Helping to Make Acadia More Inclusive & Accessible

Friends of Acadia finds it critically important to ensure that all Americans gain equitable access to fully experience one of our nations’ most beloved parks, Acadia National Park.

friends of acadia

We acknowledge that barriers must be broken down so national parks become a more welcoming space to communities of color, and we support reducing financial challenges to increase visitors from those communities.

We know this work must be intentional, relationship-based, and co-created with the groups that we hope to engage with year-after-year.

Alongside staff education and organizational evolution, Friends of Acadia will continue to expand equitable programming and accessible visitor experiences to new communities exploring Acadia National Park, for the first time, and hopefully, many repeat visits.

Urban Youth Grants

Friends of Acadia began partnering with Park Journeys in 2017 to bring urban youth organizations to Acadia National Park. These youth are participants of strong community programs that create a range of cultural and outdoor experiences that build upon each other.

Youth begin by visiting local parks, then state parks, and finally a national park such as Yellowstone or Acadia over the course of a season or full year. Once youth return home, they share their experience with the community through art, music, presentation, mentorship, and more. Park Journeys groups travel to Acadia from Ohio and North Carolina with financial assistance from Friends of Acadia. Both groups spend a week in Acadia exploring, learning, and happily expanding their horizons.

Since 2019, Friends of Acadia awarded this grant to another organization, Groundwork Bridgeport of Connecticut. This group focuses on environmental stewardship youth projects in their local community, so their well-trained youth readily dug into trail work projects while visiting Acadia National Park.

The group also takes time to enjoy the park via hiking, biking, kayaking, etc. Most of the youth from both organizations have never traveled far from home before, camped out, or visited a national park. We hope many of these students return with their families and friends in the future.

To learn more about Urban & Diverse Youth Grants, please contact us.

Diversity in Acadia National Park

Video by Lily LaRegina, Acadia Digital Media Team, featuring 2022 park staff