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Acadia Centennial Story Ideas

Dear friends in the media,

The Centennial of Acadia National Park creates a unique opportunity for media from around the world to tell a variety of stories covering this beloved national landmark and the celebration of its 100th year.

In honor of this momentous anniversary, Acadia National Park and Friends of Acadia are planning a year-long, community-based celebration in 2016. The plan draws on the special relationship between the park and its surrounding communities over the past 100 years. The heart and soul of the Acadia centennial will be the events, programs, products, art works, and celebrations offered by more than 150 Acadia Centennial Partners.

The following list of the happenings throughout 2016 will provide a basis for story ideas to pique your interest to learn more about this special place and upcoming celebration. We hope you will want to share this with your audiences.

Jump down to categories: History | Science | Nature | Landscape | Arts | Conservation | Looking to the Future | Recreate | Celebrate | Contemplate


The Community and the Planning of the Centennial Celebration:

  • A Task Force of 18 community leaders has created and charged ten distinct Working Groups that developed the infrastructure and policies required to support the decentralized, community-based approach to the centennial. More than 40 Acadia Centennial Ambassadors now enlist and support Acadia Centennial Partners. Hundreds of volunteers carry the planning and execution forward. The Acadia centennial will involve businesses, individual artists, musicians, colleges, laboratories, banks, chambers of commerce, galleries, museums, libraries, authors, poets, schools, restaurants, theaters, conservation organizations, scientists, teachers, gardeners, Native Peoples, seniors, historical societies, bird watchers, hardy hikers, wine merchants, runners, astronomers, naturalists, and the women and men of the National Park Service Green and Gray – all working together. This approach to a major national park anniversary is without precedent within the national park system.
  • Contact: Jack Russell, Acadia Centennial Co-chair, 207-244-5394,
  • Several companies and organizations have signed on to be “Acadia Centennial Signature Sponsors” pledging $10,000 or the equivalent in public outreach and services to support the Centennial. Beyond financial support these sponsors are also contributing in many other ways to ensure the Acadia Centennial celebration is a successful year-long, Maine-wide celebration. Each sponsor has a unique relationship to and special affinity for Acadia National Park and their stories are worth hearing—some were founded here because of the inspiration of the park and Acadia’s founders; others signed on because they adhere to the outdoor values the park brings to the community and visitors. All share the love for national parks, particularly Acadia, and all share the desire for another 100 years of conservation and community at Maine’s iconic natural destination, Acadia National Park.
  • Contact: Stephanie Clement, Friends of Acadia, 207-288-3340,


  • The founding of Acadia national park is a well-known and well-told story in some dimensions, but recent historical work by several writers has added knowledge and perspective. We know the good works of the founding trio of Eliot, Dorr and Rockefeller in much richer dimension and now appreciate the significant roles played by several local year-round leaders. This new understanding will be offered in diverse forms during the Acadia centennial.
  • Contact: Jack Russell, Acadia Centennial Co-chair, 207-244-5394,
  • The lands and waters now protected as Acadia National Park have been important to Maine Native people-collectively known as the Wabanaki- for more than 5,000 years. The Abbe Museum, long associated with ANP, has helped to keep and celebrate this history for nearly 90 years. In the past ten years, especially, Acadia has worked with Native peoples to communicate their history in the conserved region. Several Centennial events and offerings will highlight this work.
  • ContactMarie Yarborough, Acadia National Park, 207-288-8729,
  • Acadia National Park was just 31 years old and the Jackson Lab but 18 when, on October 23, 1947, a growing forest fire exploded in 70 mph winds to deeply scar the park and destroy the lab, its mice, and research records. The bond between towns, park and lab deepened in the recovery each made. On Sunday, October 23, 2016 JAX will host a commemoration of that fateful day with voices from still living memory and a reading from a newly discovered account by a woman scientist from JAX who helped fight the fire and then tried to rescue the research of her new husband. We will celebrate the recovery of Acadia to become “America’s favorite place” and the Jackson Laboratory to become a world-leader on the frontier of genomic medicine.
  • Contact: Jack Russell, Acadia Centennial Co-chair, 207-244-5394,
  • From 1933 to 1941, more than 3,000 young men, almost all from hard-pressed families in Maine, came to Acadia National Park for at last six-moths to serve in the Civilian Conservation Corps, one of the most successful and beloved of the New Deal programs of FDR. The CCC men managed Acadian forests, built fire roads, planted thousands of trees, constructed picnic areas, were the back labor for some public works in our towns that still serve us, and built some of the most beautiful trails in the park. Mount Desert Island artist Judy Taylor painted her oil Trail Workers to honor these young men. During 2016, Judy and Jack Russell, a local historian, will offer a presentation on her painting and the historic work of the CCC lads in Acadia.
  • Contact: Jack Russell, Acadia Centennial Co-chair, 207-244-5394,
  • The Mount Desert Island Historical Society keeps, discovers, and celebrates the history of Mount Desert Island. The Society will celebrate the centennial of Acadia National Park throughout 2016 by examining the Acadian story through the lens of borderlands history — looking at the times and places where historical domains overlapped.
  • Contact: Tim Garrity, Mount Desert Island Historical Society, 207-276-9323,
  • The mission of the Seal Cove Auto Museum is to tell the story of innovation and ingenuity in New England and America through the early development of the automobile. It achieves this through a collection of more than 50 early automobiles and motorcycles from the Brass Era (1895-1917). In 1916, a decision to allow cars on Mount Desert Island changed its physical and economic landscape forever. The Auto Wars exhibit at the Seal Cove Auto Museum will explore the debates that took place one hundred years ago and that continue today about the use of autos on the island, through its collection of Brass Era automobiles, video interviews, and personal stories. The Seal Cove Auto Museum’s Acadia Centennial plans also include a parade of Brass Era autos through a part of the park.
  • Contacts: Raney Bench, Seal Cove Auto Museum, 207-244-9242,


  • The founders of Acadia National Park, inspired by 19th century science, helped seed the communities surrounding the park with organizations that became world-class laboratories, and nurtured a national park that is now a living laboratory for 21st century conservation science. This rich heritage and vibrant present will be celebrated in the diverse offerings of nearly a score of Acadia Centennial Partners. During 2016, seven science-oriented Acadia Centennial Partners 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.
  • Contact: Abe Miller-Rushing, Acadia National Park, 207-288-3338, Ex 8733,
  • To enjoy Acadia’s grandest vista, the Acadia Night Sky Festival (ANSF) in September 2016 is the perfect way to appreciate Acadia’s astronomical dimension. The ANSF will celebrate Acadia’s deepest vistas and add the voice of keynoter Brother Guy Consolmagno to the Thought Leaders who will speak o the role of science in 21st century conservation.
  • Contact: Alf Anderson, Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, 207-288-5103,
  • The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) was founded in 1929 on land donated by Acadia founder George B. Dorr. In 1947, ANP and JAX passed through the trauma of the Great Fire together. Today, ANP and JAX are the two icons through which this region is known worldwide. JAX will dedicate its premier lecture, the Edward H. Birkenmeier Distinguished Lecture, to the Acadia Centennial in 2016, welcome the community to a commemoration of the Great Fire in October, and honor the Centennial as a Signature Corporation sponsor.
  • Contact: Joyce Peterson, The Jackson Laboratory, 207-288-6058,
  • The MDI Biological Laboratory will honor Acadia’s Centennial by offering several programs in 2016 highlighting the historical connections between art, science and Acadia and engaging the public in science. We will dedicate our 2016 Environmental Summit to sustainability issues in and affecting Acadia National Park, we will expand BioTrails, a citizen science program offered in partnership with Acadia and the Schoodic Institute, and our 2016 Science Café series will feature historical and current research projects in Acadia. Local and national scientists will discuss projects related to various elements in Acadia such as geology, botany, entomology and biology.
  • Contact: Jeri Bowers. Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, 207-288-9880,


  • Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, along with Camp Beech Cliff on Mount Desert Island, will host the Acadia Winter Festival, February 26–March 6, 2016. Over 10 days at two primary locations, 20 community partners join together and present more than 50 events to celebrate Acadia National Park and the natural world in winter. Authors, craftsmen, and photographers present workshops and lectures—many events offered free to the public. Outdoor activities for the entire family include music, a winter-themed movie, bird tours, outdoor cooking with a dutch oven, ice skating and more. A highlight of the event will be an opportunity to cross-country ski or snowshoe with Schoodic Institute President and CEO Mark Berry and Acadia’s new superintendent Kevin Schneider. Many visitors experience Acadia in the summer, but the national park offers many exciting activities during the winter months.
  • Contact: Sarah Brundage, Schoodic Institute, or
  • Acadia and her surrounding communities conserve parts of glorious natural process that may reach beyond the park for hundreds and even thousands of miles. So with monarch butterflies, who find MDI a welcome northern host for part of their life cycle. This phenomenon and park and community efforts to support these beautiful creatures will be celebrated by the Charlotte Rhodes Butterfly Park in Southwest Harbor with a butter fly release during the centennial summer.
  • Contact: Ann Judd, Charlotte Rhodes Butterfly Park, 207-244-7433,
  • The Naturalist’s Notebook is a pair of fun, interactive, brain-invigorating exploratoriums/shops that merge nature, science, art and the frontier of knowledge in creative installations. Visitors learn, shop and feel inspired as they explore content-rich 13.8-billion-year environments created by Neff and Markwood with top scientists, naturalists and artists, and also with children at the TNN locations in Seal Harbor and Northeast Harbor. For the Acadia National Park Centennial, The Naturalist’s Notebook will transform rooms in its Seal Harbor and Northeast Harbor exploratoriums into walk-in installations highlighting the wondrous nature and eye-opening science of Acadia National Park.
  • Contacts: Craig Neff & Pamelia Markwood, The Naturalist Notebook, 207-667-0142,


  • Beatrix Farrand, prominent American landscape architect, collaborated with John D. Rockefeller Jr. in the development of Acadia National Park’s iconic carriage roads. During the Acadia Centennial year, the Beatrix Farrand Society will educate the public about Farrand’s role in several ways. An exhibition and corresponding lecture are planned for August.
  • Contact:  Dave Hollenbeck, Beatrix Farrand Society, 207-288-0237,
  • The Land & Garden Preserve preserves, for public enjoyment, the aesthetic and spiritual heritage of the Asticou Azalea Garden, Thuya Garden, Thuya Lodge and surrounding lands, and, in the future, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden and surrounding lands. It honors individuals who have contributed significantly to the landscapes of Mount Desert Island.
    • Thuya Lodge shares its centennial year with ANP, and we will create a new display in the Lodge that describes and honors the strong ties that link the origins of Acadia National Park and Thuya Properties.
    • In honor of the centennial, the Asticou Azalea Garden’s 2016 Lantern Stroll will pay homage to Charles Savage, creator of the garden and third generation of innkeepers who opened their homes to the early rusticators, welcomed summer residents, and were the forebears of what has become a thriving hospitality industry.
    • The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden will honor the instrumental role John D. Rockefeller Jr. played in founding the park and building the carriage roads by providing garden visitors with a brochure highlighting the juxtaposition of the garden’s creation in the 1920’s with the building of the carriage roads. It will bring attention to the role of Beatrix Farrand as both garden designer and adviser for the re-vegetation of the carriage roads.
  • Contact: Carole Plenty, Land & Garden Preserve, 207-276-3727,

The Arts

  • Acadia has inspired gifted writers for many decades. On a summer evening in 2016 the College of the Atlantic will invite at least ten contemporary authors who have written about Acadia to read a passage from their work and comment on their bond with our park.
  • Contact: Jack Russell, Acadia Centennial Co-chair, 207-244-5394,
  • The Acadia Choral Society will perform a nature-themed concert in May 2016 at St. Savior’s Church in Bar Harbor. The concert will include a newly commissioned piece by distinguished local composer George Emlen. Mr. Emlen has long been a major figure in the musical life of Mount Desert Island. In addition to our other nature-themed repertoire, primarily by American composers, we are particularly eager to present his inspiration on the theme of celebrating our past and inspiring our future in Acadia.
  • Contact: Jamie Hagedorn, Acadia Choral Society, 207-610-0600,
  • The Argosy Gallery in Bar Harbor will offer a major two-person show featuring the work of Steven Hileman and Robert Hagberg, both recognized nationally as leading Acadia painters, a special exhibition of twenty miniature Acadia paintings by guest artist Michael Chesley Johnson, and sale of Fresco Fine Art Publication’s award-winning book Art of the National Parks. This landmark volume celebrates Acadia National Park as one of the premier jewels of the entire National Park System.
  • Contact: Amy and Charlie Sidman, The Argosy Gallery, 207-288-9226,
  • ART Walk Bar Harbor sustains a free self-guided tour of local art galleries, art studios, museums, and alternative art venues on First Friday during the summer season in Downtown Bar Harbor. The goal is to present to the Mt. Desert Island community and its visitors the opportunity to meet working artists, view unique art installations and to enjoy live performance. ART Walk Bar Harbor will celebrate the Acadia National Park Centennial with the First Friday ART Walk theme “Celebrate our Past. Inspire our Future” on Friday June 3, 2016 from 6 pm to 9 pm.
  • Contact: Sherry Rasmussen, Art Walk Bar Harbor, 207-351-5450,
  • Tom Blagden’s exhibit “Glaciers to Granite” depicts his personal vision from years of photographing Acadia National Park. The show, at College of the Atlantic’s Ethel H. Blum Gallery, is based on his new book Acadia National Park: A Centennial Celebration and evokes the many moods, habitats, and subtle details that create Acadia’s unique sense of place. Blagden’s images convey a park that is both intimate and grand in a way enlightening even to those familiar with Acadia. The exhibit is on display Monday, July 11 to Friday, August 26, Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition, Tom will discuss his work and processes during an evening event in the Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Community Center, Monday, August 22 from 5 to 7 p.m.
  • Contact: Jen Hughes, College of the Atlantic, 207-801-5622,
  • Many Acadia lovers are well aware of the crucial role that leading mid-19th century landscape and seascape painters such as Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, and Fitz Henry Lane played in first bringing the stunning beauty of Mount Desert Island to the attention of art and nature lovers in the rising cities of the east coast. In celebration of the Centennial, over the course of the summer season, The Gallery at Somes Sound will feature a exhibition entitled: “The Acadia Centennial Collection” which will continue the long standing tradition of educating, stimulating and encouraging the American people, through fine art and visual culture.
  • Contact: Tyra Hanson, Galley at Somes Sound, 207-244-1165,


  • Acadia National Park protects nearly 50,000 acres on several islands and one glorious mainland point on the coast of Maine. The park conserves a richer heritage – the natural and human history of a unique place. The distinct natural history reaches back more than 400 million years, the human history more than 5,000. Working with representatives of the Wabanaki tribes and the Acadia-linked Abbe Museum, ANP has honored the presence of First Peoples in what is now conserved in Acadia. Acadia was built from the lands and labor of resolute Maine coast settlers who made lives here for 150 years before the park was conserved, the last 50 or so in accommodation with resourceful summer colonists who learned to respect the land and the people. That accommodation continued during the first century of the park we celebrate in 2016.
  • Contact: Jack Russell, Acadia Centennial Co-chair, 207-244-5394,
  • How people conceive and practice conservation has evolved world-wide during the first Century of Acadia National Park. New challenges confront conservation, especially climate change, and a healthy debate has emerged about the fundamental purposes of conversation. During the Acadia centennial, regional and national conservation leaders will engage our communities in this new dialogue through a series of public lectures under the banner of Conservation in the 21st Century.
  • Contact: Jack Russell, Acadia Centennial Co-chair, 207-244-5394,
  • College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning—human ecology. COA will help the surrounding communities celebrate the 100th anniversary of ANP in at least six modes; Service, Art, Intellect, Research, Outreach and Facilities. COA is interested in exploring what the next 100 years can bring. Acadia can be a model for understanding how a US protected area can foster intellectual, artistic, economic, and ecological benefit for a community. The Acadia Centennial is the perfect time to bring our progress nationwide.
  • Contact: Darron Collins, President, The College of the Atlantic, 207-288-5015
  • Acadia was conceived and conserved by landscape lovers and passionate gardeners. The park passes through the seasons within the broad, complex boundary of the boreal and northern temperate biomes and so conserves a diverse 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 rest like a relief sculpture on the conserved landscape so that those who pass may experience the wild garden of Acadia through countless moments of surprise and delight. Several Acadia Centennial Partners will offer unique opportunities to experience this grace within the park and in nearby public and private gardens where visitors can understand the aesthetic commitment that sustains our place.
  • Contact: Gail Clark, Chair, Garden Community Working Group, Acadia Centennial, 207-276-0775 (summer),

Looking to the Future

  • “Inspire Our Future,” the second half of the Acadia Centennial Tag Line, will generate a wide range of Acadia Centennial Partner programs and events focused on youth. Classroom teachers will organize Acadia-related activities using the number 100: miles, pictures, books, posters and climate change outdoor classrooms. Youth visiting ANP can become Acadia Centennial Junior Rangers, participate in Ranger-led field trips and over-nights for middle-schoolers (Schoodic Education Adventure), and Youth Internships for those 16-25. In 2016, thousand of young people will see Acadia with fresh eyes.
  • Contact: Lynne Dominy, Chief of Interpretation, ANP, 207-288-3338,


  • The lands conserved as Acadia have been valued as a venue for vigorous exercise at least since the time of the mid-to-late 19th century rusticators. Some have called ANP’s nearly 50 miles of carriage roads the best sea level Marathon training site in North America. During 2016, the MDI YMCA will link both its spring and summer half marathons with the Centennial celebration. Working with the Mount Desert Island Historical Society, the MDI YMCA will include a one-page Run Through History! orientation to ANP and its history for all participants of both races.
  • Contact: Alan Mogridge, MDI YMCA, 207-288-3511,


  • Harbor House is a venerable community organization that conserves and enriches the quality of life for all on Mount Desert Island. Each summer Harbor House orchestrates the Quietside Flamingo Festival, a three-day event that includes a parade, children’s carnival, cocktail party and band performance. In 2016, the Quietside Festival will tie in with Acadia National Park’s Centennial Celebration, incorporating the theme and tagline of “Acadia’s Centennial: Celebrate Our Past. Inspire our Future.” Parade participants will design floats in honor of the park.
  • Contact: Ingrid Kachmar, Harbor House, 207-244-3713,


  • At the centennial year of the National Park Service, the NPS and our national park suffer from more than a decade of underfunding from the Congress. In this regrettable context, the American people, who love and support their national parks, face two imperatives: 1) To compel their representatives in Washington to properly support America’s Best Idea, our national parks system; and 2) To optimize the ways that private philanthropy and volunteerism can contribute extra dimension and resilience to our national parks. These challenges and the need for sustained advocacy will be a theme throughout the yearlong Acadia Centennial.
  • Contact: Stephanie Clement, Friends of Acadia, 207-288-3340,
  • Acadia and all our national parks belong to all of the American people. Park visitation does not yet show participation by all to whom the parks belong. That must change. The founders conserved Acadia so that common people from across the county could experience the beauty and restoring virtue of this unique place. The Acadia Centennial will be a time to build progress toward this goal.
  • Contact: Stephanie Clement, Friends of Acadia, 207-288-3340,