BAR HARBOR — The stainless steel box that took center stage in the Gates Auditorium at College of the Atlantic Saturday is set to be the first piece of the celebration of Acadia National Park’s bicentennial when it is opened in the year 2116. It was dedicated at a final gathering of the Acadia Centennial Partners, hosted by Friends of Acadia (FOA), to cap off the year of events and thank supporters of the effort.
The time capsule will hold video recordings of many of the centennial events, digital copies of many centennial-related publications, a 2016 park pass, a copy of the centennial newspaper supplement, junior ranger patches and other centennial products.
Curtis Simard, CEO of Bar Harbor Bank and Trust, said the stainless steel capsule with be placed in a glass-and-cherrywood case in the sitting area of the lobby of the bank’s Bar Harbor branch.
“Jack Russell called and said, ‘We think we want to put it in one of your vaults – what do you think?’” Simard said. “We thought, ‘This is big. We want to be a part of it.’”
Task Force Co-Chairs Cookie Horner and Jack Russell first began talking with FOA President David MacDonald about the centennial presentation four years ago “almost to the day,” Horner said. The effort eventually grew to include 10 signature sponsors and more than 450 Centennial Partners.
“I remember an early meeting at Camp Beech Cliff,” COA President Darron Collins said. “I think I said, ‘This seems awfully far out.’ But it turned out to be exactly the right amount of time to plan.”
Collins said he hopes for a “renaissance” in the coming years, “not only for the national park system, but for protected lands everywhere.” He announced plans to expand and formalize the Acadia Scholars internship program at COA.
“My only regret is that we can’t squeeze everyone into this little box,” MacDonald said. “I wish we could bottle the spirit of this group. But if we continue our involvement, hand the stewardship ethic down through the generations, we won’t have to rely on a time capsule.”
Acadia Superintendent Kevin Schneider, whose first day on the job in January ended with the Centennial Celebration kickoff bean supper, thanked the community for welcoming him and his family. He thanked the park’s employees, “the people that take care of this place,” for gracefully welcoming an additional 500,000 more visitors in 2016 than in the year before. “They handled it with aplomb,” he said.
“There’s nothing like this going on in the national park system,” Schneider said of the centennial effort. He said Friends of Acadia “sets the bar” among organizations supporting national parks.
The task force is still accepting items and ideas for what should be included in the time capsule through Dec. 20. Visit acadiacentennial2016.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.