University of Maine forestry students help an Acadia National Park maintenance crew clear trees to open up a vista on the Park Loop Road last week. PHOTO BY DICK BROOM

Restoring Acadia’s historic vistas

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — Forestry students at the University of Maine are working with park maintenance crews to restore a long-obscured vista on the Park Loop Road.

The work involves selectively cutting trees on the steep hillside below a traffic turnout.

“The objective is to open it back up to [views of] Eagle Lake, looking at Sargent Mountain, Connors Nubble and some of the Jordan Cliffs,” said park arborist Jeff Grey.

He said the “highline” system they used for bringing small trees and cut wood up the hill is not commonly used on the east coast.

“They usually use surface machines that go down and drag the wood up,” he said. “But that scars up the hillside. With this highline system, we can lift the load off the ground, which helps keep low-growing plants in place. We don’t want to cause erosion.”

Except for the past three years, the park and the University of Maine Department of Forestry have jointly conducted a one-week forestry camp for students since the mid-1990s. In addition to helping with logging, the students take part in other projects in the park.

“We’re trying to get more interest in the camp because it helps the park and it helps the school,” Grey said.

Grey’s primary job as park arborist is to oversee the maintenance and restoration of vistas. He said there are about 235 designated vista sites on the park’s carriage roads and 70 on the auto roads, primarily the Park Loop Road.

“The last couple of years, we’ve been putting more effort into catching up on some of the backlog,” he said.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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