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.