Thousands of hikers each year have trampled fragile vegetation on Acadia’s mountain summits, resulting in the loss of soil, rare plants, and unique plant communities. Park staff tried roping off summit areas in hopes that the sub-alpine vegetation would come back naturally. Unfortunately, after more than 15 years, there has been little success.
In addition to visitation pressures, Acadia’s summits will likely face drier, warmer summer conditions over the coming decades due to climate change. The National Park Service, Schoodic Institute, and partners have been experimenting with soil amendments, propagation methods, and a variety of plant species to see which combinations will create the most resilient plant community on Acadia’s summits. Some of the plant species being tested are from lower elevations or southern locations, where they are likely more resistant to heat and drought.
Friends of Acadia is supporting the park’s work to keep the sub-alpine vegetation of Acadia’s summits healthy, diverse, and adaptable. Thanks to donations from our members, the lessons learned from restoration activities on Cadillac Mountain will be extended to Penobscot and Sargent Mountains.