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Spring 2017 Updates

It’s a Wrap!

The mood was celebratory when members of the Acadia Centennial Task Force, Acadia National Park officials, staff and board members of Friends of Acadia, and staff of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust gathered on February 3rd in the lobby of the bank’s Bar Harbor branch to dedicate a time capsule intended to be opened in conjunction with Acadia’s bicentennial year in 2116. The event featured brief comments from Acadia Centennial leaders and a ceremonial “gavel-thump” with an Acadia hiking stick to mark the end of the centennial celebration.

The time capsule, a specially-manufactured stainless steel box, was first unveiled in December at the final gathering of the Acadia Centennial Partners, the 453 businesses, organizations, and individuals who each contributed to the centennial celebration. It was then filled with documents, images, art, and artifacts in both physical and digital formats, as an extended missive from the Acadia Centennial Task Force to those who will collaborate to celebrate Acadia’s bicentennial in 2116. During sealing of the capsule, the oxygen within was replaced with argon for an archival-quality environment. It is now housed in a glass-and-cherry case, with a framed placard above explaining its significance to five generations of bank patrons and visitors. “But let’s not let this tidy little package fool us,” noted FOA president David MacDonald. “The work of protecting this place cannot possibly be contained in this box for the next hundred years. All of us are going to have to think outside the box. We’re going to have to stretch, we’re going to have to learn, to grow—and it will take all of us to protect this place for the next hundred years.”

Products for the Park

Businesses selling official Acadia Centennial merchandise and services last year ranged from retail shops to art galleries to online or wholesale suppliers. The diversity of products included original art, logoed containers of many shapes and uses, wooden ornaments, food items, calendars, posters, wineglasses, and more. In addition to getting design approval from the Acadia Centennial Products Working Group, participating businesses committed to returning 5% of the proceeds to Friends of Acadia for a project to benefit Acadia National Park. At the end of February 2017, more than $40,000 had been contributed by 61 businesses and organizations from their product sales and contributions were still arriving weekly.

Friends of Acadia and the National Park Service are working together to choose an appropriate park project to which the funds should be dedicated.

FIORE Artisan Olive Oils & Vinegars, located in Bar Harbor and several other Maine communities, contributed $7,000 from their sales of a commemorative 375-ml bottle with the Acadia Centennial logo along with FIORE’s trademarked logo. The bottle could be filled with any olive oil or balsamic vinegar offered by FIORE and was available at the Bar Harbor location throughout 2016. Pat O’Brien, director of marketing at FIORE, remarked, “The bottle was very popular with customers. [FIORE co-owner] Nancy and I and our staff were very proud to have been able to make such a large gift to Friends of Acadia. We hope that ours is but one of many donations that will be pouring in from our fellow retailers and from individuals who have celebrated this outstanding year for the entire National Park System, and in particular our great Acadia National Park.”

Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream is a brand well-loved by residents of Maine. The annual opening of Gifford’s five family-owned ice cream stands is often reported in the news as a celebratory event heralding the start of spring each year. To honor Acadia’s 100th birthday, Gifford’s developed and sold two special ice cream flavors last year: Chocolate Brownie Crunch and I Scream for Cake. The company also planned an “epic” birthday party for Acadia at the Hannaford grocery store in Ellsworth, inviting the public to enjoy cake and ice cream, color a giant birthday card for Acadia, jump rope, and take part in other fun activities provided by several Acadia Centennial Signature Sponsors. Gifford’s contributed almost $6,000 from the sales of their two special ice cream flavors. “Our family loves Maine and especially Acadia National Park, one of the state’s most iconic places,” said Gifford’s CEO Lindsay Skilling. “When we learned of the centennial celebration more than a year ago, we knew we had to participate because of our love for this unique place and what it means to our family. We also knew that nothing goes better with birthdays than ice cream. We are delighted we could be a part of the celebration and thank all the ice cream lovers who purchased our two flavors, allowing us to make such a significant donation to Friends of Acadia.”

The Acadia Shops designed and sold a wide variety of centennial products including shirts, posters, mugs, and more. Dave Woodside, president of the Acadia Corporation, served on the Acadia Centennial Products Working Group with other shop owners from Mount Desert Island and Ellsworth. The working group provided invaluable advice to Friends of Acadia throughout the logo licensing and product sales program. Mr. Woodside said, “The Acadia Shops were proud to partner with the Acadia Centennial initiative through our diverse centennial product offerings. Serving park visitors and enhancing visitor experiences in Acadia have been an important part of our legacy for over 80 years.” The Acadia Corporation’s contribution from centennial product sales was almost $4,000—and they will continue selling some of these products in 2017.

We sincerely thank these corporate partners and everyone who contributed proceeds from centennial product sales for the benefit of Acadia National Park. “There were so many wonderful stories and contributions from businesses last year that it was hard to select just a few to feature,” said Stephanie Clement, conservation director for Friends of Acadia. “Window Panes, Cool as a Moose, Willis’ Rock Shop, the Gallery at Somes Sound, and Sagegrass Gallery also deserve mention for their significant gifts from product sales.” The Acadia Centennial website at www.acadiacentennial2016.org will remain up for another year to highlight all Acadia Centennial Partners. For information on business membership and corporation partnership opportunities with Friends of Acadia, contact Sharon Broom at sharon@friendsofacadia.org or 207-288-3340.

Better Climbing for All

In October, local rock climbers assisted the park trail crew with the installation of new educational exhibits at the Otter Cliffs and Precipice Rock climbing areas. More than 5,000 climbers use these popular crags each year. Park staff and local climbers have worked together through a Climbing Advisory Group since 1997, when a climbing management plan was completed for Acadia National Park. The group makes recommendations on bolting requests, provides input on climbing use including commercial use, and improves climber education with projects like this one. Local climbers helped develop the sign content, park staff designed the signs, and FOA volunteers built the rustic wooden framework. The exhibits were funded by the Access Fund, a national climber organization, along with Friends of Acadia, Acadia National Park, and a private donor.

Celebrating with Canon U.S.A. Five Years of Support of Wild Acadia

To say that a gift has revolutionized a program is an understatement when thinking about Canon U.S.A. support for Wild Acadia during the last five years. Since 2013, resource protection programs in most of our national parks have seen dramatic reductions in their capacity. Acadia, however, has been able to add experienced staff and make real advancements in the fight against invasive species; implement a continuous water quality monitoring program in Jordan Pond to track acidity, temperature, clarity, and other data; and pilot an array of new programs throughout the park.

As a part of the 2017 grant to Friends of Acadia, Canon U.S.A. will continue to support the successful Exotic Plant Management and Jordan Pond Monitoring programs. In addition, this year Canon U.S.A. has added support for restoration of a wetland in the Cromwell Brook Watershed. Inadequate septic facilities at Sieur de Monts and flooding at the site have long contributed to nutrient pollution in the streams and groundwater in the area. Studying the hydrology of the watershed and connecting the Sieur de Monts restrooms to the Bar Harbor sewer system in 2016 were first steps to restoring the wetland. Now park managers need to determine which plant species and hydrology changes will make the area of the former septic field a fully functioning, healthy, native wetland. Canon U.S.A.’s support for this restoration initiative will be matched by an equal contribution from FOA’s Second Century Campaign, plus additional in-kind support from the Engineering Department at the University of Maine, whose students will create the hydrology designs for the site as a senior capstone project.

Partners are excited to begin taking what has been learned in the Cromwell Brook Watershed—research needs, potential partners, monitoring methodologies—and begin adapting them to the next watershed in Acadia National Park. This innovative, collaborative approach to resource protection is new for Acadia and would not have been possible without the support of philanthropic gifts and grants. We are thankful to Canon U.S.A. for their continued support.

 Acadia Winter Trails

There was a lot of snow in a short time this winter—enough to allow for the first real grooming to be done with the program’s new Kubota utility vehicle! With a climate-controlled cab, a plow blade, and four tracks in place of wheels, the Kubota is the right size for Acadia’s carriage roads, easy to maintain, budget-friendly, and very comfortable to operate. Volunteer groomers have driven more than 300 miles in the machine, testing different snow and temperature conditions. The groomers are gaining a lot of insight into operating the machine and how to team it with our existing equipment for maximum efficiency. Two new groomers completed their training this winter while five more are in progress; some of these groomers will be volunteering on the new Schoodic trails in a few winters as an extension of the program. At the beginning of the winter season, the park installed new travel lane signs to educate visitors on best recreation practices for the groomed sections of the carriage roads. The traffic pattern includes three lanes of travel: one classic lane, one skate-ski lane, and one non-skier lane for snowshoers, hikers, and dog-walkers. Balancing the sometimes conflicting needs of different groups of park users is an ongoing challenge as visitation increases in all seasons. We hope that most visitors will choose to follow the suggested travel lanes to assist the efforts of groomers, who volunteer many hours to make approximately half of Acadia’s carriage roads more accessible for winter enthusiasts.

Making Acadia Whole

Acadia National Park received almost $2.5 million in Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) appropriations in FY 2016. This enabled the park to purchase three properties, totaling 76 acres, that had been privately owned but inside the legislated boundary of the park. These lands on Seal Cove Pond, Round Pond, and in the Northeast Creek watershed are important for water quality protection, wildlife habitat connectivity, and scenic preservation. Maine Coast Heritage Trust and FOA, who partnered to hold these parcels until LWCF funding was made available from Congress, will invest the proceeds from the sales into future acquisition of privately-held properties inside the park.

Leaving a Legacy for Acadia

During the Acadia Centennial, it was most fitting for us to celebrate the George B. Dorr Society members and all they will help FOA accomplish in the future while also looking back to our past and the great leaders who helped form Acadia and the park service in 1916. In this special year, Stephen Mather McPherson, grandson of the National Park Service founding director Stephen Mather, offered remarks on the beginnings of the NPS at the 12th annual gathering of the George B. Dorr Society.

Fifty guests assembled on the shorefront lawn of society members Martie and Ed Samek in late July to hear Mr. McPherson’s remarks. A buffet lunch was provided by the Jordan Pond House, featuring their signature lobster rolls. In addition to the great remarks and delicious lunch, the day provided a venue for this varied group of friends to visit with one another. Regardless of their background, they have one common thread: they all want to see Acadia preserved and protected long into the future.

The George B. Dorr Society recognizes those members and friends who have documented provisions for Friends of Acadia in their estate plans. The Dorr Society honors George Bucknam Dorr, gentleman, scholar, and lover of nature, whose dedication to preserving Mount Desert Island helped create Acadia National Park. The society was established in 2005 with 18 founding members and has grown to 74 member families. If you have made plans for Friends of Acadia in your estate, or would like information about joining the George B. Dorr Society, please contact Lisa Horsch Clark, director of development and donor relations, at 207-288-3340 or lisahorsch@friendsofacadia.org. Happy trails!

FOA Offers New Business Memberships

Businesses have a new way to support Acadia National Park—the cornerstone of the local economy—by becoming a business member of Friends of Acadia with a gift of $100 per year. Since its beginnings, FOA has received generous support from local and national businesses that have sponsored publications and events. The overwhelming success of the Acadia Centennial Partners program in 2016 led Friends of Acadia to believe that businesses would be interested in a simple but longer-term partnership with FOA as a way of continuing to support the protection of Acadia. Business members will be recognized in the following ways:

  • Listing on the FOA website with a link to the business member’s website
  • Listing in the Friends of Acadia Journal, FOA E-News, and Annual Report
  • Listing in our December newspaper ad that thanks all businesses for their support during the year
  • Membership decal to display prominently, demonstrating support for Friends of Acadia’s work to preserve and protect Acadia and the surrounding communities

We appreciate the assistance of our new Business Advisors in developing the business membership concept: John Bench of Cool as a Moose, Jane Holland of Aysgarth Station B&B, Susi Homer of The Birches, Lisa Parsons of the Mount Desert Chamber of Commerce and Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, Julie Veilleux of Window Panes, and David Woodside of the Acadia Corporation. For information or to become a business member, please contact Sharon Broom at sharon@friendsofacadia.org or 207-288-3340, or visit https://friendsofacadia.org/giving-membership/business-members/.