Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park, Maine (ANP) is a National Park located in the U.S. state of Maine. It reserves much of Mount Desert Island, and associated smaller islands, off the Atlantic coast. Originally created as Lafayette National Park in 1919, the first National Park East of the Mississippi, it was renamed Acadia in 1929.
The area first was inhabited by the Wabanaki people.
In the fall of 1604, Samuel de Champlain observed a high-notched island composed of seven or eight mountains rising to bare-rock summits from slopes of birch, fir, and pine. In spite of many changes over nearly 400 years, the area remains essentially the same.
The landscape architect Charles Elliot is credited with the idea for the park. It first attained federal status when President Woodrow Wilson, established it as Sieur de Monts National Monument on July 8, 1916, administered by the National Park Service. On February 26, 1919, it became a national park, with the name Lafayette National Park in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, an influential French supporter of the American Revolution. The park's name was changed to Acadia National Park on January 19, 1929.
From 1915 to 1933, the wealthy philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. financed, designed, and directed the construction of a network of carriage trails throughout the park. He sponsored the landscape architect Beatrix Farrand, with the nearby family summer home Reef Point Estate, to design the planting plans for the subtle carriage roads at the Park (c.1930). The network encompassed over 50 miles (80 km) of gravel carriage trails, 17 granite bridges, and two gate lodges, almost all of which are still maintained and in use today. Cut granite stones placed along the edges of the carriage roads act as guard rails of sort and are locally known as "coping stones" to help visitors cope with the steep edges. They are also fondly called "Rockefeller's teeth".
Fire of 1947:
On October 17, 1947, 10,000 acres (40 km2) of Acadia National Park were burned in a fire that began along the Crooked Road several miles west of Hulls Cove. The forest fire was one of a series of fires that consumed much of Maine's forest as a result of a dry year. The fire burned for days and was fought by the Coast Guard, Army, Navy, local residents, and National Park Service employees from around the country. Restoration of the park was supported, substantially, by the Rockefeller family, particularly John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Regrowth was mostly allowed to occur naturally and the fire has been suggested[weasel words] to have actually enhanced the beauty of the park, adding diversity to tree populations and depth to its scenery.
On August 23, 2009, several park visitors were swept out to sea at Thunder Hole by high surf attributed to the remnants of Hurricane Bill. All were rescued but one of the tourists, a 7-year-old girl, who later died.
Centennial Initiative Project:
The National Park Service, as part of their Centennial Initiative celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016, created a project to promote voluntary, multimodal park access for present and future generations. Going “car free” offers visitors the opportunity to explore Acadia by foot, bicycle, shuttle bus, commercial tour bus, private automobile, or private and commercial vessels. The project includes an inter-modal transportation center on state-owned land four miles (6 km) north of the park, multiple-use trails to connect gateway communities with the park, and rehabilitation of historic carriage roads surrounding Eagle Lake.
Terrain and Features:
The park includes mountains, an ocean shoreline, woodlands, and lakes. In addition to Mount Desert Island, the park comprises much of the Isle au Haut, parts of Baker Island, and a portion of the Schoodic Peninsula on the mainland.
In total, ANP consists of more than 47,000 acres (73 square miles, 190 km2), including 30,300 acres (47 sq mi., 123 km2) on Mount Desert Island, 2,728 acres (4.6 sq mi., 11 km2) on Isle au Haut and 2,366 acres (3.5 sq mi., 9.2 km2) on the Schoodic Peninsula.
Cadillac Mountain, named after the French Explorer of the same name, is on the eastern side of the island. Its green, lichen-covered, pink granite summit is one of the first places in the United States to see the sunrise. Miles of carriage roads were originally built by Rockefeller, Jr. The mountains of Acadia National Park offer hikers and bicycle riders views of the ocean, island lakes, and pine forests.
The park is home to some 40 different species of mammalian wildlife. Among these are red and gray squirrels, chipmunks, white-tailed deer, moose, beaver (Castor canadensis), porcupine, muskrats, foxes, coyote, bobcats, and black bears. Many other marine species have been observed in the surrounding area and waters.
Excavations of old Indian sites in the Mount Desert Island region have yielded remains of the native mammals. Bones of wolf, beaver, deer, elk, Gray seal (Halichoerus grypus), the Indian dog, and Sea Mink (Neovison macrodon), as well as large numbers of raccoon, lynx, wolf, muskrat, and deer. Although beaver were trapped to extinction on the island, two pairs of beaver that were released in 1920 by George B. Dorr at the brook between Bubble Pond and Eagle Lake have repopulated it. The large fire in 1947 cleared the eastern half of the island of its coniferous trees and permitted the growth of aspen, birch, alder, maple and other deciduous trees which enabled the beaver to thrive.
Species that used to inhabit the island include the mountain lion (or puma) and the gray wolf. It is thought that these predators have been forced to leave the area due to the dramatic decrease in small prey and proximity to human activity.