Acadia’s Highest Peak Deserves
Special Care

Friends of Acadia and Acadia National Park are working to improve safety on the mountain and enhance the visitor experience.

Studies show that 75% of park visitors go to the summit of Cadillac during their stay. In the high season, the summit area is busy with automobiles, buses, bicyclists, and hikers. Such traffic has resulted in unsafe road conditions as vehicles park illegally, and soil and vegetation have been lost as visitors scramble over fragile terrain to view the sunrise or sunset.

As part of the Acadia National Park Transportation Plan, the park is implementing a timed-entry reservation system for visitors traveling up the Cadillac summit road in private automobiles.

Friends of Acadia granted funds to the park to plan, engineer, and construct critical infrastructure needed for the reservation system. Friends also funded development of a Visitor Use Model to help the park predict levels of crowding based on various traffic scenarios.

Once visitors reach the summit, they may be greeted by a Summit Steward, Friends of Acadia’s dedicated ambassadors who answer questions and inform visitors about ways they can recreate responsibly using Leave No Trace ethics.

Visitors may also learn about the partnership to experiment with different plant species and restoration techniques to determine what might be the most effective way to keep vegetation healthy on the mountain as it faces intense visitation pressure and hotter, drier summers due to climate change. And visitors may see Friends of Acadia’s Recreation Technicians in action at the summit. These dedicated employees help the park monitor important visitor use statistics in the park, such as parking surveys and trail counts.

Cadillac Reservation System

The Cadillac Reservation System was designed, and implemented in 2021, as a tool to improve the visitor experience, ensure visitor safety, and protect park resources.

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Summit Stewards

A group of roving educators funded by Friends of Acadia who serve as important ambassadors in the field for Acadia National Park.

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Summit Restoration

Friends of Acadia is supporting Acadia National Park’s work to keep the sub-alpine vegetation of Acadia’s summits healthy, diverse, and adaptable.

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Recreation Technicians

Friends of Acadia employs Recreations Technicians to assist park staff in efforts to understand visitor use data and trends.

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Importance of Bates Cairns

Friends of Acadia Summit Stewards explain the importance of Bates Cairns in Acadia National Park.

How You Can Help

When hiking on Cadillac Mountain, practice “Leave No Trace” – walk only on the trail or durable surfaces, avoid stepping on or picking vegetation, and don’t modify trail cairns (or build new ones).