Illuminated carriage wheels from Skyline Farm in Falmouth glow overhead during the 30th Annual Friends of Acadia Benefit on Saturday, Aug. 10, on the grounds of the Asticou Inn in Northeast Harbor. During the paddle-raise portion of the live auction, patrons helped raise more than $300,000 to rehabilitate and maintain the carriage road bridges in Acadia National Park PHOTO COURTESY OF FRIENDS OF ACADIA

At annual FOA benefit, donors contribute to carriage road bridges



MOUNT DESERT — Maintaining and preserving 17 historic carriage road bridges in Acadia National Park got a major boost Aug. 10 with patrons during Friends of Acadia’s 30th Annual Benefit donating more than $300,000 for those efforts.

“Each year this community of supporters amazes us with their generosity,” said Shawn Keeley, FOA’s senior development officer. “This year, restoring the carriage road bridges inspired 84 donors to raise their paddles and provide a huge boost to the park as crews work to protect these iconic structures for current and future generations.”

At the benefit, more than 500 attendees bid on nearly 100 live and silent auction items and enjoyed dinner and dancing under tents on the lawn of the Asticou Inn.

Beginning in 1917 with the Cobblestone Bridge over Jordan Stream, John D. Rockefeller Jr. commissioned, and local craftsmen constructed, a series of 17 bridges that feature gothic arches, textured masonry surfaces, and protruding scupper drains. Stone and other materials were locally sourced.

“While they are first and foremost functional elements that allow park users to safely pass through the terrain, their aesthetic character is timeless,” a statement from FOA said. “The bridges have become an iconic and inspirational part of Acadia’s natural and cultural landscape.”

Like any structures exposed to the elements, the bridges must be maintained for safety and aesthetics. Planned restoration work entails re-pointing, re-bedding, replacing granite where stones and masonry have been dislodged, repairing concrete in the arches where spalling has occurred and removing calcium buildup on the stones.

While Friends of Acadia’s Carriage Road Endowment provides grants for maintenance and improvement of the road surface, the park is several years behind in its effort to restore the carriage road bridges.

Each year area scores of businesses, artists, craftspeople, and individuals donate goods, services, excursions and experiences to the cause. Chilton was the top corporate sponsor for the fifth consecutive year.

Funds raised event help underwrite FOA’s broad spectrum of programs that help preserve and protect Acadia. The annual benefit event was overseen by a host committee chaired by Lydia Kimball. Members include Gail Clark, Malinda Crain, Kate Davis, Donna Eacho, Betsy Mills, Laura Pierce, Maureen Stewart, Lynne Wheat and Anna Woodward. The carriage road bridge paddle raise was called by auctioneer Lydia Fenet, of Christie’s.

Friends of Acadia preserves, protects, and promotes stewardship of the outstanding natural beauty, ecological vitality, and distinctive cultural resources of Acadia National Park and surrounding communities for the inspiration and enjoyment of current and future generations.

Visit friendsofacadia.org, call 288-3340 or email [email protected]

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