ACADIA NAT’L PARK — Large portions of the park’s carriage roads were extensively damaged by a rainstorm in the early hours of June 9 and remain closed pending repairs.
Ten miles of the 45-mile carriage road system in the park are closed, along with the Wild Gardens of Acadia at Sieur de Monts.
Park officials said in a press release Monday that the short duration and unusual intensity of the rainstorm combined to make it “one of the most exceptional weather events in the park’s history.
The rain was heaviest between 4:30 and 7:30 a.m. Rainfall amounts varied widely across the park, from 2.5 inches at Jordan Pond to 4.7 inches at the summit of Cadillac Mountain. The U.S. Geological Survey stream gauge at Otter Creek reached a water level height of nearly 10 feet during the peak of the storm, an increase of 8.5 feet from the week before.
“Thousands of visitors enjoy the carriage roads every day of the summer, and we recognize the importance of opening them as soon as possible,” said Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “We will seek emergency funds and use emergency contracting procedures to repair the damage within the next few months.”
Acadia’s carriage roads, built between 1913 and 1940, were engineered to withstand heavy rains. The roads consist of three layers of rock with a crown to ensure good drainage. Stone culverts and deep ditches provide channels to direct runoff away from the gravel surface of the roads.
But last week’s rainstorm was so intense that the volume of water overwhelmed the culverts and ditches and washed out large sections of the carriage roads. In many locations, the top two layers of rocks were completely removed.
In addition to the storm-damaged carriage roads, the entire 6.3-mile carriage road around Eagle Lake was already closed for rehabilitation. A portion of it is expected to reopen early next month.