Welcome to my tour of Maine. If these posts don’t make you want to visit, then I’m not doing a great job… Be sure to click on the pictures to see the gorgeous vistas.
Created in 1919, Acadia National Park was originally named Lafayette National Park I honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, but the name was changed in 1929 to honor the former French colony of Acadia, which once included Maine. The park attained federal status during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson and came under the aegis of the National Park Service on February 26, 1919, when the name was changed. It covers most of the Mount Desert Island and smaller islands around it off the Atlantic coast of Maine, and is the oldest national park east of the Mississippi. It is also one of the most beautiful.
The area was originally inhabited by the Wabanaki people (this will be my W!), who lived in the area now called Maine for many thousands of years. The island was discovered by the explorer Samuel de Champlain during a voyage down the coast in the fall of 1604.
The landscape architect Charles Eliot, an apprentice of Frederick Olmsted who played a central role in shaping the Boston Metropolis Park System, is credited with the idea for the park. 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. The network encompassed over 50
miles 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 and today are fondly called “Rockefeller’s teeth”.
The park includes mountains, ocean shoreline, woodlands and lakes, 47, 000 acres in all. The pink granite summit of Cadillac Mountain, named after the French explorer Antoine de Cadillac, dominates the eastern side of Mt. Desert Island; it is one of the first places in the United States to see sunrise.
The park is home to some 40 different species of mammalian wildlife: red and gray squirrels, chipmunks, white-tailed deer, moose, beaver, porcupine, muskrats, foxes, coyotes, bobcats and black bears. Some trails in the park are closed in the summer to protect nesting peregrine falcons.
Whether you are hiking, biking or traveling by car, the vistas and environment of Acadia National Park is a feast for the psyche.