Member and Year-Round Volunteer

For 15 years, Brett and Celina Binns have been giving to Friends of Acadia.


For 15 years, Brett and Celina Binns have been giving to Friends of Acadia. As they settled into retirement on the Schoodic Peninsula, Brett also became a year-round volunteer. I sat down to ask Brett about why he gives back to Acadia in so many ways.

Acadia Winter Trails Association Volunteer Groomer Brett Binns. Photo by: Ashley L. Conti/Friends of Acadia

PS: Brett, it’s great working with you through the Acadia Winter Trails Association (AWTA). How did you first connect to Acadia?

BB: Celina’s family is from the Fort Kent and Lewiston areas, so I inherited Maine from my wife. We kept driving east and planted our roots Downeast.

PS: How did you hear about Friends of Acadia?

BB: I honestly can’t remember, it seems like we’ve always known about you. Acadia is my park. It’s our treasure here locally and we feel strongly about supporting it.

PS: How did you begin working as a volunteer in the park?

BB: I met a ranger name Ed Pontbriand who told me about the Acadia Winter Trails grooming program, which sounded like fun. For the first few years, Ed and I would drive over to MDI for meetings, and to train and groom on the Eagle Lake carriage roads. I also volunteered with his wife, Ranger Kelly, to help train her search-and-rescue dogs. I would lie under a tarp in the snow and wait until the dog found me. It was quite memorable! While we love our home, I do feel isolated living in rural Maine. It’s nice to be social and make friends through volunteering. I like having a reason to be outside in the woods with my friends on a regular basis, while giving back to this amazing park. It doesn’t get much better than that!

PS: Last year, we expanded grooming to the Schoodic District on the multi-use paths and you have led those grooming efforts. What’s it like seeing visitors after you groom?

BB: I joined the AWTA team with the dream of being able to expand grooming to Schoodic someday. Dream realized! Before we expanded, I would see a trickle of local faces using the paths during winter. Now, after grooming, there are lots of new skiers, coming from much larger distances, to enjoy the park. It’s great.

PS: You also volunteer in the summer, and you received a National Park Service award this year, right?

BB: Yes, we have a volunteer crew that maintains the trails and multi-use paths on the Schoodic Peninsula in the summer. We brush back trails and clean downed trees, making sure our work looks very natural. We do a height test for branches and trim them back so a parent walking with a kid on their shoulders will clear the branches. I used to love hiking with my son in a pack.

PS: Brett, thank you for your wonderful contributions to Acadia National Park. We greatly appreciate your service and camaraderie and look forward to seeing you in the park.

BB: Thank you. It’s an amazing place to live. The attraction of this place is the beautiful nature and I’m happy to help maintain it and share it with others.