Acadia National Park

For the month of September, the Projects Coordinator at Camp Dodge has for the past number of years been able to relocate to Mount Desert Island and lead volunteer trail crews; this year, the honor fell on me. In conjunction with Acadia National Park, the volunteers and I worked on a variety of trails around the island. We stayed at the AMC facility on the island, Echo Lake Camp, on the southern end of Echo Lake, north of Southwest Harbor. AMC runs programs here all summer, but it comes under the trails jurisdiction for use during September. We had use of all the facilities, fire places, library, dock, sail boats, kayaks and canoes. Many beautiful evenings were spent sitting on the porch listening to the loons calling. I wish that I could retell all the jokes, stories, wonderful family-style meals, site-seeing, and raccoon fiascos of the three weeks, but here at least is a brief overview of each week:

Week #1: With my volunteer leader Bill “the-younger” Patrick, we lead the crew around the whole island, cleaning drainages on Beech Mountain, building Bates cairns along Sergeant Ridge Trail and helping the Acadia Trail Crew restore a trail which had suffered a land slide after an earthquake last fall. Bates cairns are much different than typical conical cairns seen in the White Mountains and are endemic only to Acadia National Park. They have been deemed a historical part of the park and are being remade along rocky ledges and exposed areas. (photo of Sargent Ridge by Oliver Dettler)

Week #2: The week began in rain, but ended in sunshine. Gary, the trails foreman for the National Park, had us carry twenty or so logs 1.1 miles in on the Mansell Mountain Trail, up slab rock and across ridges. The crew braved the weather with minimal complaints and as a group we were able to accomplish this seemingly impossible feat. We even were able to install the “bog walks” (called bog-bridges in the Whites) along the Perpendicular Trail. Steve Klauck was the volunteer crew
leader and managed to keep everyone in line, except for Joe and Gary who had to be separated. (photos: Steve Klauck, Ali Kosiba)

Week #3: Again we found ourselves on the Perpendicular Trail, which was made by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s, with winding granite staircases and beautifully done retaining walls. The steep 0.9 miles up to the worksite allowed for breathtaking views each morning and afternoon. Over 800 stairs were counted by Paul. Here we worked with the Acadia Trail Crew helping them move recently drilled and wedged granite blocks down to their worksite. We used a high-line and grip-hoist to aid our efforts. We also constructed a new lookout trail from here: a view of Some Sound, the only fjord in the lower 48. This week I had two leaders, collectively known as “The Bills” – Bill Brodnitzki and Bill Patrick, both a wonderful asset in leading, setting out lunch supplies and adding a fair amount of humor to the work place (photos: Ali Kosiba) .