia – which were alternatively encased in ice, then flooded – is still being assessed. The Trump administration has proposed a 7 percent cut in the National Park Service’s overall fiscal 2019 budget. Record-setting visitation reached 3.5 million in Acadia last year, while the park’s deferred maintenance backlog is at $59 million as of the end of fiscal 2017.

While fundraisers to benefit the park don’t replace the need for adequate federal funding, every little bit helps. And in the spirit of renewal that spring in Acadia represents, here are some ways to help raise funds via the park’s main nonprofit partner, Friends of Acadia, and otherwise do your part to give back to the park that gives so much to so many, in all seasons:

virtual race with medals

If you join the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run between now and March 9, we’ll double the percentage of registration fees going to benefit Friends of Acadia, as part of the charity’s Spring E-Challenge. (Image courtesy of Friends of Acadia)

  • Make a special donation to the Friends of Acadia between now and March 9 during its 2018 Spring E-Challenge, to help secure up to $15,000 in matching funds, offered by a small group of park supporters. Last year, the charity featured a spring membership challenge that resulted in 127 donors, including 20 new members.
  • Join the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run, which we’re co-sponsoring with Crow Athletics, Mount Desert Island Marathon and Millinocket Marathon & Half, between now and March 9, and we will double the percentage of registration fees that will go to the Friends of Acadia, as part of our contribution to the nonprofit’s Spring E-Challenge. We’re announcing today that the race is being extended to June 30, thanks to racery.com, to give participants more time to log their miles anywhere in the world, and watch their race avatar move along the 200-mile virtual route from Cadillac to Katahdin. Not only will you help raise funds for Friends of Acadia and other nonprofits, you’ll also get a special medal in the shape of Maine, featuring a raised lobster claw and pine tree, and a buffalo-plaid ribbon. Read more about the race here. Register now.
  • Sign up for the Friends of Acadia’s annual Earth Day roadside clean-up, happening on the last Saturday of every April (April 28 this year), or any of the charity’s other events throughout the year.
    virtual race

    Announce your participation in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run by sharing this graphic. Register now, race ends June 30. (Image by racery.com)

    virtual races with medals

    This is the buffalo-plaid-beribboned Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion you can earn for signing up for the virtual race to help benefit Friends of Acadia and other charities.

To make mud time go faster, and raise hopes of spring in Acadia

While the carriage roads are closed to pedestrians, bicyclists and horses until conditions dry (typically 2 weeks; check park alerts for reopening), here are some photos from our previous blog posts, and recent contributions from racers from around the country in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run, to raise hopes of spring in Acadia.

acadia national park hiking

Sargent South Ridge Trail ablaze in pink with rhodora abloom, usually in late May, early June.

lady's slipper

Along the trails of Acadia and in the Wild Gardens of Acadia, you may find the occasional Pink Lady’s-slipper in flower in spring.

Northern white violet

Found only occasionally in Acadia National Park, this stunning Northern white violet blooms in spring along Jordan Pond.

virtual race with medals

Jim Linnane, a Friends of Acadia volunteer crew leader and going by the name of @mdijim in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run, took this photo of Acadia in springtime about a week ago. He challenges you to guess “Where in Acadia?” (Photo courtesy of Jim Linnane)

virtual race with medals

Another participant in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run, Valerie Silensky-Lowe, a.k.a. @Mamaof7Dogs, posted this photo on March 1 of early blooming cherry blossoms in Washington, DC, along her real-life running route. Wherever you are in the world, you can log running, hiking or walking miles in the virtual race, to help benefit Friends of Acadia and other charities.

And if you missed our earlier blog posts about spring in Acadia, check these out:

If not for Earth Day, imagine a silent spring in Acadia

Springtime blossoms with things to see and do in Acadia

Spring blossoms, rhodora inspires, in Acadia National Park

Hope springs eternal for springtime in Acadia National Park

4 thoughts on “Spring in Acadia: Mud time closes carriage roads, aid blooms

    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      Always good to be able get a match for Friends of Acadia. Thanks for following our blog!

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