Acadia National Park

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United States Of America >> Boston >> Attractions >> Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

History

Situated in the far north-eastern corner of the USA, Maine's Acadia National Park is New England's only national park. Spread over about 142 sq km, Acadia encompasses wooded mountains, granite cliffs, islands and lakes, all centred around the bare summit of Mount Desert Island. Once the abode of wealthy robber barons who made it their private playground, Acadia is one of the few parks which was set up not under state initiative, but as a result of community enterprise. And it's definitely amongst the most beautiful and rewarding of the USA's protected areas- and also one of the country's 20 top visited national parks. Acadia's vegetation is amazingly diverse- by the seashore are scrubby grasses; dense green stands of spruce and fir cloak the mountains, and above the treeline are wild strawberries, violets, white star flowers and a multitude of other wildflowers which make these slopes a riot of colour through the spring. Inhabiting the park is an impressive assortment of wildlife- minke whales, sea urchins, seals, starfish and fish in the waters which lap the shores of Maine, and mammals such as red fox, coyote, white-tailed deer, moose, black bear and bobcat on the land. Acadia is also home to almost 350 species of birds; among the park's prominent avian species are the bald eagle, osprey, American kestrel, golden eagle, warblers and peregrine falcons- the latter now re-introduced after having been nearly exterminated in the 1960s. Opportunities for a wide range of outdoor activities exist in Acadia. Hiking and biking are amongst the best ways of getting to know the park, while avid anglers can try their luck at landing salmon, trout or mackerel in the park's lakes or coastal waters. Cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are possible in some areas too. Opportunities for a wide range of outdoor activities exist in Acadia. Hiking and biking are amongst the best ways of getting to know the park, while avid anglers can try their luck at landing salmon, trout or mackerel in the park's lakes or coastal waters. Cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are possible in some areas too. Within the park are about 195 km of hiking trails, some easy, some difficult, and covering everything from gentle seaside strolls to strenuous climbing trails which require a fair bit of stamina. Besides these, there are carriage roads throughout the park which allow you to admire the beauty of Acadia from the comfort of your car.

Best time to visit

Acadia is open throughout the year, and can be visited anytime, although you should avoid late May and early June, when pesky blackflies can be a real nuisance. Summer temperatures range between 7 and 30°C, while winter temperatures hover between -1 to -18°C: avoidable if you don't like being cold. Also note that some facilities in the park are closed between November and April. Precipitation is fairly constant through the year, so whenever you're going, go prepared for fog, rain or snow. Winter and early spring are, especially, marked by frequent ice storms.

Trivia

To get a deeper insight into Acadia's habitat and its resident wildlife, you could go along on a ranger-guided nature walk through the park, or attend a rather more sedate talk or slide programme.

Timing

Entry permits costing US$3 must be purchased by all visitors to the park, and entitle you to a four-day stay in Acadia; an annual pass can be obtained for US$20. Entering vehicles are charged US$10 each. Additional charges are levied for fishing licenses, for tours and walks, and for the use of facilities within Acadia. American citizens are eligible for lifetime passes, which allow entry to all the national parks in the country. These passes are free for those with permanent disabilities, and cost a nominal amount- between US$10 and 50- for everybody else.


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