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Centennial Themes

Each individual who visits Acadia National Park experiences its natural and cultural treasures through the lens of their own personal perspective. Likewise, every Acadia Centennial Partner brings to the celebration its own distinct relationship with this park.

Although each relationship is unique, many share common themes, several of which have been identified as particularly significant to the celebration. You can explore dimensions of Acadia’s Centennial through these themes:

Arts »
Gardens & Landscapes »
History »
Kids & Teens »
Recreation & Outdoor Activities »
Science »

We also suggest that you search any of these terms in the search field in the top right corner of this website, to discover Acadia Centennial Partners and other pages in the site that focus on that theme.


Eagle Lake Bridge, hooked rug by Rosemary Levin.If poetry is language compressed, then Acadia is a poem of a national park. In only 35,000 acres, Acadia encompasses landscapes from glacially-carved alpine peaks to rugged offshore islands. It protects a rich array of cultural treasures, including highly constructed hiking trails and the magnificent carriage road bridges. It harbors a wild diversity of native and itinerant fauna and flora. And Acadia’s protected lands lie closely interwoven with its surrounding coastal Maine communities, in a relationship that began long before the park was conceived. This creates a fertile ground for artistic interpretation of this magnificent place, and indeed artists of all stripes have been drawn to Acadia for generations. Acadia’s centennial will be celebrated through visual arts, film, music, written expression, theater, and more; and through exhibits, performances, activities, and products—offered by a group of arts-focused Acadia Centennial Partners as diverse as the landscapes of Acadia itself.

Gardens & Landscapes

Native yellow lady's slippers at the Wild Gardens of Acadia. Friends of Acadia photo.Many of those who conceived and conserved Acadia were landscape lovers and passionate gardeners. Situated at the boundary of the boreal and the temperate deciduous biomes and encompassing diverse habitats from intertidal to alpine within its borders, the park enjoys a uniquely varied floral heritage. Landscape luminaries Beatrix Farrand, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., Charles Savage, and Robert Paterson nurtured park vistas, grand and intimate, and created seaside gardens that concentrate the floral splendor of the Acadia region. The carriage roads, motor roads, and hiking trails of the park invite visitors to experience the wild garden of Acadia through countless moments of surprise and delight. Acadia Centennial Partners are planning a variety of opportunities to experience this grace within the park and in nearby public and private gardens and to understand the aesthetic commitment that sustains this place.


Concert at Sieur de Monts Spring. NPS/Archive photo. National parks conserve both natural and cultural history. Acadia’s bedrocks were formed by an explosive plate tectonic convergence some 420 million years in the past and glacially scoured for millennia ending just 16,000 years ago. Acadia conserves a human record of more than 5,000 years and honors the first peoples of this region in partnership with the Abbe Museum. Beginning with Samuel de Champlain’s exploratory voyage in 1604, a 150-year-long contest for dominion between English, French, and Wabanaki followed by 150 years of permanent settlement and 50 of summer colonization preceded creation of the park. The first hundred years of Acadia’ history include development of its iconic carriage road system, significant expansion of park boundaries, trail-building and other contributions by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a devastating fire in 1947, and the emergence of a resilient park, closely interwoven with its surrounding communities and lovingly supported by its friends. This history will be celebrated in different forms through the centennial offerings of more than 20 Acadia Centennial Partners.

Kids & Teens

A Ridge Runner teaches the how and why of cairn building. Friends of Acadia photo.Acadia’s closely-interwoven surrounding communities give us generations of kids growing up with this park “in their backyard.” Acadia’s great accessibility and long history of seasonal visitation give us generations of families who have shared the Acadia experience together. This is fortunate, for Acadia’s ongoing protection depends on its connections with children. If today’s kids and teens are invited to experience and enjoy Acadia; if today’s schoolchildren are taught to explore nature through science, recreation, or the arts; if today’s park interns are welcomed as tomorrow’s park rangers, volunteers, or administrators—then we will have reason to hope that Acadia’s remarkable natural and cultural resources will be here for the enjoyment and inspiration of visitors for many years to come. A range of Acadia Centennial Partners—including area schools, camps, youth groups, and the Schoodic Institute—will host public events, school-wide projects, and more in 2016.

Recreation & Outdoor Activities

Roller-skiing on the carriage roads. Friends of Acadia photo.Acadia’s varied landscapes offer unparalleled opportunities for outdoor recreation. More than 130 miles of historic hiking trails—the first endowed trail system in the US—provide routes for walkers and hikers of all ages and abilities. The iconic carriage road system, one of America’s finest examples of broken-stone roads, is perfect for walking, biking, cross-country skiing, and horseback or carriage riding. Water lovers can swim or paddle from ocean and lakeside beaches, or boat among conserved islands in the waters of Penobscot and Frenchman bays. Birdwatching, EarthCacheing, fishing, ice-skating, leaf-peeping, peak-bagging, picnicking, rock climbing, running, snowmobiling, tidepooling, whale-watching, or just sitting and enjoying a sunrise or sunset….you’ll never run out of reasons to go outside. Acadia National Park and Acadia Centennial Partners will offer events and activities to encourage everyone to head outdoors, try something new, and enjoy the magnificent natural setting that is Acadia.


Studying Stanley Brook trout populations. Friends of Acadia photo.The founders of Acadia were inspired by 19th-century science, helped seed the surrounding communities with world-class research laboratories, and nurtured a park that is now a living laboratory for 21st-century conservation science. This rich heritage and vibrant present will be showcased in the diverse offerings of nearly 20 Acadia Centennial Partners. During 2016, seven science-oriented ACPs will team to present the Acadia Centennial Science Symposium Series, seven lectures by celebrated experts who will each explore a dimension of science inspired by Acadia. If your family enjoys hands-on learning, look for centennial opportunities in citizen science and discover how ANP and its Schoodic Institute now provide international leadership to this fresh approach to scientific research. To enjoy Acadia’s grandest vista, look to the Night Sky Festival in September 2016 and appreciate Acadia’s astronomical dimension. Read the Acadia Centennial Science Community Affirmation »