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FOA: Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the Friends of Acadia?

Founded in 1986, Friends of Acadia is an independent 501C3 organization comprised of passionate people who love Acadia National Park and who are inspired to make a real and lasting difference.

Drawing more than 3.5 million visitors each year, Acadia is one of the smallest and most vulnerable parks in the U.S. To meet ongoing and new challenges, and address specific needs FOA, with its nearly 5,000 members and philanthropic support, has the resources and flexibility to accomplish things the park cannot do on its own, with an aim to enhance, not replace federal support.

What is FOA’s Mission?

Friends of Acadia preserves, protects, and promotes stewardship of the outstanding natural beauty, ecologic vitality, and distinctive cultural resources of Acadia National Park and surrounding communities for the inspiration and enjoyment of current and future generations. Our goal is not to attract more people to the park, but rather educate, inform, and connect with those who do come so they can become better stewards of this special place.

Where does Friends of Acadia focus its energies?

FOA has several prime areas of focus which are viewed as being the “pillars” of the organization.

They include:

  • Tomorrow’s Stewards
    Educating and engaging youth, support for life-long learning, and providing opportunities for people to connect with the outdoors.
  • Wild Acadia
    Providing support for environmental and visitor use monitoring, research, and planning to protect and restore the ecological integrity and resilience of natural resources within the park.
  • Trails and Carriage Roads
    Continuing to provide staffing and financial support for the maintenance and renewal of the carriage roads and hiking trails that are an integral part of the Acadia experience.
  • Visitor Experience
    Striving to reduce park crowding and congestion, collect data, and explore solutions to current and anticipated resource threats and challenges.
  • Advocacy
    Friends of Acadia is dedicated to maintaining strong ties to members of Maine’s delegation, as well as to other members of Congress and like-minded conservation groups and organizations that advocate for support of our parks and protection of them from both political and environmental threats. Keeping members informed and updated on important issues via the Journal, E-News and special advocacy alerts is a top priority.

Is Friends of Acadia an affiliate of the National Park Service?

No, we are an independent, non-profit partner organization dedicated to providing a margin of excellence to existing National Park Service programs and to supporting projects and initiatives aimed at preserving and protecting the Acadia’s fragile resources. FOA collaborates very closely with the NPS on a range of projects and programs, but we maintain our own independent office, staff and board of directors.

Does Friends of Acadia get funding from the US Government?

Friends of Acadia receives no financial support from the US Government, in fact, the exact opposite is true. Money made available by FOA is used to support park programs and jobs, and fund FOA educational, environmental, and conservation initiatives. It comes from private funding, membership donations, and from endowments such as those created for carriage road improvements, and the Acadia Trails Forever initiative.

Why become a member of Friends of Acadia?

Members share in the satisfaction of taking positive action to protect and preserve the park through FOA’s  many programs and initiatives.

The also receive an annual subscription to the Friends of Acadia Journal with issues published each spring, summer and winter. There are also monthly E-News dispatches containing updates on events, programs, volunteer opportunities, and advocacy alerts.

And, members are eligible for discounts on poplar park-related mobile device apps such as Chimani. JOIN now!

Are there other opportunities to help or give back?

Friends of Acadia holds regular drop-in volunteer sessions to help maintain Acadia’s carriage roads and trails. They are scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday throughout the summer.

Special events such as Take Pride in Acadia Day, where participants help put the park’s carriage roads to bed for the winter, and the Annual Earth Day Roadside Cleanup all across Mount Desert Island and in Trenton, provide additional chances for hands-on activism.

There are also opportunities to volunteer with the Wild Gardens of Acadia, Acadia Winter Trails Association that does cross-country ski grooming, the FOA Advocacy Network, event staffing, and in the office. VOLUNTEER now!

What if I want to make a donation?

Gifts from memberships, events, individual gifts—including those in honor or memory of others—corporate and business donations, planned giving, foundation grants, and in-kind services, support FOA programs and activities. To find out more, visit our giving page. DONATE now!

I pay income taxes and get a park pass annually. Why should I spend even more money to help Friends of Acadia?

National Parks across the country have been chronically underfunded for decades, even as visitation has skyrocketed. Along with stagnant or even shrinking annual appropriations, maintenance and infrastructure needs continue to grow. Nationally, that backlog stands at $11 billion — nearly $65 million at Acadia alone.

Friends of Acadia helps address some of those needs while at the same time advocating for an appropriate level of support for these irreplaceable resources at the federal level.

For all the latest information about what is happening with Friends of Acadia and the park, follow us on Facebook.