Category Archives: Maine wildlife

Maine’s Acadia National Park History @100


acadia-sign-scoodic-point
2016 marked the 100th birthday of Acadia National Park, and also the National Park System’s centennial.

Acadia’s official birthday is July 8, 1916 when Sieur de acadia-mic-me (5)Monts National Monument was established on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Three years later, the name changed to Lafayette National Park, and finally in 1929, Acadia National Park became the title, the first National Park in the eastern United States. Acadia is also the first park established entirely through private land donations thanks to founders George B. Dorr, landscape architect Charles W. Eliot and John D. Rockefeller.

seal1cAcadia National Park oceanviewToday, over 2.5 million people visit Acadia National Park annually. Acadia’s celebrated natural beauty reaches from Maine’s Blue Hill Bay to Somes Sound, up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain overlooking Frenchman Bay, to Isle au Haut and the Schoodic Peninsula, covering 49,000 acres of mountains, main land, islands, ocean, lakes and ponds, forests and cliffs of sparkling granite.

The idea to establish Acadia came from landscape architect Charles Eliot, his father Charles W. Eliot was president of Harvard. Collaborator George B. Dorr was considered the “father of Acadia National Park,” for his land donations and his work on state and federal status with President Woodrow Wilson to create the National Park Service. It’s also great thanks to the uber wealthy John D. Rockefeller, Jr. who designed Trail Ride Parking Signthe park with 50 miles of carriage roads, 17 granite bridges, and two gate lodges, using granite quarried from the site from 1915 -1933. To this day, the granite guard rails are known as “Rockefeller’s Teeth” and also referred to as “coping stones” as these stones help visitors cope with the steep drop offs.

southwest-harbor-view1Of Acadia’s 49,000 acres, 30,300 are on Mount Desert Island, 2,728 acres are on Isle au Haut and 2,366 acres are on the Schoodic Peninsula. The National Park Service acquired the land on Schoodic Peninsula in 2012, this former naval base is on the mainland just north east of MDI, with stunning views looking back toward Cadillac Mountain across Frenchman Bay. The Schoodic Loop Drive is a beautiful drive, with gorgeous pink granite boulder shores for picnic’ing with incredible views out to sea.

Bi Plane Tour Acadia

The crowning glory of Acadia is Cadillac Mountain, named after the French explorer Sieur de Cadillac, Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, it stands over 1500’ above sea level, and it’s one of the first places in the United States to see the sunrise. Acadia National Park is a gem, a haven for hikers and bikers, nature lovers. Its also a natural habitat for over 40 species of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, moose, beavers, porcupines, minks, muskrats, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and black bears, vast birds, bald eagles, and peregrine falcons, plus the many sea mammals, fish and crustacean that inhabit the oceans, lakes and ponds.

bass-harbor-light (24)Do yourself a favor and visit Maine’s Acadia National Park to help celebrate her 100th birthday. Stay in the bustling port town of Bar Harbor or quieter Southwest Harbor or Northeast harbor, the beautiful fishing village of Bass Harbor, or the nearby towns of Trenton, and Blue Hills. See our top things to do in Acadia National Park, and where to stay in Bar Harbor to help plan your trip to Mount Desert Island.

Copyright and Photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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Maine’s a wild state, we’re not talkin’ nightlife

cape-roisier2When you think of wild states, perhaps California or Nevada come to mind before Maine…you know Vegas, Hollywood, shows, nightlife. But Maine has its own wild life, no we are not talking nightlife (except maybe Portland’s Old Port), it’s more of a nature’s wild show in the Pine Tree state. Maine has vast wilderness, one of the highest states per capita for wildlife species.

maine-moose-oobMOOSE: Maine has over 75,000 moose in the wild. Maine’s moose count is second only to Alaska. Moose are most often sighted at dawn and dusk, in the western and northern part of the state. Maine Moose safaris are a great way to “almost-guarantee” a moose sighting, since the rangers, foresters and registered Maine guides that lead moose tours know where to go, especially in the Rangeley Lakes region. Since Maine’s moose herd population is so strong, Maine issues 2,740 Maine moose hunting permits, with a 75% success rate – its not much of a hunt  but it can be a challenge hauling a 500-1000 pound moose out of the woods. Moose are the largest of the deer family, standing up to 7-feet tall at the shoulder, they can swim at 6 mph, or run up to 35… so there’s some wild Maine activity for you. More Maine moose trivia: a male moose is a bull, a female is a cow, and a baby is calf. Moose shed their antlers every year, the antlers alone can weigh up to 40 pounds.

BALD EAGLES: Eagles are on the rise in Maine, home to 75% of New England’s iconic bird population with upward of 600 pair producing 300 “fledging” each year as offspring. To spot bald eagles, look to the highest trees near the water – eagles eat fish so they stay close to their source with an “eagle- eye” view of their prey. Look for nests, eagles are habitual – sometimes residing in the same spot for years. Eagles become “bald” with a white head by about age 5 along with a white tail.

merchants-row-sailing (11)LOONS: Loon are often heard before they’re seen on Maine’s lakes given their unique cry of the loon, a yodel or laugh as some loon-lovers call it. Maine’s loon count is at over 4,000, similar to Wisconsin, but Minnesota has the highest Loon population at twice that. The common loon is prehistoric, thought to be 30 million year sold according to ornithologists. Loons can swim underwater for 4 minutes, and can fly at about 60 mph for hundreds of miles, but spend very little time on land. Loons can live up to 25 years, and many mate for life, nesting in the late spring with typically two eggs that both parents guard fiercely – recognizing that watercraft wake can drown their chicks before they hatch.  The Maine Loon Project fiercely protects this iconic  aquatic bird, hosting an annual loon count among volunteers.

Acadia National Park oceanviewPUFFIN: Maine puffin are a unique North Atlantic bird, seen in the greatest abundance on Maine’s northeast coast where there are as many as 5,000 puffin pair. Boat tours from Boothbay and Bar Harbor can take you out to sea, to see islands where puffins populate. Downeast Maine is the furthest south this cold water bird migrates. Otherwise for puffins spotting, a threatened species, its Newfoundland, Norway or Iceland.

MAINE BLACK BEAR: Black bear are the smallest among the species, and most commonly found in Maine. About the size of humans, Maine bears are 5-6 feet tall standing, but can weigh 250-600 pounds (shocking given they eat primarily berries, fruits and, nuts). Bear hibernate in Maine from late fall to spring, and eat and mate from May to August. Maine’s three-month bear hunting season is late August through November. Over 10,000 bear hunting permits are issued in Maine, with a total population estimated at over 35,000 black bears and increasing.

OH DEER: Maine’s deer population is huge, over 200,00 deer, mostly white tail deer roam the state from the south to the north.

seal1cMAINE WHALE: Whale watching in Maine requires a long boat ride, since whales are typically about 20 miles off shore from mid-April to September. In Maine you can hope to see humpbacks, pilot whales, minke and sperm whales, right whales and occasionally the largest finback whale that can be as big as your whale watch boat. Yikes.  Whale watch boat tours depart from Kennebunkport, Boothbay and Bar Harbor in the summer months. More Maine marine life in the wild, dolphin, porpoise and harbor seals are quite plentiful in Maine’s coastal waters in summertime.

So there you go, go on a wildlife tour in Maine, you can no longer say Maine isn’t wild…

Copyright and Photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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Maine’s newest National Park?

Kayaking Penobscot Bay in Maine

2016 marked the 100th anniversary of the US National Park Service, which includes Acadia National Park. What better birthday present than an expansion, and a new landmark in Maine?!  U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis supported President Obama’s designation of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, the first national monument to preserve the landscape and honor the history and culture of Maine’s North Woods. President Obama used the Antiquities Act to establish 87,500 acres of Acadia National Park Sign in Mainelands donated to the National Park Service by the Elliottsville Plantation, Inc., (EPI), including the East Branch of the Penobscot River and its tributaries, one of the most pristine watersheds in the Northeast, according to the National Park Service.

Pond Island in Penobscot BayUS Secretary Jewell visited the national monument lands in Penobscot County, Maine, in August to celebrate the designation with state and local officials and members of the public. National Park Service staff will be on site to assist with the first steps to open the park.

“As the National Park Service begins a second century of conservation this week, the President’s designation of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument serves as an View at the top of Acadia National Parkinspiration to reflect on America’s iconic landscapes and historical and cultural treasures,” said Secretary Jewell. “Through this incredibly generous private gift for conservation, these lands will remain accessible to current and future generations of Americans, ensuring the rich history of Mainers’ hunting, fishing and recreation heritage will forever be preserved.”

EPI is the nonprofit foundation established by Roxanne Quimby and run by her son Lucas St. Clair. Their gift of land is accompanied by anendowment of $20 million to supplement federal funds for initial park operational needs and infrastructure development at the new monument, and a pledge of another $20 million in future philanthropic support.

Cape Roisier, MaineMaine’s new national monument  will be managed by the National Park Service as the 413th park unit in the National Park System. The monument parcel is east of the 209,644-acre Baxter State Park and Mt. Katahdin -Maine’s highest peak at 5,267′ and the end of the Appalachian Trail.

The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument designation is the result of a extensive effort by Quimby and her son St Clair. Quimby purchased the lands with her wealth from Burt’s Bees.

Tidal Salt Marsh, MaineThe new national monument includes the East Branch of the Penobscot River and some of Maine’s North Woods known for its world-class recreational opportunities to hike, canoe, hunt, fish, snowmobile, snowshoe and cross-country ski. These and other traditional activities will continue to be available in the new national monument.

In addition to protecting spectacular geology, biodiversity, wildlife and recreational opportunities, the new monument will help support climate resiliency in the region. The protected area – together with the neighboring Baxter State Park to the west – will ensure that this large landscape remains intact, bolstering the forest’s resilience against the impacts of climate change. – Thank to the National Park Service for this new release.

Fawn spotted in Acadia National Park

For Maine lodging in the Katahdin region, in Baxter, Millinocket, and Greenville & Moosehead, see our Highland Maine Lodging Guide.

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2017

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Maine Towns you Should Visit Before you Die

What’s up with the Vacationland idiom you see on Maine license plates? Maine is a place to stay and play, “the way life should be”. There’s a reason why Maine has received so much acclaim from the West Coast and internationally. Here are Maine destination you must visit in this lifetime, or before you die… your choice! Continue reading

Rachael Carson: Environmental Legacy

Rachel Carson Wildlife RefugeIf you haven’t read “Silent Spring”, you’ve likely discussed the book in school. Many say this book instigated the environmental movement and publicized awareness of the chemical impact on nature. What you may not have known is that  author Rachel Carson has very close connections to the state of Maine. Continue reading