Another in a series of historic trail highlights leading up to the Acadia Centennial
If not for the building of Kurt Diederich’s Climb 100 years ago, there may not have been an Acadia Centennial to celebrate in 2016.
In the spring of 1914, George B. Dorr, the “father of Acadia,” failed in his initial attempt to get President Woodrow Wilson to create a national monument, to protect the mountains of Mount Desert Island that he and so many others loved.
The reason: Too many disconnected parcels of land, according to “Pathmakers: Cultural Landscape Report for the Historic Hiking Trail System of Mount Desert Island,” by the National Park Service’s Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation, and Acadia National Park.
That spurred a campaign by Dorr and others to connect the land, by securing donation of more acreage to fill in the gaps, and building a network of trails like Kurt Diederich’s Climb, Kane Path, Precipice Trail, Beachcroft Path and Homans Path, according to “Pathmakers.” That finally created a cohesive whole worthy of federal protection. Acadia’s beginning was secured on July 8, 1916, with President Wilson’s designation of Sieur de Monts National Monument.
As Acadia’s Centennial approaches, here’s an appreciation of Kurt Diederich’s Climb, and of the driving forces that helped build and maintain it. Like with so much of Acadia’s history, the story behind Kurt Diederich’s Climb highlights the love so many people have had for Mount Desert Island over the years, and the ongoing struggle to protect the landscape.
The elaborate stone-stepped trail begins at the outlet of the Tarn, and climbs swiftly up the east face of Dorr Mountain, along hundreds of stone steps. The words “Kurt Diederich’s Climb” are carved into one of the steps at the start. A plaque with the phrase “In memory of Kurt Diederich who loved these mountains” once graced the trail, and is now held at park headquarters, according to “The Memorials of Acadia National Park,” by Donald P. Lenahan, who also writes a blog of the same name. Continue reading