Category Archives: Hiking

Hiking in Acadia National Park.

Acadia National Park trails work takes crew with special skills

One in a series about Acadia National Park hiking trails

UPDATED 6/13/17: Description of new North Portico staircase at White House.

When the National Park Service needed people with special masonry skills to replace the steps on the acclaimed North Portico of the White House, the agency picked two top trail builders from Maine’s national park and sent them to Washington to do the work.

acadia national park hiking

Jeff Chapin, crew supervisor, shows where stone steps were taken out on the Valley Trail, to be shored up and reset in the proper order. His masonry skills also came in handy for replacing the White House North Portico steps in 2015.

After all, who better to replace the famed staircase at the White House than two people experienced at building stone steps and repairing historic masonry on the Acadia National Park trails? The park service, which maintains the grounds and exterior walls of the White House, assigned Jeffrey Chapin, crew supervisor on the Acadia National Park trails crew, and Peter Colman, another veteran trail crew leader, and they both spent about two weeks in late summer of 2015 replacing the marble steps at the White House with Vermont granite.

At the time, there was no publicity about their work at the White House because of security reasons. “I could not tell my family,” Chapin said.

The North Portico staircase faces Pennsylvania Avenue and is used to greet dignitaries.

Chapin said the staircase is three separate flights and three patio landings and includes a new ramp for disabled people. “The old ramp was metal and added on to the old stone work,” he said. “The new ramp is a permanent stone ramp to match the stairs.”

Starting another busy season in the park, Chapin, who lives in Trenton, provided a tour of an upgrade by his Acadia National Park trails crew on a nearly mile-long section of the historic Valley Trail near Beech Mountain west of Somes Sound. The section runs from the intersection of Canada Cliffs to the junction with the Beech South Ridge Trail.

acadia national park hiking

Jeff Chapin, crew supervisor, describes the cable and pulley system, strung high between trees, that is used to move huge boulders during Valley Trail reconstruction.

Part of Acadia National Park trails work includes searching the woods for boulders and then cutting them to fashion stone steps for a staircase, a wall or decorative cap to a culvert. In order to avoid dragging the rocks and damaging sensitive habitat and terrain, the huge stones are chained to a cable strung between trees, hoisted into the air, and carefully moved with ropes and pulleys, in a bit of a high-wire act.

A cable and pulley system strung high in trees might seem a risky way to move boulders, but Chapin said the key is for everyone to be positioned in the right spot to avoid injury in case a tree falls, for example. “Everybody knows where to stand,” he said. “Everybody knows what they are doing.”

Acadia National Park trails foreman Gary Stellpflug dumps gravel into the trailer manned by David Schlag, for the Valley Trail work.
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A new path is emerging for Acadia National Park hiking

One in a series about Acadia National Park hiking trails

The trails crew has launched an overhaul of an historic path that connects the Jordan Pond area with the village of Seal Harbor, providing a new way to experience Acadia National Park hiking.

Harold Read of Orono

Harold Read, trail worker at Acadia National Park, points to improvements on the Seaside Path intended to remove water from the path.

The work is being financed with donations to the nonprofit Friends of Acadia during an annual fundraising benefit last year. In a traditional “paddle raise,” sixty donors contributed a total of $318,000 to restore Seaside Path, according to Friends of Acadia.

There are no sweeping views from the path, but it is a “beautiful example” of a late 1800s to early 1900s gravel path for Acadia National Park hiking, said Gary Stellpflug, trails foreman at Acadia National Park. “It’s all woodland,” he said. “It’s nice mature forest.”

seaside path

A hand-crafted sign marks the way through the primeval woods of Seaside Path.

Stellpflug said Seaside Path is a village connector trail and will be the first newly-improved such trail for Acadia National Park hiking since Quarry and Otter Cove Trails were inaugurated on National Trails Day in 2014. The Quarry and Otter Cove Trails link the park’s Blackwoods Campground with the village of Otter Creek, Otter Cove and Gorham Mountain Trail.

A lot of Seaside Path is on private property and it is currently unclear exactly where it will terminate when the park is finished with the upgrade, he said. “We’re not sure where the south end will go,” he said.

Unlike the cliff and mountain climbs of Bar Harbor and Northeast Harbor, Seaside Path and other Seal Harbor trails go over “a gentler terrain,” according to the National Park Service’s “Pathmakers: Cultural Landscape Report for the Historic Hiking Trail System of Mount Desert Island.” As a result, “many woodland paths were  surfaced with gravel or simply unconstructed, marked paths through the woods,” in contrast to those in the other villages, according to the report.

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Photographer’s ‘Enchanted Forest’ to grace Acadia park pass

acadia annual pass

“Enchanted Forest,” by John Kaznecki, will grace the 2017 Acadia park pass. One of more than 200 entries, this winning photo is of Hadlock Brook, downstream from Hemlock Bridge. (Photo by John Kaznecki)

It was foggy, drizzly and raw in early December, not the best weather for being outside. But to John Kaznecki, it turned out to be a near-perfect day for a photo of Acadia National Park.

A self-taught photographer, Kaznecki said he attempts to capture with his lens what others might miss in Acadia. And now that rainy-day photo will be on the 2017 Acadia park pass.

On his hike along a carriage road, Kaznecki came upon Hadlock Brook just downstream from the archway of the Hemlock Bridge. The waters were running through the arch and the fog helped create a sacred scene for a photo of Acadia National Park he named “Enchanted Forest,” he said.

“Everything seemed just right,” he said.

john kaznecki

John Kaznecki at Otter Cove in Acadia National Park. (Photo courtesy of John Kaznecki)

The photo he snapped won the 2017 Acadia park pass contest and will be featured on next year’s visitor’s pass to be purchased by thousands of visitors from all over the country. The park received more than 200 entries from 20 states for the Acadia park pass contest.

Like most good photos, his shot evokes a certain emotion with the rushing water and mystical fog. He said this photo of Acadia National Park was meant to be taken and makes people feel as if something may be on the other side of the bridge.

“You can see through the archway,” he said.  “When you look at the photo, you wonder what is through the archway. What is farther out there?” Continue reading

‘Hiking Acadia’ wins National Outdoor Book Award

Joining the ranks of such classic books as the “AMC White Mountain Guide” and “Walden,” the 3rd edition of “Hiking Acadia National Park” has just won the National Outdoor Book Award, considered the “outdoor world’s largest and most prestigious book award program.”

HIking Acadia National Park

The 3rd edition of our ‘Hiking Acadia National Park’ is available on Amazon.com, as well as directly from us.

In describing the guidebook to hiking Acadia, “a place that inspires and regenerates the soul,” the awards announcement states, “It’s all there in one compact package with thoughtful design, clear maps, and straightforward trail descriptions.”

The book, published by Falcon and co-authored by us, has also been submitted for consideration for the Acadia Bicentennial Time Capsule. The time capsule dedication, on Dec. 10, is an official Acadia Centennial event.

The awards program, in its 20th year, is sponsored by the non-profit National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, and Idaho State University.

hiking acadia

‘Hiking Acadia National Park’ won in the outdoor adventure guidebook category of the National Outdoor Book Awards.

The National Outdoor Book Awards recognizes books in such categories as outdoor adventure guidebooks (the category that “Hiking Acadia” won for 2016);  classic (the category that a republication of “Walden” won for 2004); and works of significance (the category that the “AMC White Mountain Guide” won for 2003).

The 2016 awards, announced Nov. 17, were judged by an independent panel of educators, academics, book reviewers, authors, editors and outdoors columnists from around the country, including the following from New England:

  • Tom Mullin, associate professor of parks and forest resources at Unity College in Unity, ME
  • Jeff Cramer, curator of collections at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods in Lincoln, MA
  • Virginia Barlow, consulting forester and co-founder of Northern Woodlands Magazine, of Corinth, VT

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Jordan Pond a special fall experience at Acadia National Park

One in a series of historic trail highlights celebrating the Acadia Centennial

The path around Jordan Pond is an ideal hike for any time of year but it is especially beautiful in the fall.

acadia national park hiking

Fall colors light up the shore of Jordan Pond and the Bubbles.

The fall colors around Jordan Pond are spectacular if you catch them at peak, as we did on Saturday, Oct. 15.

We especially enjoyed the classic view of the North and South Bubbles, looking north from the southern shore near the Jordan Pond House, the only restaurant in Acadia National Park.

The pond is crystal clear, maybe because it is a public water supply and no swimming is allowed. The authoritative ” Guide’s Guide to Acadia National Park” says Jordan Pond is the “clearest lake” in Maine, but that could be difficult to corroborate.

The twin mountains called the Bubbles rise from the shore of the pond. North Bubble, at 872 feet, is ranked No. 13 for highest among Acadia National Park’s 26 peaks and South Bubble, at 766 feet and home to the iconic Bubble Rock, is No. 16.

acadia national park hiking

South Bubble bears a bit of a resemblance to The Beehive from this angle on the eastern shore of Jordan Pond. Both were shaped by the same glacial forces.

Like other lakes in Acadia, Jordan Pond is glacial, formed in a valley and then walled by debris.

The  “Guide’s Guide” says the Jordan Pond area contains a beautiful collection of glacial features. The massive valley between Penobscot Mountain, on the west side, and Pemetic Mountain, on the east side, filled with water to create the pond.

“The southern shore, where the Jordan Pond House sits, is a glacial moraine formed from glacial debris deposits,” the guide says. “These deposits form a wall at the southern end of the valley and create a natural dam that holds back the waters of Jordan Pond.” Continue reading

Waldron’s Warriors: Foot soldiers for Acadia hiking trails

On weekdays, Tim Henderson is a computer repairman. Come the weekend, he’s a Waldron’s Warrior, part of an army of volunteers battling vandalism of Acadia hiking trails, and teaching people about the park’s unique stone trail markers known as Bates cairns.

acadia national park hiking

As a Waldron’s Warrior, Tim Henderson helps to educate people about Bates cairns, and fixes damage to the stone trail markers by vandals. (Photo courtesy of Tim Henderson)

Officially, Ellen Dohmen chairs the Bar Harbor appeals board and serves on the advisory board of Healthy Acadia. Unofficially, she’s the doyenne of Waldron’s Warriors, having trained Henderson of Castine, Dave Hollenbeck of Mount Desert, and a cadre of other caretakers of cairns along Acadia hiking trails.

During peak season, James Linnane works at a Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce information booth. Off-peak, he climbs tough trails like Sargent East Cliffs, fixing cairns as he goes.

About 20 strong this year, the crew of volunteers is the brainchild of Charlie Jacobi, park natural resource specialist, who’s been working to stop the vandalism of Bates cairns, and random rock stacking that violates Leave No Trace® principles.

“It’s an ongoing battle,” said Jacobi, who first came up with the phrase Waldron’s Warriors in 2004, invoking the spirit of Waldron Bates, the Bar Harbor pathmaker who designed the cairns in the early 1900s, to recruit volunteers. “Warriors needed.”

cadillac south ridge trail

A vandal smashed and destroyed the lintel, or horizontal platform, of this Bates cairn, on the Cadillac South Ridge Trail. (Photo by Tim Henderson)

But at times it seems like a losing battle, especially with increased visitation this Centennial year. And it’s not just Acadia that’s facing vandalism of historic and natural resources. A few weeks ago, Death Valley National Park’s iconic Racetrack was defaced by a vehicle that drove across the playa, creating tire tracks that may take years to disappear.

The only thing is to soldier on, and that’s what Waldron’s Warriors do. Continue reading

New Acadia National Park hiking group open to all

AT LOW TIDE ON THE SAND BAR TO BAR ISLAND – If not for their shared passion for Acadia National Park hiking trails, these very different people might never have met: A teacher, a ranger, a park volunteer, a personal trainer and a blogger.

acadia national park hiking

James Linnane, Shelley Dawson, Maureen Fournier, Acadia on My Mind and Kristy Sharp on the sand bar to Bar Island, where the new Acadia National Park Hiking group on Facebook was announced. (Photo courtesy of Kristy Sharp)

Here they were, hiking together as a group for the first time, on the sand bar to Bar Island, after an early breakfast at Jordan’s Restaurant in Bar Harbor.

Among nearly 300 people from around the world who’ve signed up for a free year-long 100-mile virtual Acadia Centennial Trek – where participants can log their hiking, biking or running miles wherever they are, and see their progress online on a map of Acadia – these 5 Acadia fans celebrated the park’s 100th anniversary in a special way on this low-tide hike last month.

To mark the occasion, the Acadia on My Mind blog, sponsor of the Trek as an official Acadia Centennial Partner, announced the creation of a new Acadia National Park Hiking group on Facebook, just as the 5 hikers neared the shore of Bar Island.

“What a good idea,” said James Linnane, volunteer crew leader for the Friends of Acadia, adding that he’s sometimes looking for someone to hike with on the spur of the moment, and that such a Facebook group could come in handy. Shelley Dawson (the teacher), Maureen Fournier (the ranger), and Kristy Sharp (the certified personal trainer) agreed.

acadia national park hiking

This photo of the Acadia Centennial Trek Medal, taken on the top of Cadillac, highlights the new Acadia National Park Hiking group page on Facebook. The medal can be purchased to help raise funds for Acadia, to mark any achievement, whether related to trekking Acadia or not.

Modeled on a couple of popular Facebook hiking groups for people hiking the 4000 footers of New Hampshire, with more than 9,000 members each, the Acadia National Park Hiking group is open to all. People can share trail conditions, hike suggestions, photos, videos and other information, whether they are veteran Acadia fans, or new to the park.

It can also be a central place for participants in the virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek to post their accomplishments, a photo of their optional finisher’s medal to help raise funds for the park, or to create an Acadia Centennial Trek meet-up for those who might want to hike some real Acadia trails together. Continue reading

The peregrine falcon has “great” year in Acadia, 11 chicks fly

UPDATE 7/29/2016: Park today announces reopening of Precipice, Jordan Cliffs and parts of Valley Cove Trails, and closure of 1-mile section of Valley Cove Trail between Flying Mountain and Man o’ War Brook because of deteriorating trail conditions.

A biologist at Acadia National Park said several popular hiking trails at Acadia National Park should open by early next week, following “a great” year for the peregrine falcon at the park.

Peregrine falcon chick

A peregrine falcon chick is held for banding in the spring (Photo by Keith Wozniak/Acadia National Park)

Bruce Connery, wildlife biologist at Acadia, said 11 peregrine falcon chicks fledged, or took their first flight, at the park’s three main nesting sites this year. That’s up from 7 for each of the prior two years at those sites.

He said the peregrine falcon nests at the Precipice on the east face of Champlain Mountain and Jordan Cliffs each produced four fledged falcons and the nest at Valley Cove, three.

“It is great,” he said in an interview on Wednesday. “We usually have good success at one site, sometimes two. It is a rare to have that kind of success at three sites.”

He said there was also a chick of the peregrine falcon at Ironbound Island this year with a photo taken by the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. The park holds a conservation easement on Ironbound, a privately owned island in Frenchman Bay.

Sign for closing Orange & Black Path for the peregrine falcon

This trail closure sign on the Orange & Black Path, shown in early July, will soon be coming down.

The Precipice Trail, the Jordan Cliffs Trail, part of the Orange & Black Path and the Valley Cove Trail, which were closed early this spring to protect the falcon chicks, should all open maybe this weekend or by early next week, he said. The trails usually do open in early August every year.

The park has not officially announced the date for reopening the trails and trail crews still need to approve some trail sections for safety reasons for hikers, he said. The park announced the trail closures in March. Continue reading

Acadia campers fired up over Schoodic Woods Campground

At the new Schoodic Woods Campground in Acadia National Park, Bill Mulvey paused to admire his site as he and his son, Pat, set up their tent last week.

Bill Mulvey of Phoenixville, Pa. and his son, Pat Mulvey, pitch their tent at the Schoodic Woods Campground.

Bill Mulvey of Phoenixville, Pa., left, and his son, Pat Mulvey of Philadelphia, right, begin pitching their tent at the Schoodic Woods Campground at Acadia National Park after arriving on the day of the 100th anniversary of Acadia.

Mulvey, a retired assistant manager for a supermarket company, said he reserved the site about a month before arriving on a Friday for the weekend and it was the only spot available at the “very popular” campground. Mulvey, of Phoenixville, Pa., and his son, a middle school teacher in Philadelphia public schools, are among people camping at the Schoodic Woods Campground during its first full season of operation.

“It’s beautiful,” he said, pointing to the greenery that buffers sites. “Look at these trees. This is great.”

Located on the dramatic Schoodic Peninsula, the only part of Acadia on the mainland, the 94-site campground opened on Sept. 1.

Schoodic Woods Campground

From left to right, Eleanor Goldberg and Malcolm Burson, both of Portland, Jon Luoma and Cathy Johnson, both of Alna, stand in their site at the Schoodic Woods Campground at Acadia National Park after a bike ride together on the 100th anniversary of Acadia National Park.

During a visit on the actual 100th anniversary of Acadia National Park, July 8, Mulvey and other campers lauded the new campground which includes 4.7 miles of new hiking trails and 8.3 miles of new bike paths styled after the park’s carriage roads on Mount Desert Island.

“The bike paths are great,” said Eleanor Goldberg of Portland, who teaches English as a second language in adult education. “They are wide.”

Goldberg joined Malcolm Burson, public policy advisor for the Conservation Law Foundation, Cathy Johnson, a project director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and Jon Luoma, a watercolor painter, for a planned two nights at the Schoodic Woods Campground. Continue reading

Dogs in Acadia get national park’s conditional love

When Maria Yoder traveled to some national parks in the West last year, she said she left behind her dog, Rory, because the parks ban pets from the trails.

hiking with dogs in Acadia

Maria Yoder with her dog, Rory, along the Compass Harbor Trail at Acadia National Park

As a dog owner, Yoder, a Bar Harbor resident, said she is pleased that she lives near Acadia National Park. The park is unusual among national parks in keeping dogs and owners united on the hiking trails and offering some great hiking for dogs.

“It’s a great place for people to come with their dogs,” Yoder said recently, while walking with her Shiba Inu on the Compass Harbor Trail in Acadia. “I really like it.”

In fact, of the 59 national parks, Acadia is among only a few – Shenandoah in Virginia is another – that allow dogs and other pets on trails, as long as they are leashed, according to the National Park Service.

Yoder, manager at Bar Harbor’s Made in the USA shop, said she became aware that Acadia is pet friendly when she researched her trip to the West and discovered that pets are banned from the trails in national parks such as Joshua Tree in California and Arches in Utah. Dogs are severely restricted in others such as Zion in Utah, which allows pets on only 1.5-mile trail and Yosemite, only a 2-mile paved trail.

dogs in acadia

People love petting Rory, with good reason.

Yoder keeps Rory on a leash and hikes trails such as Ocean Path, Gorham Mountain, Champlain Mountain and Great Head Trail.

“She is very popular,” she said. “People are always petting her.”

When they plan a trip to Acadia, dog owners are generally happy to discover that they don’t need to leave their pets at home or place them in a kennel if they want to hike. Continue reading

Grand Tour of Acadia Peaks: How many to hike in 1 day?

ask acadia on my mind

Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Another in a series of “Ask Acadia on My Mind!” Q&As

If you have a question about Acadia National Park on your mind, whether you’re a first-time visitor or long-time fan, leave a comment below, or contact us through the About us page. We may not be able to answer every question, or respond right away, but we’ll do our best. See our page linking in one place all the Q&As.

How many peaks is it possible to connect together in one day? We want to hike all of them when we arrive in September. Thank you. – Bonnie Jean

Dear Bonnie Jean,

That’s an ambitious goal to do what we like to call the Grand Tour of Acadia Peaks – hope you’re aiming for it as part of the free year-long 100-mile virtual Acadia Centennial Trek that we’re sponsoring, because you deserve an Acadia Centennial Trek Medal for it!

If you’re in good physical shape, get an early start each day, and have the right equipment, that Acadia National Park hiking goal should be achievable, especially if you make use of the Island Explorer bus that runs through Columbus Day.

Some park visitors and area residents have been fanatic enough to try to hike all Acadia peaks in a 24-hour period. But hopefully you have more than just 1 day to attempt the feat. It’s more fun to hike at a leisurely pace, taking in the sights and sounds along the way, rather than rushing to the top to bag another summit by a certain time.

acadia centennial

If you hike all 24 Acadia peaks with trails on them, that’s an accomplishment worth marking with an Acadia Centennial Trek Medal, even if you haven’t finished all 100 miles of the virtual Acadia Centennial Trek yet.

There are 26 peaks of Acadia on Mount Desert Island, according to a National Park Service list that used to be prominently featured on the park Web site. Two of them don’t have maintained trails to the top of them.

Assuming you don’t want to bushwhack and risk getting lost up McFarland and Youngs Mountains, and assuming you don’t plan on heading over to Schoodic or Isle au Haut for the Acadia peaks there, here are some suggested ways to connect Mount Desert Island peaks, estimated mileage, and Island Explorer routes to get you back to the start, or on to the next destination. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Meaning of the Trek, in the year of the Acadia Centennial

Roger and Julie Grindle of Hancock joined a virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek at the perfect time, with Roger having just retired, and the both of them wanting to walk more to stay fit. They just completed their 100th mile on Ocean Path last week and have the finisher’s medal to prove it.

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Julie and Roger Grindle of Hancock at the finish line of their 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek. (Photo courtesy of Julie Grindle)

Bob and Helena Herrmann of Bowie, Md., are into their 2nd and 3rd rounds of the Acadia Centennial Trek, logging their miles in their home state. When they see their map icon move along the virtual route, from the top of Cadillac and along the hiking trails and roads of Acadia, it makes them long for the next trip to their favorite park.

Cookie Horner, co-chair of the Acadia Centennial Task Force, and her husband, William, plan a personal real-life Acadia trek of 100 miles, up and over the 26 peaks of Mount Desert Island, and along the park’s carriage roads, to deepen their appreciation of the park even more, although they may not necessarily plot their mileage on the virtual map as the Grindles and Herrmanns have.

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Some of the attendees at the first-ever Acadia Centennial Trek meet-up at Side Street Cafe in Bar Harbor.

These and other stories, shared on the occasion of the first-ever Acadia Centennial Trek meet-up last week at Side Street Café in Bar Harbor, show the many meanings of the Trek, no matter who’s doing it, where they’re doing it, and how they’re doing it.

The free year-long Trek, sponsored by this blog as an official Acadia Centennial event, and hosted by Racery.com, offers an optional Acadia Centennial finisher’s medal for purchase. Made by Ashworth Awards, the same company that has made the finisher’s medal for the Boston Marathon and the MDI Marathon, the medal helps raise funds for the park.

Nearly 250 people have signed up for the virtual Trek so far, from marathoners in Scotland to runners in last weekend’s Acadia Half Marathon and this weekend’s Ellsworth Public Library’s My Way 5k, from walkers in Maine and Maryland to park rangers and Friends of Acadia volunteers. Even Racery.com CEO Henry Copeland (Trek name @hc) and Bar Harbor naturalist Rich MacDonald (Trek name @MDIbirdnerd) have joined in on the fun. Continue reading

Endangered falcons take the stage at Acadia National Park

Endangered falcons gave birth to 11 chicks this year at Acadia National Park and now are putting on a show for hundreds of visitors to the park.

endangered falcons

Park Ranger Andrew Wolfgang shows visitors the location of the endangered falcons and their nest during peregrine watch in Acadia National Park.

On Saturday alone, about 160 people stopped to catch the action of  the state-listed endangered falcons  at a “peregrine watch” site in the Precipice Trail parking area below a nest high on the east face of Champlain Mountain.

“We got a bird up,” said Park Ranger Andrew Wolfgang, pointing to the cliffs when one of the endangered falcons flew back to the nest after a brief absence. “It’s a really nice look at an adult in this scope right now.”

Wolfgang and Samuel Ruano, a peregrine falcon interpretive guide and raptor intern, supervised the use of two spotting scopes that allow visitors some excellent views of the peregrine falcons. Wolfgang and Ruano also spoke frequently to visitors about the history of the peregrines in the park and the need to temporarily close popular hiking trails to give the nestlings time to mature.

With the scopes, visitors could clearly see a peregrine falcon perched upright on the cliff face outside the nest or even the nestlings themselves.

“Amazing,” said Keith Spencer, a grade 7 English teacher in the public schools of Everett, MA, after he looked through the scope and saw a falcon. Continue reading

Following in the footsteps of George Dorr, “father of Acadia”

From the top of Cadillac to the garden-like paths around Sieur de Monts, from the stacks at Jesup Memorial Library to the labs of 2 major research institutions on Mount Desert Island, the presence of George Dorr can be felt.

george dorr

Ronald H. Epp’s biography of George Dorr is published by the Friends of Acadia.

Not only was Dorr the “father of Acadia,” he had a hand in creating Bar Harbor’s public library, the Wild Gardens of Acadia and surrounding paths, MDI Biological and Jackson laboratories, and Abbe Museum. George Dorr even played a role in renaming some of the 26 peaks of Acadia, among them Green and Robinson to the now-iconic Cadillac and Acadia mountains.

These, and other fascinating aspects of the life and impact of Dorr, can be found in historian Ronald H. Epp’s new Dorr biography, “Creating Acadia National Park,” published by the Friends of Acadia on the occasion of the park’s Centennial.

The more than 2 million visitors a year who come from across the country and around the world to admire the beauty of Acadia National Park have George Dorr, in large part, to thank. Yet Dorr’s story and the role he played in shaping Acadia, conservation, Mount Desert Island and beyond, have been largely untold – until now.

“Dorr was not a major historical figure,” writes Epp in his introduction to the first-ever biography of Dorr. “Nor was he recognized as an administrator jockeying for ever-more important positions of responsibility. Unlike John Muir, his published writings did not transform national policy.”

George B. Dorr is father of Acadia National Park

George Dorr’s spirit lives on in this historic photo, which was once on display at the Sieur de Monts area of  Acadia National Park.

Yet, Epp writes, “this grand old man of the National Park Service on Mount Desert Island brought about a federal investment in the conservation of nearly half the landmass of the island. The resultant loss of property tax revenue was offset by the ever-growing number of visitors that clearly contributed to village prosperity. At the county level, Dorr extended the scope of Acadia National Park beyond Mount Desert Island, to other shorelines and islands within Hancock County.”

The legacy of the Boston Brahmin and lifelong bachelor, who used his energy, connections and family wealth to create Acadia, lives on not only along the trails he helped build, from Beachcroft Path to Kurt Diederich’s Climb, or atop the coastal peaks and ridgelines he helped preserve.

Dorr’s gift to the generations can also be felt in the region’s cultural and scientific institutions, and even offers a perspective on the current debate over the attempt by Burt’s Bees founder Roxanne Quimby and family, to donate private land for a national monument or park in Maine’s North Woods. Continue reading