Acadia National Park is a National Park located in the U.S. state of Maine. It reserves much of Mount Desert Island, and associated smaller islands, off the Atlantic coast. Originally created as Lafayette National Park in 1919, the oldest National Park east of the Mississippi River, it was renamed Acadia in 1929.

The area first was inhabited by the Wabanaki people.

In the fall of 1604, Samuel de Champlain observed a high-notched island composed of seven or eight mountains rising to bare-rock summits from slopes of birch, fir, and pine. Over four centuries later, the area remains essentially the same.

The park is home to some 40 different species of mammalian wildlife. Among these are red and gray squirrels, chipmunks, white-tailed deer, moose, beaver (Castor canadensis), porcupine, muskrats, foxes, coyote, bobcats, and black bears. Many other marine species have been observed in the surrounding area and waters.

Excavations of old Indian sites in the Mount Desert Island region have yielded remains of the native mammals. Bones of wolf, beaver, deer, elk, Gray seal (Halichoerus grypus), the Indian dog, and the extinct Sea Mink (Neovison macrodon), as well as large numbers of raccoon, lynx, wolf, muskrat, and deer. Although beaver were trapped to extinction on the island, two pairs of beaver that were released in 1920 by George B. Dorr at the brook between Bubble Pond and Eagle Lake have repopulated it. The large fire in 1947 cleared the eastern half of the island of its coniferous trees and permitted the growth of aspen, birch, alder, maple and other deciduous trees which enabled the beaver to thrive.

Species that used to inhabit the island include the mountain lion (or puma) and the gray wolf. It is thought that these predators have been forced to leave the area due to the dramatic decrease in small prey and proximity to human activity.

What is the origin of "Acadia"?

Acadia probably stems from a name given to the area by the explorer, Giovanni Verrazano, when he sailed by in 1524. The shoreline reminded him of a part of Greece named Arcadia. *NPS

Famous People of Acadia

  • Charles Eliot
    (November 1, 1859 – March 25, 1897) was an American landscape architect. Eliot's writings has been characterized as the inspiration behind the establishment of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island in Maine.

  • John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
    From 1915 to 1933, the wealthy philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. financed, designed, and directed the construction of a network of carriage trails throughout the park.