Closures for Winter
December 2, 2013- Acadia is now in winter mode. Most of Park Loop Road, including Cadillac Mountain Road, is closed. Still open is the Ocean Drive section, from Schooner Head overlook to Otter Cliff Road, and Jordan Pond area via Jordan Pond Road. More »
Cadillac Mountain is the major destination of visitors to Acadia National Park. Accessible by car, it is the highest point on the east coast, and offers magnificent views of a glaciated coastal and island landscape. With intense visitation through the summer months for the past eighty years, the summit area has sustained substantial loss of soil and vegetation, and some rare plants inhabit the mountaintop. The summit parking area becomes congested with autos and busses at times in the summer, and visitors crowd a short summit walkway and overlooks. Visitors also wander off trail extensively to seek a little privacy, an unobstructed view, a photograph, or simply to explore; for the most part, they are still allowed to freely roam.
In 2000, park staff began to address these problems. Educational signs and visitor exclosures were installed, and an occasional ranger presence established. The University of Maine conducted observational research of visitor behaviors in 2000 and 2002. Reports of theses studies are available in Acadia's Resource Management Bibliography. A census of visitor use was conducted for one day in August of 2001 and again in 2002. Extensive visitor impact and social science research got underway in 2004 for Cadillac Mountain (and many other park areas) and will continue through 2009. The end result is expected to be a visitor management plan for the summit that considers protection of the natural and cultural resources, the scenic mountain landscape, the high demand for an iconic park attraction, and visitor freedom to roam the summit area.
On June 8 and 9, 2007, Acadia National Park hosted the 5th Northeastern Alpine Stewardship Gathering at the Schoodic Education and Research Center in the park. The Gathering brings together alpine managers, researchers, planners, and volunteers from the Northeastern U.S. and Canada every 2-3 years to share knowledge to protect the ecological and human values of these unique high mountain areas. Attendees participated in a Cadillac Mountain Workshop designed to elicit recommendations for visitor management on Cadillac Mountain.
Did You Know?
Acadia National Park's carriage road system, built by John D. Rockefeller Jr., has been called “the finest example of broken stone roads designed for horse-drawn vehicles still extant in America.” Today, you can hike or bike 45 miles of these scenic carriage roads in the park.