30 Candles for Friends of Acadia

Compiled by Aimee Beal Church
From the Fall/Winter 2016 Friends of Acadia Journal

We’re tooting our own (party) horn! Friends of Acadia marked its 30th anniversary in 2016. This organization has come a long way from its founding in 1986 and its first modest fundraising efforts and small—but enthusiastic!—volunteer events. These 30 achievements illustrate our growth over the years.

1989 FOA’s first fundraising campaign raises $25,000 to relight Bear Island Light.

1989 An FOA grant to Acadia purchases a leaf vacuum for use on the carriage roads.

1991 The first annual Take Pride in Acadia Day draws 57 volunteers to rake Acadia’s carriage roads.

1991–1996 The Carriage Road Campaign leverages a $6 million federal commitment to reconstruct the carriage roads, creating a privately-funded $4 million endowment for maintenance and establishing FOA as a significant park partner.

1997 FOA hires its first field crew leader to lead volunteers on work projects in Acadia.

1997 The Ridge Runners program is established and endowed to educate hikers on Acadia’s trails and open doors for young adults interested in outdoor recreation and conservation careers.

1997–2015 Schoodic Woods goes from an impending clear-cut to Acadia’s newest asset.

1998 Working with the park, FOA achieves a first-in-nation jet-ski ban on all ponds in Acadia.

1999 FOA co-develops and co-funds the Island Explorer bus system, a first step toward addressing Acadia’s transportation challenges.

1999–2001 Acadia Trails Forever raises $13 million in public and private funds, with gifts from more than 1,100 donors, making
Acadia the first national park with an endowed trail system.

1999 The Acadia Youth Conservation Corps is endowed to assist Acadia’s road and trail maintenance crews and connect area teens with the park.

2000 The first Earth Day Roadside Cleanup is held, promoting outdoor volunteerism in Acadia’s surrounding communities.

2001 The Great Meadow Loop is inaugurated, establishing the first Village Connector Trail from downtown Bar Harbor into Acadia.

2005 The Acadia Winter Trails Association is endowed to support cross-country ski trail grooming on Acadia’s carriage roads.

2007 FOA purchases and protects 25 acres on Acadia Mountain, threatened by development.

2008 Acadia Quest is introduced, challenging young people and their families and mentors to explore, discover, and protect Acadia.

2009 FOA partners to celebrate Acadia’s starry night sky as an important park resource in the first annual Acadia Night Sky Festival.

2010–2011 A formal relationship with the Wild Gardens of Acadia is established, and an endowment fund initiated, to ensure their future viability.

2011 The Acadia Youth Technology Team is established to use technology as a tool, not a barrier, to youth engagement in Acadia.

2011 The National Parks Conservation Association honors Friends of Acadia with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award for advocacy.

2012 The first phase of the Acadia Gateway Center is inaugurated, a Gold LEEDrated maintenance and administration facility for the Island Explorer.

2013 A state-of-the-art water-quality monitoring buoy is launched in Jordan Pond, Maine’s clearest lake.

2013 The Acadia Teacher Fellows program is expanded with FOA support, helping more kids to have a meaningful and lasting connection with Acadia and other public lands.

2013 Acadia’s Exotic Plant Management Team is expanded with FOA support, enabling the consistent and intensive effort required to keep invasive plants from negatively impacting Acadia’s ecosystem.

2013–2016 The Wild Acadia watershed- based natural resource management project at Cromwell Brook involves scientists and interns from 12 partner organizations and institutions since its inception.

2014 The Cadillac Summit Steward program is created to reduce visitor impacts on the delicate alpine environment of Acadia’s highest mountain.

2015 FOA matches a Centennial Challenge Grant to restore historic vistas along Acadia’s carriage roads. 2016 FOA has more than 4,500 members.

2016 Sawyer’s Point, a 62-acre waterfront parcel on Seal Cove Pond, is protected by the Acadia Land Legacy partnership with Maine Coast Hertitage Trust—the 21st such in-holding of privately owned land within Acadia’s boundary to be transferred to the park.

2014–2016 The Second Century Campaign establishes new endowments to ensure Acadia’s long-term health, including the Diana Davis Spencer Youth Endowment (see page 7).

2016 The Acadia Centennial inspires 451 Acadia Centennial Partners to contribute to the celebration and to Acadia’s future, and Friends of Acadia receives the NPS Director’s Partnership Award for its leadership.