Acadia National Park is a national park located in the U.S. state of Maine.
Acadia National Park covers more than 19,000 hectares (47,000 acres) on the Atlantic Coast of Maine.
While the park extends to some surrounding islands and a peninsula, the greater part of the park is on Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine.
Initially created as the Sieur de Monts National Monument in 1916, the park was renamed Lafayette National Park in 1919, and was given its current name of Acadia in 1929 .
Acadia is the oldest American National Park east of the Mississippi River. Two eastern Canadian national parks are older: Thousand Islands (1904) and Point Pelee (1918) in Ontario.
One of the highlights of Acadia National Park is the diversity of its landscape. The park includes mountains, an ocean shoreline, woodlands, and lakes.
Schoodic Peninsula is the only section of Acadia National Park that is located on the mainland of Maine. The Schoodic section of Acadia National Park covers over 930 hectares (2,300 acres) of wild forest set along the crashing surf of Frenchman Bay.
Mount Desert Island with an area of 12,300 hectares (30,300 acres) is the largest island off the coast of Maine and the second largest (behind Long Island, New York) on the eastern seaboard of the United States.
Mount Desert Island was discovered in 1604 by French explorer Samuel Champlain. Champlain called the island “Isles des Monts Desert,” meaning “island of barren mountains.” When this name migrated into English, it became Mount Desert Island.
There are a total of 26 mountains in Acadia National Park.
Cadillac Mountain with an elevation of 470 meters (1,528 feet), is not only the tallest mountain in the park, but also the tallest mountain along the eastern coast of the United States. It is named after the French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac.
From October 7 to March 6, Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the United States where people can see the sun rise.
Sand Beach is nestled in a small inlet between the granite mountains and rocky shores of Mount Desert Island. This gorgeous 265 meters (870 feet) long beach is one of the most popular points of interest on the island.
Eagle Lake, at 176 hectares (436 acres), is the largest fresh water lake in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island.
Echo Lake is a gorgeous fresh water lake in a spectacular setting. The beach is the most popular freshwater swimming site on Mount Desert Island for locals and visitors in-the-know.
There is a rock formation in the park called Thunder Hole. When the right size wave rolls into the naturally formed inlet, a deep thunderous sound emanates. The cause is a small cavern formed low, just beneath the surface of the water.
There are more than 190 kilometers (120 miles) of hiking trails in the park.
The park is home to some 40 different species of mammalian wildlife. Among these are red and gray squirrels, chipmunks, white-tailed deer, moose, beavers, porcupines, minks, muskrats, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and black bears.
With a record of 338 bird species encountered, Acadia National Park is considered one of the premier bird-watching areas in the country.
Despite its small size (Acadia National Park covers less than one percent of Maine’s land area) the park is known to harbor over 50 percent of the vascular plants occurring in Maine.
20% of the park is classified as wetlands. In each of these wetland areas at least one rare plant grows.
The landscape architect Charles Eliot is credited with the idea for the park. George B. Dorr, called the “father of Acadia National Park,” along with Eliot’s father Charles W. Eliot (the president of Harvard), supported the idea both through donations of land and through advocacy at the state and federal levels.
John D. Rockfeller was one of the most generous donors to the park, eventually contributing 4,450 hectares (11,000 acres) of land. His bigger impact, though, came from designing, funding, and overseeing the creation of an intricate system of carriage roads that crisscrossed the island. 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. The network encompassed over 80 kilometers (50 miles) of gravel carriage trails, 17 granite bridges, and two gate lodges, almost all of which are still maintained and in use today.
The permanent park boundary, as established by act of Congress in 1986, includes a number of private in-holdings that the park is attempting to acquire.
Acadia is the fifth smallest national park by land area in the U.S. but is among the top ten most visited, hosting more than 2 million people each year.