Meet John DelMastro

Maintenance Worker at Acadia National Park

In this series, we’re spotlighting the talented and dedicated staff of Acadia National Park who deliver an incredible visitor experience day after day. Whether working directly with park visitors or behind the scenes, seasonally or year-round, these are the people who make the park hum. They work hard and wear many hats, keeping the park in incredible shape, keeping park visitors safe, and rising to the occasion as visitation has reached peak levels in recent years. We at Friends of Acadia appreciate the work they do. Thank you!
Read all of the Front & Center stories

John DelMastro, maintenance worker at Acadia National Park. (Photo by Julia Walker Thomas/Friends of Acadia)


When visitors regale their wanderings in Acadia National Park, they don’t typically spend much time applauding the cleanliness of the bathrooms or the lack of litter in the picnic areas. But they certainly could.

In addition to its abundance of greenery and scenery, Acadia’s facilities are kept mighty sharp, too.

John DelMastro is a maintenance worker at Acadia National Park. He’s part of the roadside division of the buildings and utilities department, the crew who makes sure the roads are free of debris, garbage is picked up, and park facilities are clean and sanitized.

He’ll jokingly call himself a “bathroom refurbisher,” but he’s aware of how his team’s work matters to the park and the people who come here to enjoy it. “I’m a physical steward of this park,” he said. “I pick up the garbage and clean up the facilities.” And that work influences a visitor’s experience. When visitors arrive and stop off at Thompson Island, for example, “that’s the first image people get from the park.”

Those experiences, whether a person’s first visit or their 50th, should be filled with an excitement and awe that’s unfettered by errant debris.

“The park is designed to take a beautiful place and inject people into it,” he said. That’s the greatness of parks like Acadia and what they offer people. “It doesn’t matter what your skill set is, you can get a beautiful view.”

But with people come food wrappers and water bottles and the need to use the bathroom, and Acadia sees a lot of people every year. That means well-kept facilities are particularly critical to the function of the park and the pleasurable experience of those who visit.

DelMastro started working in the park in 2009, not long after he and his wife, Dominika, moved to Maine from Nantucket. They were married in the park in 2008 at Balance Rock.

“We came to Acadia once before, and she fell in love,” he said. DelMastro understood why. “It has mountains, lakes, forests. It has it all.”

He was initially hired as part of the seasonal staff, and during his first year he acquired a brand-new work truck, which he named Lola and still drives today. Five years in, he landed his current year-round position.

John DelMastro on the radio in his Acadia National Park work vehicle, which he named “Lola.” (Photo by Julia Walker Thomas/Friends of Acadia)

Most days, he works with a partner in the western side of Acadia National Park-an area that includes Ikes Point, Acadia Mountain, Beech Mountain, and Ship Harbor. Some of his crewmates move among the different routes from day to day, and while he’ll fill in elsewhere when needed, he likes working this side of the park.

“When you’re in the central area of the park, you’re in the park,” he said, “In Acadia’s western side, you’re in the community.”

A typical day begins at Thompson Island to scan for litter and clean the bathrooms-wash counters, mop floors, polish and sanitize surfaces, check stocks of toilet paper. Then it’s across the street to the information center. From there he and his partner divide and conquer the stops on the route.

At each stop they pick up garbage around the parking lots, clean the bathrooms, replenish the soap and toilet paper and occasionally do some light repairs. They meet up again at Echo Lake. After lunch, they do the loop again; it’s a twice-a-day cleaning schedule that began during Covid and stayed.

Del Mastro sweeps out the bathroom at the Pretty Marsh Picnic Area as part of his maintenance duties for the day. (Photo by Julia Walker Thomas/Friends of Acadia)

In the last several years, he’s noticed the uptick in visitors-increased congestion on the roads and parking lots. Particularly in August, he says, navigating a busy parking lot can feel like landing a plane on an aircraft carrier. But he’s always cautious, aware there are kids running around, people backing up their cars. “You’re a servant of the people,” he said.

Certainly, he has a job to do, but sometimes it’s better to adjust the route and come back to an area later, when it’s less busy. That’s an aspect of his work he appreciates. “I enjoy the freedom of the job,” he said.

He also values being a part of the park team. DelMastro grew up playing football – from the age of 8 on through college – so he’s been on a lot of teams. “I’ve been on good ones and bad ones,” he said. “We’re all park employees. We’re all on a team, especially my division.”

DelMastro has an intriguing slew of interests outside of the park, too. He’s an artist (he draws with Prismacolor pencils, including a series of the Rockefeller bridges of Acadia). He and his wife own Middle Earth Mushrooms and grow shiitakes in Seal Cove, and he’s a writer, currently writing a book about space exploration. One of his colleagues rightly referred to him as a “renaissance man.”

Whatever he’s working on, DelMastro says his father always instilled in him the idea of doing your job well. And he does. “I get far more compliments than complaints.” he said.

Three Ways Park Visitors Can Ease the Burden on Hardworking Park Staff

1. Dispose of your trash in trash cans
It’s a carry-in, carry-out philosophy when on the trails, but there are trash cans at many of the frequented trailheads, picnic areas, and parking lots that make it easy to dispose of trash.

2. Use the bathrooms – and keep them clean
Acadia boasts bathrooms at an abundance of locations. Use them with courtesy to the other visitors in the park who, like you, appreciate having a clean restroom to use.

3. Be a Steward
Cleaning up after yourself helps keep Acadia looking sharp. If you come across trash left by someone else and can grab it and put it in a trash can, that’s helpful to park staff, other visitors, and the park itself.

SHANNON BRYAN is Friends of Acadia’s Content and Website Manager.