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Reopening the historic vistas of Acadia National Park

UPDATE 12/11/14: Added links to Acadia National Park Service page showing all historic views being restored, and new Friends of Acadia article on the project, at bottom of article.

For the first time in years, there’s once again a spectacular view at Schooner Head Overlook in Acadia National Park, out toward Egg Rock and its lighthouse, and across Frenchman Bay to Schoodic Peninsula.

Schooner Head Overlook view blocked

BEFORE – This was one of up to 100 trees blocking the view from Schooner Head Overlook.

On a recent Monday, with chainsaw in hand, Charlie Sanborn took down one of the last of the up to 100 trees blocking that easterly view. As he, Earl Smith, Ryan Meddaugh and Curtis Emerson, all part of the Acadia road maintenance crew, wrapped up for the afternoon, they stepped back and admired their handiwork.

Schooner Head Overlook panoramic view

AFTER – Taken from the same exact spot as the “before” picture, under partly sunny skies the following day, with the now-open view to Egg Rock and its lighthouse, and across Frenchman Bay to Schoodic Peninsula.

“It’s been a long time” since the view was visible, said Sanborn. “You couldn’t see the lighthouse before,” said Smith. The crew returned the next day to expand the vista toward Champlain’s Precipice, at the western end of the overlook parking lot.

Opening back up the panorama from Schooner Head Overlook is part of a grand plan to rehabilitate 30 historic vistas along the Park Loop Road, existing pull-outs and parking lots, according to Robert Page, director of the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation in Boston, part of the National Park Service. Continue reading