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March 2015 E-News

Sand Beach Perspective by Ian Carbone
Dear Friends:

Spring has started in Acadia, even if you still have to go below the high-tide mark (like Sand Beach, above) to find bare ground. While the record-breaking snow hangs on, woodchucks are emerging from dens this week, loons are shifting into their black & white breeding plumage, and a migrant turkey vulture showed up just this morning. Vultures, like many migrating birds, use Acadia’s Cadillac Summit to navigate their way up the coast. If sailors can spot the peak from 60 miles away at sea level, imagine from what distance those keen-eyed scavenger birds can see it!

It’s spring at FOA as well, with most of our seasonal hiring complete and planning for the 16th annual Earth Day Roadside Cleanup well underway. It will be held Saturday, April 25, and online preregistration is open. Individuals, families, and business groups all agree: it’s a great way to get outside and make this beautiful place even more lovely!

We hope you have a chance to enjoy the changing of the seasons, no matter where you are. And we hope that your spring and summer plans include some time in Acadia—to enjoy the fruits of Friends of Acadia’s work to protect this magnificent park. After all, our success is yours, too, and we thank you for being a part of it.


Donate now!Help FOA Make Our Spring Membership Match: Last Friday we asked all current FOA members to help us “double the love” for Acadia by making a membership gift toward our $10,000 Spring Membership Match. A small circle of dedicated park lovers has pledged a $10,000 challenge grant that we must match by next Monday, March 30.

We’re almost there! If you’ve already made a challenge gift—thank you for your generosity and commitment! Now we’re asking all of our online community to help us raise the final $2,500 so that our challenge donors will match the full $10,000. Please donate now—we have just 5 more days. We’ll post an update here when we make our goal. Thank you!

Update 3/27: We did it! Thank you to everyone who helped us to reach the $10,000 goal—we’re fortunate to have such a committed group of friends. If you missed the chance to help make the match, you can still make a donation now and contribute to a strong spring membership drive. Members, send your donation by April 6 and we won’t snail-mail you a renewal letter—good for you, good for us, good for the environment, and especially good for Acadia!


Seasonal Road Openings in the Park: In a recent press release, Acadia Superintendent Sheridan Steele noted that “Maine has experienced record-breaking snowfall this year and we are still trying to find places to put all this snow as we try to clear roads. The park is open but some of the roads and facilities may still be covered by snow and ice.”

The Park Loop Road usually opens April 15 but may be delayed this year, and the road may not be safe for cyclists before it opens. If you’re on the Loop Road before it opens, expect heavy equipment on the road and watch for ice. The carriage roads are usually closed around the first two weeks in April to prevent damage while they dry out. This year, those dates may advance further into April depending on the freeze/thaw cycle. Signs will be posted at carriage road entrances—please observe them and help protect that magnificent resource!

For the current status of park roads and facilities, you can call 207-288-3338 or visit Acadia’s website: www.nps.gov/acad/playyourvisit/conditions.htm


Aquatic scientists collect data from the Jordan Pond Water-quality BuoyCanon Supports a Third Year of Wild Acadia: Canon U.S.A., a leader in digital imaging solutions, has renewed its monetary and in-kind support for Friends of Acadia’s “Wild Acadia” for 2015, enabling important work to continue in water-quality monitoring, invasive plant management, and the Acadia Youth Technology Team.

Friends of Acadia Development Director Lisa Horsch Clark says, “We’re grateful for Canon’s commitment to natural resources protection at Acadia National Park. Their support is allowing important programs to move forward that will make a real and lasting difference for this special place.”

For the past two years, Canon’s funding has enabled a partnership program that installed an advanced water-quality measurement buoy in Jordan Pond; has expanded the park’s Exotic Plant Management Team, enabling the park to treat 27 of the most highly invasive exotic plants; and has provided equipment that has helped the Acadia Youth Technology Team to discover new technology tools to connect visitors with Acadia’s natural environment. More details about the Canon partnership and Wild Acadia plans for this year will be in the spring 2015 Friends of Acadia Journal, to be published at the end of April.


A cyclist and runner enjoy a car-free moment on Cadillac MountainCar-Free Mornings in Acadia: Acadia National Park will pilot the idea of “car-free mornings” on the park’s motor roads this year, with two Saturday mornings, spring and fall, selected to test the concept: May 16 and September 26, 2015.

In May, the the Cadillac Summit Road and the Park Loop Road—except the section from the Stanley Brook Road to the Jordan Pond House—will be closed to all autos except official park vehicles. In September, Island Explorer buses and concessions-operated buses will be operating on the Loop Road. No cruise ships are scheduled to be in Bar Harbor on either day. Park gates will close at midnight the night before each test and will re-open at noon on both days. The fee booth at Sand Beach may be staffed on May 16, but they won’t start charging entrance fees until the road fully opens at noon; September 26 is fee-free for National Public Lands Day. All users will be expected to follow one-way traffic rules, and any rollerbladers, roller-skiers, and skateboarders should complete these activities by noon.

Friends of Acadia and Bike MDI volunteers will assist park staff at many road entrances to explain the situation and help out any motorists who unexpectedly find themselves at locked gates. In addition, Friends of Acadia will help fund stepped-up Island Explorer service to meet the anticipated increase in demand during September’s car-free morning. As part of a comprehensive transportation planning process initiated in 2014, the two car-free mornings will allow park planners to evaluate visitor response, any challenges, and potential benefits.


Acadia Winter Trails

We don’t have many winters like this one in Acadia. Cross-country skiers have enjoyed more than two solid months of skiing, and the grooming volunteers of the Acadia Winter Trails Association have done a phenomenal job of keeping up. The ANP maintenance staff, too, have put in many hours keeping our grooming equipment purring.

Though there’s plenty of snow still on the carriage roads, it’s time for those ANP staffers to focus on clearing the Park Loop Road and otherwise preparing Acadia for spring openings. That means that very soon we will have to stop all grooming. This will also promote melting on the carriage roads, so they can dry out for cycling! We will post an announcement on our website when grooming is finished for the season.

Acadia Teacher Fellowships

Friends of Acadia, with the help of a private donor who is passionate about kids and education, will support the Acadia Teacher Fellowship program (formerly called the Teacher-Ranger-Teachers) once again this summer, helping to bring seven talented public-school educators from all over the country to the park for a season of hands-on workshops, experiences, and lesson-building. They will return to their home classrooms in the fall, bursting with tools and enthusiasm to share Acadia and our national parks with their students.

The deadline for applications to be an Acadia Teacher-Fellow is next Tuesday, March 31. Please visit the park’s website for application information.

“Nature is also great fun. To pretend that nature isn’t fun is to miss much of the joy of being alive.” — Diane Ackerman

Header Photo: Sand Beach Perspective, March 18, 2015. Courtesy of Ian Carbone.