Volunteers of Acadia give back with heart, soul and sweat

For 6 months, Marlene Cosner was dreaming of this day – to be among the volunteers of Acadia to give back to the park on National Trails Day, the first Saturday in June. Blustery weather, temperatures in the 40s making it feel more like November, and the threat of rain in the air weren’t going to dissuade her.

volunteers of acadia

Marlene Cosner raking leaves on Schooner Head Path on National Trails Day, with Jim Linnane, volunteer crew leader, and Lucie Marshall, Friends of Acadia volunteer stewardship assistant, in the background.

“I traveled 800 miles to do this,” said Cosner of Harrisburg, PA, in between vigorous raking of leaves out of drainage ditches along Schooner Head Path. “This makes me so happy to be able to give back to the park.”

Cosner, who first visited Acadia at the age of 12 and later honeymooned here, was the sole drop-in volunteer. “If she didn’t show up today we would have cancelled,” said Lucie Marshall, volunteer stewardship assistant for the Friends of Acadia (FOA), who joined Cosner and volunteer crew leader Jim Linnane in the leaf raking along 0.3 mile of the village connector trail that joins Compass Harbor with Schooner Head Overlook in the park.

Cosner wasn’t the only die-hard. Saturday’s poor weather also didn’t stop a previously scheduled group of volunteers of Acadia from providing a day of service.

Eight University of New England graduate students put their strong backs to work, helping to haul a total of 150 pounds of soil to help restore the summit of Sargent Mountain, hiking from Waterfall Bridge via Hadlock Brook Trail and Sargent South Ridge, up to the top, according to Nikki Burtis, FOA stewardship coordinator.

Plenty of diverse opportunities for volunteers of Acadia

volunteers of acadia

If you see a “Volunteers at Work” sign, or volunteer crew leader Jim Linnane, along one of the trails of Acadia, be sure to say thank you.

With Acadia’s visitation at high levels, difficulty hiring seasonal workers and continued resource constraints, the hundreds of volunteers who provide thousands of hours of service each year through FOA and National Park Service programs could be more important than ever.

Whether it’s for a few hours or for a season, here are some ways volunteers of Acadia can give back, just as Cosner and the University of New England students did on National Trails Day:

As Cosner raked leaves along Schooner Head Path during the drop-in volunteer stint on National Trails Day, she reminisced about how her parents first brought her and her brother to visit Acadia decades ago, an occasion “that started the lifelong pull,” bringing her back for her honeymoon and several other visits.

A registered nurse and volunteer firefighter who’s now a full-time caregiver for her 90-year-old father, Cosner was able to get a couple of weeks off when her husband, a firefighter, used paid vacation time to take over the caretaking duties. “This is taking care of me, being here,” Cosner said, in between pulling the rakefuls of leaves.

She loves the feeling of caring for Acadia so much, she plans on dropping in to volunteer again on Tuesday.

acadia national park

After a couple hours of raking leaves along 0.3 mile of Schooner Head Path on National Trails Day, Maureen Cosner is still all smiles, sharing a few laughs back at the drop-in center near Hulls Cove Visitor Center with, counterclockwise, volunteer crew leader Jim Linnane, Friends of Acadia stewardship coordinator Nikki Burtis (partly hidden), and stewardship assistants Miriam Nelson and Lucie Marshall.

friends of acadia volunteers

The Hulls Cove volunteer drop-in center also serves as the Friends of Acadia (FOA) Tool Shed, sign shop and site of the Volunteer Crew Leader (VCL) Wall of Fame.

acadia national park

Rakes and other tools stand at the ready, awaiting volunteers of Acadia at the Hulls Cove drop-in site.



2 thoughts on “Volunteers of Acadia give back with heart, soul and sweat

  1. Jim Linnane

    Volunteering is not just giving back, it is also a way to further enjoy Acadia by getting a deeper understanding and appreciation of the park and those who care for it.

    1. Acadia on my mind Post author

      It certainly is, Jim. Appreciating the park on a short visit is just skimming the surface. But volunteering, meeting the people who care for it, and learning more about the history and efforts to protect it – that is the deeper appreciation. Thank you to all the volunteers who show the way.

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