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What is so special about Acadia National Park? Interesting facts you may not know.

  • April 22, 2023

There are 63 national parks in the U.S. but only one in the Northeast.

Acadia National Park was the first national park east of the Mississippi River. 

With dramatic seaside cliffs and 150 miles of trails, it’s one of the most popular national parks today. Acadia attracts so many visitors that each summer, timed-entry reservations are required for Cadillac Summit Road. 

The land itself has drawn people for thousands of years. 

Here are a few things you may not know about Acadia National Park, the first national park USA TODAY is spotlighting in a year-long series, which will end with Zion.

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Where is Acadia National Park?

Acadia is located along the coast of Maine, near Bar Harbor. The nearest major airport is Maine’s Bangor International Airport.

When did Acadia become a national park?

Acadia officially became a national park on Jan. 19, 1929.

Initially established as Sieur de Monts National Monument in 1916 under President Woodrow Wilson, it was later renamed Lafayette National Park by Congress before being dubbed Acadia National Park, according to its website.

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What Native tribe lived in Acadia National Park?

Acadia is the historic homeland of the Wabanaki people, who are comprised of the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes.

“Generations ago, Wabanaki people traveled here over land and in seaworthy birchbark canoes,” the park explains on its website. “Confronted with attempts to displace and erase them by European colonizers starting in the 1500s, Wabanaki people resisted and remained resilient.” 

Visitors can learn about the Wabanaki through Acadia’s Cultural Connections in the Park program over the summer.

Story continues below.

How big is Acadia National Park?

Acadia encompasses more than 47,000 acres. 

Roughly 35,000 acres are owned by the National Park Service. The rest is privately owned, but managed by the National Park Service under conservation easements, according to the park.

How many miles of carriage roads are in Acadia?

There are 45 miles of carriage roads across Acadia National Park.

According to its website, philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr., who helped establish the national park, had them built so he could travel by horse and carriage, without cars.

The carriage roads are still shared by horse-drawn carriages, cyclists and pedestrians today, but not cars.

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How popular is Acadia National Park?

Acadia was the fifth most-visited national park in the country last year with over 3.9 million visitors. That was more than Yosemite, Yellowstone, Joshua Tree and Grand Teton.

Only Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Zion and Rocky Mountain saw more visitors in 2022.

What is so special about Acadia National Park?

The park is home to a wide variety of birds including loons, herons, eagles and peregrine falcons.

Acadia actually helped restore the peregrine falcon population in the eastern U.S. through breeding and conservation efforts that helped remove the bird from the federal endangered species list, according to the park.

A lot more than you know

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