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E-News January 2014

Somes Sound and Acadia Mountain
Dear Friends:

Happy New Year!

2013 was a year of both serious challenges and important achievements for Friends of Acadia and Acadia National Park. Sequestration in the spring and a government shutdown in October significantly impacted visitor access and reinforced concerns for Acadia’s future. But powerful new water-quality monitoring equipment was launched in Jordan Pond, new or revamped bus stops and connector trails are opening new options for car-free exploration of Acadia, and a historic conservation easement was placed on the vital tract of land bordering Acadia at Schoodic—a milestone nearly two decades in the making.

Now we’re looking ahead to 2014 and the ongoing work of strategizing and enacting plans to make Acadia the most resilient, well protected, and well cared-for park it can be. The challenges have never been greater but our members, volunteers, supporters, and partners are committed and energized to tackle them head-on. Thank you for being among them!

We’re wishing you many memorable, tranquil, exhilarating, and just plain enjoyable moments in Acadia this year.


Skate skiing around Witch Hole PondCross-Country Skiing in Acadia: Old man winter is holding nothing back in Acadia this season—snow storms, ice storms, and single-digit temperatures have Acadia-area residents wondering what’s next. But the great news is that all this winter weather is offering some fantastic skiing, and the volunteers of the Acadia Winter Trails Association (AWTA) are making it happen. With funding from Friends of Acadia and maintenance support from the park, these dedicated volunteers groom Acadia’s historic carriage roads for some of the most scenic cross-country skiing anywhere.

If you need an extra incentive to get out, FOA, the park, and the AWTA volunteers will be sponsoring a first-ever 10+k Cross-Country Ski Challenge on Saturday, January 25 (conditions permitting). Skiers will run an out-and-back course on the carriage roads. The three fastest times will receive a 2014 ANP park pass, a map, and an FOA membership package. The event is designed to be fun for skiers of all ages and abilities. Participants must provide their own equipment.

 


A Special Place in Trenton: Friends of Acadia is pleased to share the news that a 216-acre gift has been accepted by the Town of Trenton and its residents. At the Trenton Selectmen’s meeting on December 10, FOA president David MacDonald and conservation director Stephanie Clement formally donated a parcel of land located behind the Acadia Gateway Center on Route 3 to the Town of Trenton. Prior to transfer of the land to the Town, FOA worked with its partners at Maine Coast Heritage Trust to draft a set of permanent conservation restrictions for the property that prevent development and ensure its long term availability for public benefit and conservation values, such as wildlife, recreation, or resource-sensitive timber harvests by the town.

The property was part of the “Crippens Creek” land that FOA purchased in 2007; after selling a portion to the Maine DOT to construct the Acadia Gateway Center, FOA enlisted community volunteer support to construct a recreational trail through the remaining portion, providing public access to the intact woodland and dwarf shrub bog hidden in Trenton’s interior. Featuring a bridge over a tranquil forest stream and a boardwalk and viewing platform out to the bog, the trail was inaugurated last spring and saw significant use during its first summer.

 


Cadillac Sunrise by Rich JohnsonSunrise on Cadillac: How did you ring in the New Year? No doubt, some went for splashy all-night parties while some raised a quiet toast (or cheer) at midnight in their own living room. Some slept in this morning. And, almost certainly, some hardy souls marked the first sunrise of 2014 from the summit of Cadillac Mountain.

In wintertime, Cadillac’s peak is the first place to see the sun in the United States so there’s no wonder it’s a draw on New Year’s morning and throughout the colder months. It’s a memorable achievement but a potentially dangerous one, especially when snow and ice cover the trails and temperatures plummet. If you aspire to catch a Cadillac sunrise this winter, be prepared for extreme weather and think safety first. These tips were prepared with assistance from the Acadia park rangers and the winter hiking guidelines at http://www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/winteractivities.htm.

• Knowing the weather forecast is essential. Conditions can change quickly. Wind, wet, and cold = hypothermia, which can be a killer even at 30–50 F (-1–50 C).
• Hike with a buddy. To catch a sunrise you must start well before first light, and hiking in the dark adds its own risks. Consider following the Cadillac auto road, which is generally packed by snowmobiles and easier to travel on.
• Equipment should include: Socks, boots, hat, gloves, rain gear, gaiters, trekking poles, headlamp, water, food, compass and map, first aid kit, firestarter, and emergency bivy gear. Layer clothes to regulate temperature. Your inner layer should wick perspiration.
• Feet and hands get cold first; be alert for frostbite.
• Drink plenty of water. Eat high energy foods.
• Acadia’s trails are very icy. A 4–6 inch (10–15 cm) snow cover makes hiking somewhat safer. Some trails are nearly impassible without shoe traction, an ice ax, or other gear. Ask about conditions.
• Route finding on trails can be a problem. Blue blazes and rock carins may be under snow and ice. Have a map, GPS and compass and know how to use them. The visible packed trail may be a “lost rabbit” trail blazed by others. Always double-check to make sure you’re on the correct trail.
• Cell phones are great, but can’t replace proper equipment and planning. Many spots (even on Cadillac) have no reception.
• Be prepared for a prolonged response. In the winter it takes additional time for rescuers to gear up and respond safely in adverse conditions.


Westside Challenge Update: We’re very pleased to report that 21 Westside trail devotees “stepped up” and helped us to raise the $5,000 needed for the 2013 Westside Challenge. Many thanks to all donors, and a great big thanks to our anonymous challenge donor who continues to inspire stewardship on the trails of Mount Desert Island’s quieter western side.

Acadia Centennial Logo Contest: Calling all artists and graphic designers! Friends of Acadia and Acadia National Park invite you to design a logo celebrating the park’s 100th anniversary in the year 2016. The winning entry in the Acadia National Park Centennial Celebration Logo Contest will receive a prize of $3,000 and their design will appear on publications, merchandise, online, and elsewhere throughout the centennial celebration. The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2014. The entry fee is $30; entrants may submit up to three designs with one entry fee. For complete rules, visit http://friendsofacadia.org/events/acadia-national-park-centennial-logo-contest/.

Header Photo: Acadia Mountain and Somes Sound. FOA photo by Aimee Beal Church.

“There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance.” —William Sharp