Category Archives: Centennial

News about Acadia National Park and National Park Service Centennial

Traffic shuts Cadillac Mountain summit road 49 times so far

The road to the Cadillac Mountain summit in Acadia National Park was closed 49 times this summer because of traffic congestion, emphazing the need for more visitors to use the park’s shuttle bus system and providing key data for a new transportation plan, according to a park spokeswoman.

Traffic congestion on Cadillac Mountain

Motorists during July 4 weekend back up on the peak of Cadillac Mountain to obtain a parking space.

Christie Anastasia, public affairs specialist for Acadia, released statistics of the temporary closures to incoming motor vehicles on the Cadillac Mountain summit road that occurred between June 28 and Sept. 4.

The statistics show that 11 of the closures occurred during sunrise and 15 likely during sunset. She said the Cadillac Mountain summit was temporarily shut to incoming traffic seven times during the Labor Day weekend. When the road is shut, the entrance at the base of the mountain is blocked and rangers are stationed there.

While the fare-free Island Explorer does not stop at the top of Cadillac, the tie-ups on the mountain are a sign of the heavy use of motor vehicles inside the park, along with tight parking throughout the park during busy times. The large parking lot at Jordan Pond, for example, was also closed temporarily on Labor Day, causing many motorists to drive around looking for spots or to park illegally.

acadia traffic

Would a vehicle registration system for driving up Cadillac help ease congestion like this? (NPS photo)

“I do think It underscores the importance of the Island Explorer,” Anastasia said. “You don’t have to worry about parking your car. You get on a bus. Someone else drives. You can look out the window and enjoy the scenery.”

The statistics also help in the completion of a new transportation plan. By the end of this year, the park might release a draft Environmental Impact Statement on the plan and then launch a new round of public comments. The park is considering preliminary ideas such as a reservation system for motor vehicles to park at Jordan Pond and to drive up Cadillac, the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast with spectacular views of the Porcupine Islands and Frenchman Bay.

“The fact that we are collecting the data on the closures helps us understand parking management strategies as part of that transportation planning process,” Anastasia said. The park’s dispatch office is tracking the closures in a spreadsheet, she said. Continue reading

Jordan Stream Path one of top hikes in Acadia National Park

One in a series of historic Acadia hiking trail highlights

Jordan Stream Path is among the shortest and most overlooked hikes in Acadia National Park, but it travels to one of the park’s unusual sights – Cobblestone Bridge, which is quietly marking its own centennial this year.

acadia national park hikes

Jordan Stream Path leads to Cobblestone Bridge, which turns 100 years old this year. Hard to believe that George B. Dorr and others once found the bridge to be unattractive.

Previously badly eroded, the Jordan Stream Path looks mostly pristine, following an extensive rehabilitation overseen by Christian Barter, a park trail crew supervisor who is also the park’s poet laureate.

The stream, closely hugged by the path, seems like something out of a Robert Frost poem, with small waterfalls and rushing water, seen during one of our hikes in Acadia National Park in early July this year. The stream starts at the south end of Jordan Pond and goes all the way to Little Long Pond near Seal Harbor.

The path begins near the busy Jordan Pond House but most people appear to disregard the path and opt for the many other more prominent hikes in Acadia National Park in the same area. The path might be a good pick to get away from the crowds during the Labor Day weekend.

jordan stream path

Fine stonework on Jordan Stream Path.

Jim Linnane, a volunteer crew leader with the Friends of Acadia who hiked the path on Saturday, noted that thick spruce forests – untouched by the great fire of 1947– help keep the area private and quiet.

“Hiking the Jordan Stream trail this morning, I thought about how special it is, especially because it is so close to the mass of humanity which descends on the Jordan Pond area on a nice day like today,” Linnane wrote in an email.

“Surprisingly, after a very dry summer, the Jordan Stream still has some running water,” he wrote. “The gurgle and trickle of the stream is a welcome and wonderful interruption to the silence of the deep woods.”

The path goes for only about a half mile within park boundaries, but just outside the park, it reaches the famed Cobblestone Bridge, an appealing feature among hikes in Acadia National Park.

While Acadia’s centennial was last year, the bridge turns 100 years old this year. It’s a popular spot for horse-drawn carriages to stop, to let off visitors for a view of the bridge. Continue reading

Climate change consequences hot topic in Acadia, US news

With the United States planning to pull out of the Paris climate accord and Al Gore’s new movie, climate change is a hot issue this summer.

climate change research

Topography map of Acadia and Mount Desert Island at the Nature Center shows the potential impact of climate change on shorefront, roads, plants and wildlife.

The topic is also sharply in focus at Acadia National Park, where an exhibit at the Sieur de Monts Nature Center explores current and future climate change consequences at the park including the flooding of salt marshes, the survival of a parasite that is killing hemlock forests and the threats of rising temperatures on summit plants, trees like red spruce and balsam fir, and nesting sites of Puffins, Arctic Terns and Loons.

Lynne Dominy, chief of interpretation and education at Acadia, said it is important that the exhibit helps people understand the environmental changes that may occur over the next several decades in the park.

Dominy said the displays are based on science, but they allow people to make their own decisions about climate change.

“The main message is to be educated and to make responsible choices,” she said. “You have to understand we live on a complex planet and that things change. It is important to be a part of that and to understand where we are going and make responsible choices.”

Scenes of climate change consequences are also on the big screen in Maine and elsewhere in “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” the new movie by the former vice president that’s being released 10 years after the Oscar-winning “An Inconvenient Truth.”

The movie trailer includes President Donald Trump pledging during the campaign to end the federal EPA and cut billions in climate change spending. In a speech on June 1, Trump said he was ceasing all implementation of the Paris accord – a global agreement aimed at reducing global warming and pollution – because he said it imposes too many draconian financial and economic burdens on the United States.

The Trump administration has also opted to dissolve the 15-member Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment, after its charter expired, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.

The panel is intended to advise policymakers on how to incorporate the government’s climate analysis into long-term planning, the Post reported.

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Economic benefits of national parks: $274m from Acadia

UPDATED 5/2/2017: Story adds a statement from Acadia Superintendent Kevin Schneider.

A new report on the economic benefits of national parks shows that a record number of visitors to Acadia National Park last year injected about $274 million into the regional economy.

acadia national park

In the Acadia Centennial year of 2016, 3.3 million visitors spent an estimated $274.2 million in local communities, up 10.6% from the year before. (NPS image)

The report, released by the National Park Service, documents the powerful financial benefits of national parks during the Centennial celebration of the founding of the system and Acadia.

The report said Acadia contributed $274.2 million in visitor spending, up  almost 11% from 2015 and 36.5% from $200.9 million in 2012. The park supported 4,195 full and part-time jobs last year, up nearly 8% from 2015.

That spending, along with the jobs, had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $333 million, the park said in a release on Tuesday.

“Acadia National Park’s extraordinary beauty and recreational opportunities attracted a record number of visitors in 2016 making it the eighth most-visited national park in the country,” said Superintendent Kevin Schneider in a statement. “We value our relationship with the neighboring communities and appreciate the services and amenities they provide to park visitors.”

The report shows how Acadia and other national park units across the nation are economic engines for gateway communities, or those within 60 miles of a park.

Eight sectors contributed to the $274.2 million spending around Acadia, including hotels, $89.7 million, or 33% of the total; restaurants and bars, $49.6 million, or 18%; gas, $28.4 million, or 10%; the recreation industry, $26.3 million or 9.5%; retail, $26.9 million, or 10% and the rest from transportation, groceries and camping, the report said.

nationoal park week

During National Park Week, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, seen holding a Passport(R) to Your National Parks, visited Channel Islands National Park, and announced national park visitation added $34.9 billion to the US economy in 2016. (DOI photo)

The report is a testament to the tangible economic benefits  of national parks to communities across the nation, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in a statement, while releasing the report earlier this month. “Visitation numbers continue to rise because people want to experience these majestic public lands,” he said.

Zinke, a former U.S. House member from Montana, said that in his hometown of Whitefish, Mont., he has seen firsthand how the popularity of Glacier National Park sparked growth of the local outdoor recreation and eco-tourism industries. Continue reading

Message to the future in Acadia time capsule, for year 2116

Centennial logo for Acadia National Park

The official Acadia Centennial logo

If you celebrated the Acadia Centennial, you won’t be there for the opening of the Acadia Bicentennial Time Capsule in the year 2116. But you can hand down the generations the story of how you marked the 100th, and how there may be evidence of it in a special steel box in the Bar Harbor Bank & Trust lobby.

If you participated in an Acadia Centennial event, like Take Pride in Acadia Day, Park Science Day, or the Acadia Centennial Trek, your descendants may find a digital photo from the event, with you in it, in that specially manufactured Acadia time capsule.

acadia national park hiking

Digital photo of Acadia Centennial Trek participants James Linnane, Shelley Dawson, Maureen Fournier, Acadia on My Mind and Kristy Sharp on the sand bar to Bar Island, is included in the Acadia time capsule. (Photo courtesy of Kristy Sharp)

(Go to bottom of story to see a complete list of items by name in the Acadia Bicentennial Time Capsule.)

Or if you bought an official Centennial product, like the 2016 Acadia calendar by Bob Thayer, the Anatomy of a Bates Cairn T-shirt by Moira O’Neill and Judy Hazen Connery, or the Acadia Centennial Trek Medal, your descendants may find that very same item in the time capsule.

Watch the Facebook livestream of the installation of the time capsule today, Feb. 3, beginning at 1:30 p.m., featuring remarks by Bar Harbor Bankshares president and CEO Curtis C. Simard; Acadia superintendent Kevin Schneider; Friends of Acadia president David MacDonald; Acadia Bicentennial Time Capsule Working Group co-chair Charles Stanhope; and Acadia Centennial Task Force co-chair Jack Russell. The video of the half-hour event can be viewed after the fact as well at the Acadia National Park Centennial 2016 Facebook page.

While we won’t be there to bear witness at the installation of the Acadia time capsule today, or at its unsealing in 2116, we’re proud – and tickled pink – to have a digital copy of the 3rd edition of our “Hiking Acadia National Park” book, along with digital photos of the Acadia Centennial Trek, included in that stainless steel box.

acadia centennial

A digital photo of the Acadia Centennial Trek Medal, still available for sale to help raise funds for the park, is included in the Acadia time capsule.

We plan to bring family members and friends to visit the Acadia time capsule in the bank lobby, bearing a copy of our hiking book and wearing an Acadia Centennial Trek Medal, to take a photo for posterity, perhaps once a year, for as long as possible. And may that be a message to the future, about how our generation appreciated Acadia, and about how we hope the park is as loved 100 years from now.

To see whether any of the Centennial events you attended or products you purchased are included in the Acadia time capsule, check out the list of items by name, based on information provided by the Acadia Centennial Task Force: Continue reading

Acadia year in review, a look ahead: Top news, 2017 ideas

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.

Centennial logo for Acadia National Park

The official Acadia Centennial logo

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. Continue reading

It’s a good thing: Martha Stewart to give $1M for Acadia

Like any other fan of Acadia during the Centennial year, Martha Stewart hiked the trails, climbing the Beehive and exploring Great Head, all just a short way from her Seal Harbor home.

martha stewart

During Memorial Day weekend of the Acadia Centennial year, Martha Stewart hiked the Beehive with friends and blogged about it. (Photo courtesy of www.themarthablog.com)

Now, as the Centennial year nears an end, to show her appreciation for the park and invite others to show theirs, she has made a $1 million challenge grant to benefit Acadia.

“Acadia National Park is very special to me and my family and we are happy to support Friends of Acadia in this Centennial year. With this special challenge grant, we hope to encourage and inspire others to ‘give back’ to Acadia – a truly magical place,” said Martha Stewart in a statement, via the non-profit Friends group.

As of early this week, Friends of Acadia (FOA) is within $100,000 of raising the matching $1 million to complete the challenge from the Martha and Alexis Stewart Foundation, and within $200,000 of meeting the $25 million goal for the Second Century Campaign, to help secure Acadia National Park’s next 100 years.

The target fundraising deadline: Dec. 31, the end of the Acadia Centennial year. That means any donation you make between now and 11:59 PM EST on New Year’s Eve may be matched by Stewart, up to the remaining $100,000 for the full $1 million, and may help put FOA over the top for the $25 million campaign.

martha stewart

Martha Stewart discovered this old millstone on Great Head, above Sand Beach, during a 2016 Thanksgiving weekend hike. (Photo courtesy of www.instagram.com/marthastewart48)

As Martha Stewart and others who have come to know Acadia have experienced, the park gives so much, with its historic trails and carriage roads, dramatic pink granite cliffs and breathtaking ocean and mountain views. Stewart shares her hikes in the park, and her trips to her Seal Harbor home, in The Martha Blog, subtitled “up close & personal,” and on her Instagram account.

“When she’s enjoying Acadia, she’s not Martha Stewart Omnimedia guru,” said Lisa Horsch Clark, FOA’s director of development and donor relations, who’s worked with the lifestyle and media entrepreneur over the years on efforts like FOA’s annual benefit auction.

“She’s a park lover like us,” said Clark. Continue reading

Give the gift of art or photos of Acadia for the holidays

For centuries, the scenery of Mount Desert Island has captured the imagination of artists and photographers alike, from Frederic E. Church of the Hudson River School of painters, to QT Luong, the first person to take large-format photographs of all 59 national parks.

where in acadia

Guess “Where in Acadia?” See the bottom of this blog post for the photo that’s the basis of this ReallyColor, LLC, page.

Maybe you’ve got fans of art or photos of Acadia – or perhaps even budding fine artists – on your holiday shopping list. Here are some gift ideas to celebrate the long tradition of art and photography in Acadia, and perhaps to inspire a new generation.

There’s even a gift in this round-up of holiday ideas to turn your own photos of Acadia into coloring pages or coloring books, to tap into the latest coloring-as-meditation craze, enjoyed by children and adults alike, using the technology of our new affiliated partner, ReallyColor, LLC(NOTE: Please see sidebar about affiliated partner links in this blog)

Books on art or photos of Acadia, and photographic technique

  • art of acadia

    “Art of Acadia” surveys art of the region, from the 17th century all the way through 2015. (Photo courtesy of Carl Little)

    Art of Acadia – Going beyond the traditional treatment of art history of the region both temporally and geographically, this 280-page book goes back in time to the 17th century and all the way up through 2015, adding the art of Cranberry Isles, the Porcupines and Schoodic to the usual compendium of MDI works. Published in the year of the Acadia Centennial by Down East Books, this beautifully illustrated book is by brothers David Little and Carl Little. As Acadia Centennial Partners, the Littles have given a number of talks about their book throughout the Centennial year. (NOTE: Please see sidebar about Amazon.com links in this blog)

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Special Acadia holiday gift ideas to ring out Centennial year

For the Acadia National Park fan on your shopping list, or for a year-end charitable donation, the Centennial offers a once-in-a-century set of Acadia holiday gift ideas.

Plus we’re announcing 2 new merchants to our blog’s affiliated marketing partnerships on this Cyber Monday, to make coming up with special Acadia holiday gift ideas even easier: REI, where you can buy gear for an Acadia lover, and ReallyColor, LLC, where you can turn photos of Acadia (or anything else) into coloring pages, tapping into the latest coloring-as-meditation craze. (NOTE: Please see sidebar about affiliated partner links in this blog)

acadia calendar

This Acadia Centennial calendar, by ranger naturalist Bob Thayer, can be purchased directly through his photography Web site, or at local businesses such as Sherman’s. At least 5% of gross proceeds will go to Centennial efforts and other Acadia projects. (Image courtesy of Bob Thayer)

How about official Centennial products for Acadia holiday gift ideas, such as a calendar, fleece blanket, magnet, embroidered patch or baseball cap?

These and other items are produced or sold by Acadia Centennial partners, who’ve promised to donate at least 5% of gross proceeds to support Centennial projects and other Acadia National Park efforts.

A central list of products and services is on the Acadia Centennial Partners Web site, which provides links to where you can make purchases, whether through a local business or online. Not all officially sanctioned products or services may be on that site.

As official Acadia Centennial Partners ourselves, we’re donating at least 5% of gross proceeds from the sale of autographed hiking books (including “Hiking Acadia National Park,” which this month won the National Outdoor Book Award) and Acadia Centennial Holiday Ornaments.

acadia holiday gift ideas

Acadia Centennial Holiday Ornaments are available on the online Acadia on My Mind Shop.

And as announced earlier this month, under an Acadia Centennial Trek Challenge, we’ll be donating 10% of gross proceeds from the sale of the Acadia Centennial Trek Medal made by the end of the year to benefit Acadia. And for every mile being logged by participants in the free 100-mile virtual Acadia Centennial Trek between now and the end of the year, we’ll be making an extra donation of 2 cents per mile to the cause.

Or perhaps you’d rather make a direct, potentially tax-deductible, gift to benefit Acadia in the name of family members or friends, as your way of marking the Acadia Centennial? Here are some ways to do that:

  • Gift membership to Friends of Acadia – By giving a gift membership, you would provide a year’s worth of membership benefits to a family member or friend, including a subscription to the Friends of Acadia Journal, six note cards depicting Acadia at night, and a window decal. A bargain with membership starting at $40.
  • A tribute gift to Friends of Acadia or Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park – Not limited to the holidays, such a gift can commemorate a birthday, anniversary or any other special occasion. Such a gift to the Friends of Acadia would be recognized in the Friends of Acadia Journal. Or perhaps you might want to make a gift to the Friends of Acadia’s Second Century Campaign. The Schoodic Institute, which provides environmental research and education and such citizen science programs as HawkWatch, can notify the person you’re honoring with the gift.

Need more Acadia holiday gift ideas? Continue reading

Acadia Centennial helps draw record 3.2 million park visitors

The Acadia Centennial has helped attract more than 3.2 million visitors so far to the national park this year, capped by record attendance for October.

acadia national park hiking

Views like these along Jordan Pond in October helped draw record crowds to Acadia this year.

An eye-popping 412,416 people visited during October, up 19.8 percent from last year’s monthly record of 344,362, according to statistics from the National Park Service.

Through October, visitors during the Acadia Centennial totaled 3.234 million, up 17.7 percent from last year. Depending on the weather, visitation could total 3.3 million for this year, said John T. Kelly, management assistant for Acadia.

Kelly said visitation this year reached 3 million for the first time since at least 1990, when the park changed the way it counts visitors. The previous record since 1990 was 2.845 million in 1995, according to the federal statistics.

Some good aspects of the crowds are that people came to enjoy the park and the park therefore collected more revenues from entrance fees and local businesses saw a boost, but the downsides include traffic congestion during peak periods.

crowds in acadia

Crowds in Acadia can make for an unpleasant experience as seen here on the Park Loop Road and Ocean Path. (NPS photo)

Visitation during the summer of the Acadia Centennial produced some staggering numbers.  In September, visitation was 570,434, up 19 percent from the same month last year; August, 735,945, up 10 percent; July, 696,854, up 15 percent; and June, 445,410 up 24 percent.

Visitors to the Schoodic Peninsula, the only section of the park on the mainland, reached 276,233 through October, up 31 percent from 210,549 during the same 10 months last year. More people went to Schoodic because of the new Schoodic Woods Campground and more than 8 miles of new bike paths.
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Centennial Trek Challenge: Run, walk 100 miles for Acadia

This time of year, as we think of giving, gratitude, and the end of the Centennial, we’ve come up with a new idea to celebrate and help raise extra funds for the park: The Acadia Centennial Trek Challenge.

acadia virtual runs

We were so pleased to see our Acadia Centennial Trek included in a Friends of Acadia mailing, we came up with a special Challenge, to help raise more funds for the park.

The idea came to us after we got a Friends of Acadia Annual Fund mailing this weekend. We were so pleased to see our free year-long, 100-mile, virtual Acadia Centennial Trek included in a listing of Centennial events, that we decided to come up with the Centennial Trek Challenge.

Are you up to the Challenge?

There are 2 ways to help raise extra funds for the park between now and Dec. 31:

Buy an Acadia Centennial Trek Medal; or run, hike or walk 100 miles for Acadia anywhere in the world, log your miles on a virtual map, and watch your avatar move along the route that starts on the top of Cadillac, and snakes its way over the 26 peaks of Acadia.
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Global field of 400 covers 30,000 miles in Acadia virtual runs

To celebrate the Acadia Centennial, nearly 400 people from around the world have crisscrossed virtual routes on Mount Desert Island this year, collectively logging more than 30,000 miles of running, hiking or walking, and helping to raise funds for the park.

Among the most recent finishers of the Acadia virtual runs:

acadia virtual races

Ben Greeley of Waterville lets Pamola sport his Acadia Centennial Medallion, which he earned by running the virtual MDI Marathon. (Photo courtesy of Ben Greeley)

  • 10-year-old Lukas Modrusan of Bangor, who logged real-life cross-country practice and racing miles, and counted them toward the virtual edition of the Mount Desert Island Marathon
  • Ben Greeley of Waterville, who logged his training miles for the real-life MDI Marathon on the virtual marathon route, and shared a photo of his virtual finisher’s medal being worn by his faithful companion, Pamola
  • Pam Langford, who completed the virtual MDI Half Marathon while still a North Carolina resident, and looks forward to running and hiking the real-life trails and carriage roads of Acadia, now that she is moving to Bar Harbor next week
  • Robin Emery, who came in first in her age group (70-79) in the real-life MDI Half, in 2:35:18, and used those same miles to earn her virtual MDI Half finisher’s medal
  • Melissa Kim, children’s book author and editor at Islandport Press, who completed the virtual MDI Marathon at home in southern Maine, and did a lot of speed hiking in Acadia in advance as training.

The first-ever series of Acadia virtual runs began in February with the launch of the free 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek, followed by parts 2 and 3 of the same trek. These races end on Dec. 31, and as of Nov. 12, there are only 50 days left to complete those 100-mile treks.

You can still join in on the virtual Acadia Centennial Trek, and if you average about 2 miles a day between now and Dec. 31, you can earn the right to the finisher’s medallion, available for optional purchase, to help raise funds for Acadia. The Trek is one of Acadia on My Mind’s contributions to the year-long celebration of the park, as an official Acadia Centennial Partner.

acadia centennial trek

Nearly 300 participants have signed up for the free 100-mile virtual Acadia Centennial Trek, hosted by Racery.com. You can still sign up now, and have about 50 days to complete the route before the race ends Dec. 31.

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Acadia Centennial nears end with volunteerism, time capsule

The summer crowds are gone, the fall foliage but a memory, and the year-long, community-wide celebration of the Acadia Centennial is going out with a bang, not a whimper.

Take Pride in Acadia Day

Some of the hundreds of volunteers helping to get the carriage roads ready for winter during Take Pride in Acadia Day in 2011. (NPS Photo / D.R. Hunt)

Among the events still on the Acadia Centennial calendar to keep the celebration going between now and Dec. 31 (and beyond, especially with an Acadia Bicentennial Time Capsule to be opened a century from now):

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Car reservation system among ideas to ease Acadia traffic

The National Park Service is floating several proposals to ease Acadia traffic congestion and improve safety during peak visitation, including a reservation system for cars to drive up Cadillac or to park at Jordan Pond House.

acadia traffic

Would a vehicle registration system for driving up Cadillac help ease congestion like this? (NPS photo)

Other key preliminary ideas include eliminating parking in the right hand lane on the one-way section of the Park Loop Road to improve Acadia traffic flow and allowing cars to enter Ocean Drive past the entrance station until certain thresholds for parking and road volumes are reached.

Under the preliminary idea for freeing up parking and ensuring free traffic flow on Ocean Drive, additional vehicles would be cleared to drive past the entrance station as capacity permits, with drivers getting information in various ways and getting the option to wait or leave via Schooner Head Road or sooner at Sieur de Monts.

The proposals are just “conversation starters” by the park service, as part of an effort to release a final transportation plan for the park in the fall of 2018. The possibilities are being aired after a summer of strong attendance during the Centennial year caused closure sometimes of the Cadillac Summit Road and full lots at Jordan Pond during busy times.

Already through September, 2.82 million people visited the park, slightly more than all of last year, which set a 20-year-high, according to park statistics. Visitation at Acadia is likely to top 3 million this year, after October numbers are tallied.

The early proposals were spelled out for the first time in a 12-page newsletter of “preliminary concepts” released this month and will be aired during two public meetings this week, Nov. 2 and Nov. 3.

acadia traffic

You can comment on alternative proposals to manage Acadia traffic as spelled out in this 12-page newsletter, at public hearings on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3, or online through Nov. 30. (NPS image)

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And they’re off! Global field of racers start MDI virtual runs

The virtual starting pistol has just sounded for the first-ever virtual running of the Mount Desert Island Marathon and Half. Racer BenJammin has pulled out in front, Dbawn is not too far behind, and a field of nearly 100 racers from around the world, from Australia to New Mexico, is in pursuit.

acadia national park virtual runs

Travis Greaves will be logging his miles for the virtual MDI Half Marathon in the Gold Coast in Australia. (Photo courtesy Travis Greaves)

It’s not too late to join in on the fun, or to invite your friends, family and frenemies anywhere in the world to participate in this special event to help raise funds for Acadia National Park. The 26.2 and 13.1-mile virtual runs just began today, and you can log your miles over a 10-day period, ending on Oct. 16, the day of the real-life MDI Marathon and Half. Register here.

Get a digital bib, earn a special Acadia Centennial Medallion and watch your avatar move along on the map of the real-life race routes as you log each day’s mileage. You may also see a Google Street View® of where you finish for the day. Special pricing for registrants and volunteers in the real-life MDI Marathon and Half. The virtual races are co-sponsored by Acadia on My Mind, Crow Athletics and MDI Marathon as an official Acadia Centennial event.

Virtual runs are a growing fitness trend, with even Disney getting into the act. Acadia on My Mind is also sponsoring a virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek that ends on Dec. 31.

Participants get to cheer friends – real or virtual – or gently razz competitors via a message board on the race Web sites, powered by Racery.com, or via a special Facebook events page we’ve set up. Some have never run a real-life marathon or half, and some have never been to Acadia, while others have done both.

Travis Greaves, who hasn’t been to Acadia but has run real-life races, found out about the virtual runs in a Google search. “I will be running in the Gold Coast in Australia. I like the idea of virtual runs,” e-mailed Travis, whose virtual MDI Half Marathon screen name is Travisg.

Joining in on the fun are Eve Lindsey (SkiPrincess) of Bedford, NH, and Hope Matthews (Sourceress) of Portland, plus other racers hailing from places like Cuyahoga Falls, OH; Austin, TX; and Clovis, NM.

acadia national park virtual runs

BenJammin is out in front, with Dbawn not too far behind, at the start of the first-ever virtual running of the MDI Marathon. Not too late to register and join the nearly 100 racers in this and the virtual MDI Half Marathon, during the 10 days that the races are live, Oct. 7 – Oct. 16.

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