Acadia National Park hiking trails received a special honor on Friday when they were added to the National Register of Historic Places, closing an effort that park officials launched more than 20 years ago, and establishing the largest hiking trail system on the federal list of places worth preserving.
Placed on the register as “The Mount Desert Island Hiking Trail System, ” the Acadia National Park network consists of 109 maintained trails and paths covering about 117 miles. The Acadia hiking trails system also includes 18 memorial plaques or markers along the trails and 12 iconic viewpoints from the trails, according to the system’s sweeping nomination report for the historic register.
“Acadia National Park now has the largest system of trails to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places,” Kevin Schneider, Superintendent of Acadia National Park, said. “This recognition is a testament to not only the historic significance of these trails, but also the incredible dedication of the National Park Service staff, partners and volunteers who continue to preserve them.”
The system of trails is historically significant partly because of its strong connections to the Hudson River School of artists in the mid-1800s and the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.
Gary Stellpflug, longtime foreman of the Acadia trails crew who worked on the nomination, confirmed the approval on the national register of historic places, calling it “very exciting” and worthy of “fireworks and champagne.”
“We had a lot of people pushing for it,” Stellpflug said. “I feel incredibly elated. It’s been a long time coming. This trail system deserves that recognition and protection.”