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.
Cross-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.
Sunrise 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).
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