Gary Stellpflug

Acadia’s Trailmaster

Three years ago when Heather Cooney interviewed for a seasonal position to help manage the account books and paperwork for the crew that rebuilds and maintains century-old trails of Acadia National Park, she was warned by a trails foreman, Gary Stellpflug, that her office would definitely not be an average workspace.

Stellpflug welcomed her into a trailer perched in the heart of the Acadia National Park’s headquarters where he works at a stand up computer desk surrounded by rustic maps and photographs of the national park.

“Gary [Stellpflug] himself is a natural resource,” said Cooney. Stellpflug has spent the last 18 years rebuilding the island’s trails. “He’s got this trail system in his head. He has all the history of the trails in his head,” she said.

Trail maintenance took a great leap forward when Friends of Acadia launched its Acadia Trails Forever campaign.

“Now we have a trailer, a shed, 14 trucks going and small equipment,” along with about two dozen members in crew. “It’s a wonderful thing that we can take care of this valuable resource, which is our hiking trail system,” Stellpflug said

In the digital century where everyone seems hooked on mobile devices, Stellpflug says he finds a joy in physical part of his job, even though that part has reduced over time due to administrative responsibilities.

“People really care about the work and this place,” he said. “It’s a national park, but it’s not so huge that you can’t be intimately connected to what we do here. The history, this crew really has a good spirit and work ethic and like working together.”

Amanat Khullar

Amanat Khullar

Amanat Khullar is a sports reporter for the Mount Desert Islander. She comes from New Delhi, the capital city of India and graduated from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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