On February 26, 1919, the first national park east of the Mississippi River was designated in Maine. Originally called Lafayette National Park, 10 years later it was renamed Acadia, a name that better reflects the area’s history. It includes a red granite mainland peninsula with a mixed wood forest and 19 coastal islands. Although not large, Acadia National Park is packed with life in rugged marine scenery. It was so loved by summer residents that, in the first years of the last century, citizens banded together to buy the land to save and protect this unique area. All the lands of Acadia National Park were donated and the different levels of government lobbied until this day in 1919 when it became, as it remains, the only national park in New England.
Acadia resides at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and takes the brunt of marine weather systems and showcases the best features of coastal, barrier, and tide-produced island life. The park’s marine shoreline provides a 64 km (40 mi) haven for shorebirds, waterfowl, and birds of prey. Within reach are tidepools teeming with marine life and just offshore there are harbour seals and porpoises.
Turn inland from the shore and Acadia’s islands support small mammals like northern flying squirrel, deer mice, river otters, beaver, raccoons, and snowshoe hares. A visitor will find museums, a nature centre, campgrounds, over 190 km (120 mi) of hiking trails, and winter cross-county skiing.
Along with access to recreational pursuits like fishing, boating, and swimming, Acadia adds its own hands-on activities with ranger-directed programs for kids and in-season ranger-narrated boat cruises and island explorations. For those who can’t make the trip in person, Acadia National Park offers dozens of online experiences for visitors to see and hear — like this virtual cruise around the islands within the park!
B Bondar / Real World Content Advantage