• Views from Penobscot Mountain summit.

    Acadia

    National Park Maine

Environmental Factors

 

Air Quality

 
A poor visibility day at Acadia.

A poor visibility day at Acadia.

NPS

Located along the mid-coast of Maine, Acadia National Park is downwind from large urban and industrial areas in states to the south and west. Periodically, high concentrations of air pollutants blow into the park from these areas. For more information on air quality and monitoring, click here.

Additional Mercury Information

 

Climate Change

 
Green Snake by K Grant

Green Snake

NPS/K Grant

Climate change refers to changes in the Earth's long-term weather patterns. Some changes in climate occur naturally; gradual temperature fluctuations over thousands of years are a natural part of the Earth's climate. The Ice Age, for example, was a period of time when our climate was much cooler than it is now. However, human activities can also cause changes; the term "climate change" is generally used to describe a more rapid, human-caused increase in the Earth's average temperature.

Scientists believe that humans are increasing the greenhouse effect through activities that produce greenhouse gases (GHGs). Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased over 35 percent, methane concentrations have more than doubled, and nitrous oxide concentrations have risen by about 18 percent. The increase in global temperatures associated with increased atmospheric concentrations of these GHGs is commonly referred to as global warming, which is manifested locally or regionally as climate change.

How do we affect climate change?
Check out the carbon dioxide calculator to see how our choices at home can reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

 

Fire Regime

 
Prescribed Burn

Prescribed burns play an important role in managing natural resources.

NPS/Todd Edgar

Research on fire occurrence in Acadia National Park indicates that large, naturally caused fires are not as common as in many of the western parks. The cool, humid, coastal climate and low occurrence of natural ignition sources such as lightning makes these fires relatively rare.

To learn about the Fire of 1947, click here.

To learn more about the park's fire management program, click here.

 

Geologic Activity

 
Jordan Pond

Jordan Pond

NPS

Acadia's landscape had its beginnings long before sunbeams first caressed the slopes of Cadillac Mountain.To learn more about Acadia's geology, click here.

Minor Earthquakes Shake the Park
At 8:07 p.m. on Monday, October 2, 2006 a minor earthquake of magnitude 4.2 shook the ground around Acadia National Park. The epicenter of the earthquake was located in the Atlantic Ocean just off Schooner Head, on the eastern side of the park. Damage appeared to be limited to rocks falling on the Park Loop Road, which re-opened after a brief closure, and some park trails.
This earthquake followed several small aftershocks that occurred since the first earthquake on September 22 (magnitude 3.4).

 

Non-native Species

 
purple loosestrife

Purple loosestrife

NPS

The National Park Service defines non-natives as species that occur in a given place as a result of direct, indirect, deliberate, or accidental actions by humans. Likewise, non-native animal species can be introduced into an area deliberately, for agricultural use or fish stocking; or by "hitching a ride" on objects like boat hulls and outboard motors. Many species find their way to new locations in crop seed, soil, or nursery stock. There are currently about 12 non-native plant species in Acadia National Park that are of high management concern.
 

Pests

 
raccoon

Raccoon in campground

NPS

Pests are those species that interfere with the purposes of the park such as protecting natural or cultural resources, or visitor safety. For example, carpenter ants threaten the structural integrity of park buildings. Raccoons and red foxes can carry rabies and quickly learn to aggressively scavenge food scraps from campers and other visitors. Non-native diseases such as beech bark disease and white pine blister rust kill trees, and can change the structure, composition, and functions of forests in Acadia. For additional information about forest pests in Acadia, click here.

The National Park Service uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to manage pests. This approach is based on proper identification of a pest and a thorough understanding of the biology of the pest species being managed.

 

Scenic Vistas

 
Moon rising over Cadillac Mountain

Moon rising over Cadillac Mountain

NPS/Ginny Reams

Both the motor road system and the (non-motorized) carriage road system at the park were carefully laid out by prominent landscape architects to take advantage of these spectacular views. Although they are dependent on the natural landscape of Acadia, these designed landscapes have themselves become significant, owing to their history and the sensitivity with which they were designed and built. In recent years, park staff have been actively restoring historic vistas on the carriage road system.
 

Water Quality

 
Water Quality monitoring

Monitoring water quality

NPS/Bill Gawley

Integral to ecosystem health and function, the waters of Acadia also allow visitors to engage in a variety of recreational pursuits. Protection of the scientific and scenic attributes associated with Acadia's lakes, streams and wetlands, and their use as a source of public drinking water, were significant factors in the park's establishment. Water resources within or adjacent to Acadia include 14 Great Ponds, 10 smaller ponds, more than two dozen named streams and 10 named wetland areas.

Monitoring data collected since the early 1980's show that most of Acadia National Park's lakes and ponds have excellent water quality. Recent studies discovered high concentrations of mercury in several freshwater fish species sampled in park lakes.
 

Weather

 
Winter at the Jordan Pond Gatehouse

Winter at Jordan Pond's gatehouse

NPS

The weather in Acadia National Park is moderate compared to the rest of northern New England. For more information about Acadia's weather, click here.

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