The rugged coast of Maine has been a draw for visitors for hundreds of years. The splendor and variety of landscape encouraged early 20th-century philanthropists to donate the land that became Acadia National Park, the first national park in the eastern United States. The park is home to many animals and plants, and Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coastline. Today, visitors come to Acadia to hike and bike historic carriage roads, kayak the lakes and enjoy the scenery.
In 1901, George Dorr, called “Father of Acadia National Park,” and Charles Elliot were concerned about over-development on the island of Mount Desert. Between these gentlemen, who acquired over 6000 acres, and John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who donated over 11,000 acres and built miles of carriage roads, the park was officially created as Sieur de Monts National Monument in 1916. In 1919, the park was established as Lafayette National Park and later renamed to the present-day Acadia National Park in 1929. Since this time there have been may others who have donated their resources and time to continue what these visionaries felt was important – to keep this area of raw natural beauty pristine and to make it available to all.
Acadia National Park includes ocean and lake shoreline, mountains, lakes, and woodlands on the Island of Mount Desert. There is also Isle au Haut, which is a part of Baker Island, and on the mainland an area of the Schoodic Peninsula included in Acadia. As of 2012, Acadia National Park includes 49,052 acres of which 30,300 acres are on Mount Desert Island, 2,366 acres on the Schoodic Peninsula and 2,728 acres on Isle au Haut. The park is home to many different types of wildlife, including chipmunks, snowshoe hares, white-tailed deer, bobcats, moose, beavers, porcupines, coyotes, black bears. The waters in and around the park contain numerous marine species. There are many birds that live in Acadia such as owls, hawks, golden eagles, and bald eagles. As part of preserving nature, nesting peregrine falcons are protected and trails sometimes closed to ensure this.
The Carriage Roads and stone bridges originally built by Rockefeller are now used for the enjoyment of bikers, hikers, horseback riders and carriages. There are 57 miles of roads free of motor vehicle, the majority of which are within Acadia National Park. These also allow winter cross-country skiing. and limited snowmobiling. World-class kayaking is available visitors to Acadia along the many miles of scenic coastline of Mount Desert Island. Lots of islands, inlets, and coves await exploration, while inland are a variety of sparkling lakes and ponds bordered by quiet forests. Grand mountain vistas, rugged sea cliffs, abundant bird and animal life, refreshing coastal air, and spectacular sunrises and sunsets all make for a memorable park experience by either sea kayak or canoe.
Thanks to forward thinking individuals such as George Dorr, Charles Elliot, and John D Rockefeller, Acadia National Park is a national treasure for all to enjoy. The beautiful scenery of the rugged coast with its granite mountains, lakes, forests, and the seashore along with the plants and wildlife associated make this an outdoor venue to remember. Whether a hiking or biking enthusiast or one who prefers to enjoy the beauty while driving along Park Loop Road, this area is not to be missed. No surprise Acadia National Park is one of the top ten most visited parks in the United States and in all of North America.