2013 Friends of Acadia Annual Report
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age when creative and effective leadership flourished locally, it was the age when governmental partisanship and gridlock flourished nationally; it was a season of bold new projects, it was a season of terrible cutbacks; there were hiring freezes in the park, there were exciting new FOA-supported personnel; it was a spring of volunteer-powered response to sequestration, it was an autumn of citizen-advocate response to the shutdown—in short, with apologies to Mr. Dickens, the year 2013 was a year of remarkable opposites that highlighted the power and value that local, independent park partners like Friends of Acadia have to benefit our national parks.
For example: although Acadia lost $390,000 from its 2013 operations budget due to sequestration, the park was able to move ahead with important projects for natural resource protection (see page 3) and youth engagement (page 5). Projects like these—like efforts to control potentially devastating invasive plant species in the park—can’t wait for a better funding cycle a few years down the road. They need to be aggressive now in order to succeed, and Friends of Acadia’s flexibility and committed donors allowed Acadia to move forward instead of losing ground. Similarly, maintenance crews for Acadia’s historic trails and carriage roads could rest assured that essential upkeep wouldn’t be skipped, thanks to conservation grants and thousands of hours of volunteer and Youth Conservation Corps labor (page 10) that Friends of Acadia provided last year and every year.
Friends of Acadia’s efforts in 2013 weren’t all about forestalling disaster; we’re equally proud of forward-looking work to ensure a better future for this magnificent place. Work like the launch of the Acadia Centennial Task Force (page 9), which aims to generate a yearlong, community-powered, and energy-building celebration of Acadia’s 100th anniversary in 2016, or Friends of Acadia’s advocacy efforts (page 10) that encourage federal policies to ensure a stronger national park system for the next hundred years. And while we’re asking Congress to get the park system’s fiscal house in order, we’re glad to report that Friends of Acadia’s own house is in good shape, finishing 2013 with a positive operating budget and an all-time high for membership—recording 3,725 members by the end of the year! That’s almost four thousand individuals, families, and businesses who love Acadia National Park and trust Friends of Acadia to use their membership dollars to make a real and lasting difference for this magnificent place. Thank you for your confidence and your support.
As we write this, it is late spring in Acadia and the forested slopes of Champlain, Beech, and all Acadia’s mountains are clothed in a delicate gauze of reds and greens reaching down to fringe Acadia’s pink granite shores. May you experience the best of times—right here, right now—while enjoying the inspiration of Acadia this year.
Edward L. Samek, Chairman of the Board
David R. MacDonald, President and CEO