National Park Foundation eyeing ownership of Schoodic Woods campground



WINTER HARBOR — The National Park Foundation hopes to assume ownership of the new Schoodic Woods campground, officially bringing it under its wing.

“I do hope before the fall is over to change the boundary and put that land into Acadia National Park,” Acadia National Park Superintendent Sheridan Steele said of the transfer in ownership.

The campground currently is being built by Schoodic Woods LLC — a combination of Lyme Timber Co. and a private family foundation — but it will be operated by the National Park Service when it opens Sept. 4.

“The donor of this project would like it to become part of Acadia and I’m trying to start to put the wheels in motion to do that,” Steele said.

“I suspect they have wanted that from the beginning when they purchased this property and developed it for the benefit of all Americans,” he said. “Since we agreed to operate it, it only makes sense to make it part of the park.”

The 1,600 acres in question was part of a 3,200-acre parcel once owned by the Modena family of Milan, Italy.

The Modenas proposed turning the property abutting Acadia National Park on the Schoodic Peninsula into an exclusive eco resort for jet-setters with villas and a golf course.

To conservationists’ relief, Lyme Timber of Hanover, N.H., in 2011 purchased all of the land from the Modenas.

Lyme Timber then sold conservation easements to Maine Coast Heritage Trust for land deemed critical in preserving wildlife in the area, particularly avian migratory paths.

Lyme Timber, with an enthusiastic National Park Service standing alongside the company, then proposed building a campground on some of the land abutting the park.

That project is being carried out by Lyme Timber and a private family foundation.

Schoodic Woods Campground will make its debut Sept. 4 with 50 car-side camping sites with power, 33 recreational vehicle sites with water and power, nine remote hike-to sites and two group camping areas.

In subsequent years the campground will open Memorial Day weekend and close Columbus Day weekend.

The campground is located on land south of Route 186.

If the gift materializes, Lyme Timber would retain ownership of 1,600 acres of land on the north side of the road.

The improvements in addition to the campground include 8.5 miles of 11-foot-wide, non-motorized multiuse trails linking the east and west sides of the park loop road for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Another five miles of hiking trails will extend north from Schoodic Head traversing the ridges northward to Birch Mountain and beyond.

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