Tag Archives: puffin

Of puffins, wilderness and Acadia National Park

See Sept. 3 legislative update at bottom of post

Here is the original story:

People love puffins so much that visitors to Acadia National Park often ask rangers where they can see them, even though the seabirds with the colorful beaks are too far offshore to be visible.

It seems Atlantic puffins are to Maine what polar bears are to Alaska.

Atlantic puffins are listed as threatened in Maine

Atlantic puffins are listed as threatened in Maine. (US Fish and Wildlife Service photo)

Yet despite the public interest in puffins, and with Sept. 3 marking the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, a bill to extend wilderness protection to some of Maine’s puffin islands has languished in Congress for years.

When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act on Sept. 3, 1964, the United States became the first country in the world to define and protect wilderness. Among the wilderness definitions embodied in the act: “…an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

In Maine, from Acadia National Park to the North Woods, from Kittery to Caribou, and even along the so-called 100-Mile Wilderness of the Appalachian Trail, there’s very little federally designated wilderness, a fraction of 1 percent.

Since 2005, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed that 13 Maine coastal islands, some near Acadia, become part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, the strongest form of federal protection. This would better preserve some puffin habitat, but Congress has yet to act. Continue reading