Tag Archives: blackwoods

Rescue on Pemetic Mountain in Acadia National Park

Acadia during the pandemic: crowds, rescues, no camping

Acadia National Park saw a sharp drop in visits in June, but crowds are steadily returning to Acadia during the pandemic, with rescues of hikers and recent closures to relieve traffic on Cadillac underlining plans for a dry run of a vehicle reservation system in October, Superintendent Kevin Scheider said this week.

acadia national park during the pandemic

Acadia amid COVID-19: Another in a series (NPS photo)

The test of the reservation system, announced before the pandemic struck, is scheduled for Oct. 1 to Oct. 18 and will require people to make reservations to drive and park at two locations –  Cadillac Mountain and past the Sand Beach Entrance Station to Ocean Drive and Sand Beach, Schneider said.

“With the pandemic in many respects I think it is going to be an even better year to do it,” Schneider said.

He said several other parks are using reservation systems this summer during the pandemic. To manage congestion, prevent crowding and achieve social distancing, Rocky Mountain and Yosemite national parks started vehicle reservation systems and Zion National Park is requiring new tickets on shuttles.

To access those two areas in Acadia during the dry run, the park will soon release information about how people can make reservations  at recreation.gov, the same online system currently used for reservations at National Park Service campgrounds and vehicle reservation systems at other parks, he said.

During a “Community COVID-19 Forum,” a Zoom webinar by the town of Bar Harbor, Schneider said online entrance pass sales have doubled this year for Acadia. He also discussed the closed Blackwoods and Schoodic Woods campgrounds, which on Wednesday were declared shut down by the NPS for all of 2020, dashing hopes they could open as early as Aug. 1.

The park’s two other campgrounds, Seawall and Duck Harbor on Isle au Haut, were earlier announced as not opening this year. As a reason, Schneider referred to the park’s shortage of custodians to clean bathrooms and the large number of people who share a bathroom at a campground.

schoodic woods

No camping at Schoodic Woods or any of the other Acadia campgrounds this year. (Image courtesy of Recreation.gov)

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Sieur de Monts Nature Center closed during pandemic

Acadia National Park during the pandemic: closures, delays

A view from Bubble Rock

A view from Bubble Rock

These stories are another installment in “A view from Bubble Rock,” a periodic collection of news items about Acadia National Park and related topics. If you have news you’d like included as part of the series, leave a comment below, or contact us through the “About Us” page.

When Patrice T. Robitaille, a Washington economist, returned to her native Maine, she thought of taking her 85-year-old mother to the dramatic coast of the Thompson Island Picnic Area in Acadia National Park this summer.  The family has some nice memories from the 1960s and 1970s when they would take the trip from their home in the Bangor area for a family picnic on Thompson Island or a visit to the nearby Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound.

But after driving to Acadia National Park during the pandemic, Robitaille said in a phone interview that she was surprised and disappointed to find only a locked gate at an entrance road to the island picnic area.

Known for its vast flats at low tide,  access to the shore and ocean views, the Thompson Island picnic area is located off a causeway on Route 3, about 10 miles north of the main part of the park on Mount Desert Island.

Thompson Island also has rest rooms with stalls and flush toilets and like all rest rooms, it needs to be cleaned more frequently during the pandemic. Thompson Island Picnic area is closed partly because Acadia National Park is dealing with a lean custodial staff to clean many park bathrooms and recently attempted without much luck to hire more custodians.

Parking at Thompson Island Picnic Area

The parking lot at the Thompson Island Picnic Area is empty while the area is closed during the pandemic at Acadia National Park.

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Maine quarantine order rocks Acadia vacations, life on MDI

UPDATED 6/9/2020: Gov. Janet Mills announced on June 8 a draft “Keep Maine Healthy” plan to provide an alternative to the 14-day Maine quarantine for out-of-state visitors, summary and links to the draft plan below. You can certify you received a negative COVID-19 test no earlier than 72 hours before your visit instead of quarantining on-site for 14 days, beginning July 1, according to the draft. Out-of-state day trippers or through travelers from New Hampshire and Vermont are exempt from all quarantine or negative COVID-19 test requirements immediately, and for Maine lodging beginning June 12.

For Deni Farr, who lives in a small town in South Carolina, it’s been an emotional roller coaster to plan an Acadia National Park visit during a Maine quarantine order, with ups and downs that often left her drained and unsettled.

covid-19

Acadia amid COVID-19: Another in a series (NPS photo)

Maine is requiring out of state tourists to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, and that is unrealistic for most short-term visitors like Farr. The quarantine is discouraging many and creating uncertainty and new doubts about vacations at Acadia National Park, which opened the Park Loop Road to traffic on June 1.

Last August, Farr and two friends reserved a cottage at Hutchins Cottages at Acadia in Southwest Harbor for a trip in June, but they just canceled those plans on advice of the owner. They now are booked for July when there is a chance the Maine quarantine order will be lifted or eased to allow outdoor activities like Acadia National Park hiking.

Deni Farr, shown while visiting Acadia National Park

Deni Farr with a canine friend, is shown while waiting for the fare-free shuttle Island Explorer during a 2016 visit to Acadia National Park. (Photo courtesy of Deni Farr)

It was upsetting to kill their initial plans, Farr said. All three women basically just want to hike and June would be be perfect for hiking in the only national park in the Northeast, she said.

“It’s been stressful,” said Farr, of Bluffton, South Carolina. “Are we going? Are we not going?”

The women switched car rental and plane tickets a couple of times and wrestled with packing toilet paper, food and spices to cope with the limits of the quarantine. They asked for a rental car with Maine license plates because of reports that some people in Maine are harassing outsiders.

Because people traveling into the state must comply with the Maine quarantine in an executive order by Gov. Janet Mills, Farr and thousands of others are changing or altering their plans for a vacation. The quarantine order, part of the effort to fight the spread of coronavirus, only allows people to leave isolation basically for medical reasons.

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Virtual race marks 100th of Acadia peaks, Millinocket library

A century ago, in two very different parts of Maine – the Acadia National Park of today and the once-booming mill town of Millinocket – these distinctly special events occurred:

acadia to katahdin virtual race

Are you up to the challenge? Virtually climb the 26 Acadia peaks, run the MDI and Millinocket Marathon and scale Katahdin twice? Help raise funds for charity and earn 1 or more medals? Sign up now (Image courtesy of Racery)

  • Acadia became the first eastern national park, and its “undistinguished” mountains got renamed as part of the effort, with Green now known as Cadillac and Newport as Champlain, among others
  • Millinocket established a library in memory of the native sons who lost their lives during World War I “for the rescue of human rights”

To mark the 100th anniversary of Acadia’s creation as a national park and the naming of iconic Acadia peaks, as well as to celebrate the Millinocket Memorial Library Centennial, a new Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race begins Aug. 2, to help raise funds for the two regions, and connect fans of these special parts of Maine, no matter where in the world they may live.

Sign up now and you can earn up to 4 different lobster and moose-themed medals for logging your running, hiking or walking miles anywhere in the world. Watch your avatar move on the virtual race map, along the 26 peaks of Acadia and the real-life Mount Desert Island and Millinocket Marathon & Half Marathon routes, and end atop Katahdin, Maine’s highest mountain.

New this year, the virtual race route features 8 specially themed segments, and even if you can’t complete all 328.5 miles by Dec. 31, you will get digital milestone postcards emailed upon finishing each of the following segments:

lobster medal

One of 3 classic virtual race medals featuring raised profiles of Katahdin and the Bubbles. The new 2019 Acadia to Katahdin Finisher Medallion, featuring a raised moose and lobster, will be unveiled soon. Start earning this medal now

  • 26 Acadia peaks (55.2 miles)
  • MDI Marathon & Half Marathon route (26.2 miles)
  • Millinocket Marathon & Half Marathon route, plus the first ascent of Katahdin (57.7 miles)
  • Acadia’s Park Loop Road (25.3 miles)
  • Schoodic National Scenic Byway (28.8 miles)
  • Stephen King-themed segment, from Deer Brook Trail in Acadia to University of Maine, Orono, with special stops in Ellsworth and Bangor (62 miles)
  • Acadia’s carriage road (37.3 miles)
  • Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, plus final ascent of Katahdin (36 miles)

Also new this year: Customized pindrops embedded in the virtual race map with special images and messages, highlighting 26 Acadia peaks and Millinocket, Baxter State Park and Katahdin Woods and Waters sites, and virtual racers’ past achievements – click on one of those red pindrops, and you might find yourself mentioned or pictured!

virtual races with medals

You can start earning a classic virtual race medal with a multiple moose ribbon now.

The pindrops also test your knowledge by asking “Where in Acadia?” and “Where in Millinocket?” and feature fun facts like at what time of year is Cadillac the first place to see the sun rise in the US – not the summer! – and how to avoid the lines by buying a park pass online. (Local businesses along or near the virtual race route can sponsor a customized pindrop with a photo and link to their website by contacting us.)

The virtual race runs from Aug. 2 through Dec. 31, and includes the entire real-life route of MDI Marathon & Half that’s happening Oct. 20, and the Millinocket Marathon & Half that’s happening Dec. 7. You can backdate running, hiking or walking miles to Aug. 2, if you happen to join after the start. And you don’t have to complete all 328.5 miles of the virtual race route to earn a medal.

Co-sponsored by Acadia on My Mind and organizers of the real-life MDI and Millinocket races, the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race is also the virtual edition of the Sea to Summit Series, where runners who participate in both the real-life MDI and Millinocket races can earn a special Sea to Summit finisher’s medallion.

virtual race

A detail of the 2019 Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race map. Click on any of the red pindrops and you might see one of the 26 Acadia peaks or a “Where in Acadia?” question. Sign up and see the interactive map here. (Image courtesy of Racery)

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Wanted: Acadia camping with a view, or in the backcountry

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.

1) Hi, I’m looking for a recommendation for a good camping site in Blackwoods in August with a view for my family of 4. It has been years since we have camped up there (before kids)! Thanks!Gia, of Colchester, Conn.

2) Hi! I’m planning my first trip to Acadia for the third week of April. I am currently looking for a generally primitive campsite where I can just bring my tent and needed supplies, but all the campsites I’ve checked on this list do not have any available sites according to https://www.recreation.gov/. I am hoping to find a place to camp that’s the closest to primitive or backcountry camping that I can find. Do you have any suggestions, know of any other places I should be looking for site availabilities or know of any campsites that are definitely available? Thank you! – Maud Rydell, Hope Valley, R.I.

Dear Gia and Maud, glad to see you’re both planning ahead for Acadia camping!

acadia camping

The official Blackwoods camping map shows the A and B loops. (Image courtesy of recreation.gov)

Blackwoods, the only Acadia National Park campground that is open year-round, is wooded and offers 217 tent-only non-electric sites, 60 RV electric and 4 group non-electric sites.

Gia, while there aren’t any water or mountain views to be had directly from sites at Blackwoods, some are more private, others are closer to bathrooms, and yet others provide more direct access to trails, as you can see from the Acadia camping map.

Another resource that we’ve come across in our Internet research that you might find helpful: A Web site, www.campsitephotos.com, that shows a photo of every Blackwoods campsite, in both the A and B loops.

And since it’s been years since you’ve been to Blackwoods, Gia, you’ll want to know about the Quarry and Otter Cove Trails, which opened just in 2014. They provide direct access to Gorham Mountain and Ocean Path, and you can find the trailhead across from the campground entrance station.

acadia national park

The Quarry and Otter Cove Trails, opened just in 2014, lead from Blackwoods Campground, past Otter Cove, as seen here, and on to Gorham Mountain and Ocean Path.

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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 of 2015.

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.

The campground was made possible by an anonymous donation of 1,400 acres south of Route 186 to the park in 2011, preventing it from being developed into a possible resort.  The anonymous donor also paid for planning and design, construction and furnishing of the beautiful Schoodic Woods Campground, 100-seat amphitheater, ranger station and visitor center, maintenance building,  multipurpose paths, new hiking trails, an underground utility line along the main road and a causeway bike lane and bridge.

During a visit on the actual 100th anniversary of Acadia National Park, July 8 in 2016, 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

Camping in Acadia National Park? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

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.

1) Appreciate your time to help us out. We will be first timers to Acadia. We’re going the end of July for 4 days and have made tent reservations at Blackwoods Campground. It will be just my wife and I. We’ve bought our 2 man tent ahead of time. We are 50 and in pretty good health for hiking/biking. We usually camp in a pop up but are tenting to save on travel and cost and for the convenience of not trailering. A few questions:
– Does it get cold for tent camping in July?
– We like to bike – is biking a good option to get around and see the sites?
– Is swimming an option nearby to Blackwoods?
– Can you recommend a good place to have lobster?
– Given we’re only there 4 nights, what would be the top 3 destinations we should hike or ride to?
Thanks so much for your help. – Steve and Janet

2) Hi, we were just wondering if it is possible to stay on a non-electric RV site in a tent only? Thanks! – Anna

3) We (family of 5) are thinking about visiting Acadia next week before the Island Explorer shuttle is running, but we are traveling in an RV. How difficult is it to maneuver through the park in an RV, or is there a place to park it and ride bikes in order to see the park? Can you bike to Bar Harbor easily? – Jaymi

Dear Steve and Janet, Anna, and Jaymi,

Of your 3 camping in Acadia National Park questions, we have to say Anna’s is the most unusual. Why would you want to tent out on a non-electric RV site? The only reason we could think of: Is it because all the tent-only sites for the dates you’re looking for are booked?

camping in acadia national park

Blackwoods features 214 tent sites and 61 RV sites. (NPS photo)

In any event, Anna, we called Blackwoods Campground, where there are 61 non-electric RV sites, to ask that very question. As long as you set up the tent on the RV pad, you can, indeed, stay on a non-electric RV site, according to the park ranger. Policies may vary by campground, so you might want to check the campground you’re planning on staying at.

The Blackwoods direct line is (207) 288-3274; Seawall, (207) 244-3600; and Schoodic Woods, (207) 288-1300, according to the official campground reservation Web site, www.recreation,gov.

But as you may know, you cannot make tenting or RV reservations by calling the park campgrounds directly. For that, you must go to www.recreation.gov, or call the National Recreation Reservation Service at (877) 444-6777. You can also find out more details about camping in Acadia National Park through the park’s Web site. Continue reading

Bicycling Acadia carriage roads? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park helped prove the Ice Age

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 new page linking in one place all the Q&As.

Hi, we are making our first trip to Acadia  June 26 – July 8. We will camp at Blackwoods. Is it possible to bike from the campground to the carriage roads? Concern is with vehicle traffic and if there is sufficient road shoulder. Thanks. – Jay Miller, Brighton, Mich.

Dear Jay,

Great timing for your first trip to Acadia. Not only is it the Centennial year – your final day is the actual 100th anniversary. Plus, you’re arriving soon after the fare-free Island Explorer bus starts running for the season, on June 23, giving you more options to get around the park car-free.

Island Explorer bus in Acadia National Park

While the Island Explorer bus is fare-free, be sure to get an Acadia National Park visitor pass to help support that and other park services. The Bicycle Express goes from Bar Harbor Village Green to Eagle Lake section of carriage roads. (NPS photo)

You have a couple of options for bicycling Acadia carriage roads from Blackwoods Campground. You can bike along the Park Loop Road for 3 miles to the carriage roads, or take the bikes on the Island Explorer not only to the carriage roads, but also even to the Schoodic section of the park, where new bike trails opened last year.

From the campground, there’s a short 0.1 mile dirt path that you can walk your bikes down to the 1-way Park Loop Road. Bike along the right-hand lane of the 2-lane road, following the traffic. Go under the ME 3 overpass, and at the next overpass, you’ll reach the junction with the carriage road system near Day Mountain. Walk your bike up the dirt path to the carriage road at intersection 17.

This 3-mile section of the Park Loop Road between Blackwoods and the carriage road system would be a less busy part of the 1-way road than the section over by Sand Beach and Thunder Hole, where cars often park along the right-hand lane, making it difficult to bicycle. And biking the Park Loop Road, where the posted speed limit is no more than 35 miles per hour, is certainly safer than trying to bike along the shoulder of ME 3.

This section of the Park Loop Road also offers access to Little Hunters Beach, reached by a hidden set of stairs on the left side of the road, about 1 mile from Blackwoods. Park your bikes and explore. There is also a new wayside exhibit here describing the area. Continue reading

Camping or cruise ship question? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park helped prove the Ice Age

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 new page linking in one place all the Q&As.

1) So I am planning on visiting Acadia the weekend of Oct. 24th this year. I am coming from Boston so leaving Friday afternoon and camping Friday and Saturday night. How crowded do you think the campsite will be? I was going to stay at Blackwoods and I hear that it’s pretty tightly packed with not much room between tents. I was hoping since I am going pretty late in the year that it won’t be very crowded and I can get some quiet time to relax by the fire. I am not much of a hiker, just like to take pictures and enjoy the quiet. Any advice you can give would be great. Thanks. – Robert F. of Boston

Blackwoods campground

Blackwoods Campground is open year-round, with 214 tent sites and 61 RV sites. (NPS photo)

2) We are arriving on Holland America and will be in Bar Harbor from 7am – 3 pm. 7 adults (good shape) would like to do some hiking in Acadia – an hour or so hike. We would like to take the public bus as transportation round trip. Can you suggest which bus to take from near the pier and trails to hike? Thank you! – Lynn M.

Dear Robert and Lynn,

Your questions are good ones, and illustrate the broad appeal that Acadia has, whether to campers looking to rough it a couple of nights, or cruise ship passengers getting off in Bar Harbor for a few hours. Thanks for asking them! Continue reading

First-time visitor to Acadia? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park helped prove the Ice Age

Ask Acadia on My Mind!

With this blog post, we’re launching a new feature answering questions, whether from a first-time visitor to Acadia National Park or a seasoned veteran. If you have a question about Acadia on your mind, 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. Thanks to Ryan for reaching out to us with this first question, about park campgrounds, for “Ask Acadia on My Mind!” Whether you’re a first-timer or a regular visitor, feel free to ask us a question about our favorite national park! See our new page linking in one place all the Q&As in this series.

Hello, I am planning a 3-day visit and either staying at Blackwoods or Seawall campgrounds. I am mostly a backwoods primitive tent camper and never gone RV camping so the campground thing and Acadia [are] foreign to me. Seawall looks nice and secluded but is nowhere near some of the attractions….. I guess my question revolves about getting around once I am there. Once in the park to reach the trailheads I am guessing I will have to drive and park at these. Coming from Seawall it seems like a good distance for some of the trails. Would parking be a problem at the various trailheads? Is it easy to go from one of these campgrounds to Bar Harbor or another of those small towns to grab something to eat and come back? Do I have to reenter the park? And if so, do you have to wait in line to reenter? I read that you need to purchase a 7-day park entrance pass. Where do you purchase that? Even if I make reservations to the campground, should I still be trying to arrive very early to enter the park?

Dear Ryan,

Thanks for being the reason we launched this new “Ask Acadia on My Mind” feature!

Blackwoods campground

Blackwoods has 275 tent and RV sites (NPS photo)

Most of our camping has been backwoods tenting as well, but because Acadia doesn’t allow backpacking, public or private campgrounds are the only way to go for tenting out.

If this is your first-time visit to Acadia and you want to hike the best-known trails on Mount Desert Island, the closest park campground would be Blackwoods. Even though it is not as secluded as Seawall, and the sites aren’t as spread out as in the drive-up Loop B section of Seawall you’ve been looking at, there are some advantages to Blackwoods, especially if you’ve only got 3 days and don’t want to do a lot of driving around. Continue reading