Week One: Acadia National Park Field School

We are a team of 7 Landscape Architecture students from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry who are spending 6 weeks at Acadia National Park to update the inventory of their historic hiking trails. The mix of undergrad and grad students are Bill Elliot, Sarah Hoagland, Jessey Horvat, Vincent Ryan, Pamella Selby, Nicholas Shannon and Sara Reinstein. 

On our drive from Syracuse to Bar Harbor, we stopped at the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site in Brookline, Massachusetts and the Camden Amphitheatre National Historic Landmark in Camden, Maine. Visiting these historic sites made us even more excited to work on the historic hiking trails in Acadia.

The first week was full of introductions to the park, its history and the inventory we will be doing. We gained a deeper understanding of how the National Park Service works with public and private partnerships to preserve and protect places that tell important stories about natural and cultural history. Acadia has one of the best trails crew maintenance team in the country and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from them, as well as help them through our inventory project. The documentation of the trails will help preserve their historic integrity for future generations to come.

Our inventory work consists of checking the historic features along the trails (steps, walls, etc), adding new features and taking interval photos every 50 feet. This information will be used in the production of Acadia’s Cultural Landscapes Inventory for their hiking trails. Our training as landscape architects helps us to make informed decisions about the human use of the trail and its interactions with the environment to further the parks mission of connecting citizens with the outdoors.

The beauty of this national park lies in the diversity of its natural features as well as the human use patterns that have shaped it into what we see today. We look forward to exploring more of Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor over the next several weeks.

One response to “Week One: Acadia National Park Field School

  1. Nick, it sounds like the SUNY team had an excellent first week! This is an incredible project and the work of the field school is going to be extremely helpful in enhancing the baseline documentation for the park to use in managing the historic hiking trails. I look forward to seeing you all next week.

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