33rd Annual Benefit a Celebration of Support for Acadia National Park

More participants than ever joined in-person and online to support Acadia!

Paddles raised at Friends of Acadia’s 33rd Annual Benefit! (Photo by Lily LaRegina/Friends of Acadia)


MOUNT DESERT—Hundreds of friends and supporters gathered under the tent at the Asticou Inn in Northeast Harbor on Aug. 13th to celebrate and raise funds for Acadia National Park. The Friends of Acadia 33rd Annual Benefit was the first in-person benefit and auction held in two years. In 2020 and 2021, the benefit went virtual due to the COVID pandemic.

This year, the annual benefit’s silent auction and paddle raise were adapted so people could participate either in-person under the tent or by bidding online. More than 830 people participated in the hybrid benefit; up from about 500 last year when it was all virtual.

“It was great fun being back under the tent this year where the energy and enthusiasm was palpable,” said Lisa Horsch Clark, Friends of Acadia’s Development Director. “From veteran friends to so many new, young people, the party was a true celebration of a park that gives so much to so many. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who attended the Friends of Acadia benefit. We were thrilled to welcome people from near and far, and to celebrate with those who attended in-person and those participated online.”

Paddle Raise for Wild Acadia

The Wild Acadia initiative 2.0 is helping to restore important park habitats, but with an innovative forward-thinking approach of managing for future expected environmental conditions rather than looking to the past.

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Each year, in collaboration with the park, Friends of Acadia selects a special initiative or park need as the focus of its paddle raise, with hopes of raising $200-300,000. This year’s paddle raise supports the Wild Acadia 2.0 initiative aimed at combating the effects of climate change and helping to restore park habitats with an innovative, forward-thinking approach. Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing Acadia today, and the pace of change is accelerating and intensifying. One example of this is the monster storm we experienced last June, washing out carriage roads and closing Maple Spring Trail.

“Friends of Acadia is partnering with the National Park Service and Schoodic institute to take action now to ensure that Acadia’s beauty and vitality endures, whatever the future may hold,” said Eric Stiles, Friends of Acadia’s President and CEO.

Acadia National Park is a leader in climate-smart restoration, and has received national press, as well as recognition from National Park Service Director Chuck Sams during his visit to the park in July. Other parks are also reaching out to learn more about the work.

“Acadia is a model for how national parks respond to climate change, and that leadership has helped leverage federal funding of nearly $1 million from the bipartisan infrastructure bill,” said Eric Stiles, Friends of Acadia’s President and CEO. “This is a perfect example of how public and private philanthropy can work together to tackle big challenges.”

This year’s paddle raise to benefit Wild Acadia 2.0 remains open so that people who missed the in-person benefit can still contribute. Visit friendsofacadia.org/paddleraise2022 to donate online or learn more.

“It was exciting to see more than 50 people each raise their paddle to donate $1,000 or more to this initiative at the live auction last Saturday,” Stiles said. “We know others want to participate, and that’s why we’ve decided to keep the paddle raise open through August. We’re grateful for every contribution, both big and small.”

See more Annual Benefit photos