Week Two: Hiking Trail History and Management

Our first week of active trail inventory was a huge success. Each group has their methods down and efficiently hiked several trails in the Sieur de Monts area. Joining us were the exceptional interns at the Olmsted Center who became the third member of our teams as we moved along the trails. Pamella, Nick, and Ashley inventoried the steps of the Emery and Kurt Diedrich Trials that were shown to us earlier by Gary Stellpflug who worked extensively on repairing the memorial trail. Vincent, Sarah, and Sasha made the long climb up Champlain Mountain along the Beachcroft Trail taking great pictures of all the views along the way. Jessey, Sara, and Shanasia took to the sea and inventoried the trails of Great Head. Everyone was tired after long days of hiking, but the breathtaking landscape of Acadia kept us going back day after day to find new and interesting places nestled in the park.

This week was led by Margie Brown, the person you need to talk to if you want to know anything about the trail system. What many people might not know is that the Acadia Trails is a network of pathways that have been overlaid and interpreted by dozens of organizations such as the Civilian Conservation Corp and the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association. Each group that came in had their own particular way of crafting trails and informing visitors of the directions to take. What was fun for the group throughout the week was guessing whether sets of stairs were created by the CCC or BHVIA. Are these step laid or set back steps? Thanks to Gary Stellpflug and Chris Barter, two outstanding trail crew members, we have become experts on these historical resources.

During the week, we took a trip with Gary to the Asticou trail. Gary walked along with us and pointed out all the intricate details of trail construction. It may seem to be easy construction, but after listening to Gary it’s nothing but. Gary’s team works with every department of the government to properly construct a trail and all the little details add up. When crossing streams, Gary and his men need to be mindful of rare plants, protect fish habitat, and still maintain proper drainage. Next time you cross an Acadia Bridge, be mindful of all the hard work put in to a seemingly simple bridge.

The end of our week was a fantastic seafaring trip to Baker Island with Gail Gladstone. Once home to the Gilley Family that operated the historic lighthouse, the team got to explore the history that surrounds the small island and get a chance to go up inside the lighthouse. The Gilley family lived here for generations in the 19th and early 20th century farming and maintaining an important piece of infrastructure for the bay. During the 1940s the island was operated by the U.S. Coast Guard who built listening devices in search of German U-boats, the remnants of which can still be seen. One of the most interesting parts of the island is the small cemetery that houses the Gilley Family. The marble headstones cast against the wild flowers depict a family that took pride in their work and loved the island they called home.


Boating to Baker Island


Historic Lighthouse

View from the top of the lighthouse

Our team in Southwest Harbor after the trip to Baker Island

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